Unlimited Online Image Storage

Data Centre Racks

I now provide free of charge with every photoshoot long term cloud storage, back up and gallery review for all your licensed images and low resolution image files.

This means that you can be sure of safe and secure storage of your images with 24/7 access.  If you lose your images or you need to review a past photoshoot, you can quickly find your organisations galleries or collection. To view historical shoots you simply need to log in to your Client Area.

You will find listed in the Client Area all the collections/galleries available to you.
Navigating the site is through a secure connection via HTTPS provided by SSL security. The benefit to the client is knowing your images are in one place accessible from any location. If time is short it’s not necessary to download all of a shoots images at one time but as and when they are needed. Image file sizes are only going to get larger with time and so downloads will take longer. Making sharing large images with colleagues easier.
The key advantages to online image delivery and storage:
  • Fast Secure access
  • Available 24/7
  • Sharing is made easy between colleagues
  • Options to change the level of security and permissions ( From fully secure login requiring an email address and password, password only, complete open access hidden from public view or publicly viewable.)
  • Proofing tools enabling easy collaboration and selection of images between colleagues and the photographer.

The service is operated and maintaned by a US based company called Photoshelter. In its 12 year history, Photoshelter has had 100% durability. Never losing a single bit of data. With a reliability track record of greater than 99.99% uptime. Every aspect of PhotoShelter’s infrastructure has redundancy, from the network level to the server level to the individual drives that store photos and videos. They have multiple data centers and multiple network providers at each data centre. Which is why some of the world’s most prestigious brands and organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, health care organizations and federal agencies, with extreme security and reporting requirements trust Photoshelter to hold their data.

Since adopting online image storage and delivery I have always wondered what a data centre is and how it operates to provide vast unlimited storage and redundancy. I had seen images of server rooms with vast corridors of server cabinets with bright colourful LED’s but I had no idea of the infrastructure which surrounds and enables these small black boxes we have all now become so dependant on to operate 24 hrs without missing a beat.

Data Centre - Security

I decided to visit a local Data Centre to understand better where the internet lives. They are extremely secure with two and even three stage entry requiring Photo ID.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data Centre - Climate ControlThe data hall where the data lives is dust free and climate controlled with hot air being pumped out and replaced by cool air.
Data Centre Hall

Centres will often have power back up with fuses and circuits duplicated. Should the mains electrical power fail UPS (uninterrupted power supply) batteries kick in until the onsite generators start up.Data Centre Circuit Backup

Finally the entire site is protected by a huge fire suppression system using inert gas to reduce oxygen levels to a safe level to suppress a fire but also allow personnel to escape safely.

Fire Suppression

Searching for multiple filenames in Lightroom.

I knew it was possible to search for multiple filenames in Lightroom. But recently when I went to search for about 20 filenames I could not get this simple but very powerful time saving search to work. Here is what I did wrong and how the search should be carried out.

My workflow from low res to processing full res selects involves the following. Before sending low res files to client they are renamed with the suffix LR.jpg. e.g. xxxx_xxxx_LR.jpg. So I know that this is a low res file and is easily distinguishable as such. After a client has made their selection of images to process, I am usually sent a text list either in an email or Word document from which I must mark the corresponding raw files to process and supply as full res jpg or tiff. So I usually end up with a text list of filenames not necessarily in numerical order and with the suffix LR.jpg. In order to perform the search of corresponding raw files I need to remove the suffix and add either a space or comma between filenames. I usually use a basic text editor or Apple Pages to do this. This new list can then be copied and pasted into the text search of the Lightroom Grid module.

When a search of multiple filenames is undertaken in Lightroom it is recommended the following parameters should be set:

Text search set to Any Searchable Field & Contains All

This is where things are not as simple as you would expect.

When you use a text editor invisible elements like carriage returns (¶) are added to the document and so when you cut and paste these invisible elements are also copied and pasted along with the visible text. In  my case this would happen and subsequently Lightroom would be unable to search.

This is what I did to remove the hidden returns and add space instead.

From within Pages

  1.  Set View to Show Invisibles
  2. Open the Find and Replace dialog. Tick Whole Words.
  3. In the Find field, insert the return character by typing option-return. You should see “/n” added and all the ¶ highlighted.
  4. In the Replace field, insert a space, then click All. This replaces all newlines with a space, so you’ll have one long line of all your text.

I could then copy and paste this new line of text into Lightroom and find all the correct corresponding filenames.

With large numbers of images and sometimes across different job files this can save a lot of time.

Image Delivery Online

I have been supplying digital images to clients for many years, using a mixture of optical discs (CD/DVD’s) sent by post or by uploading to a server such as YouSendIt or Dropbox. For me online delivery provides speed, a guaranteed delivery time and a reduction in the use of environment damaging plastics and paper.Alex Orrow Photoshelter Download

 

 

Photoshelter

As a commercial photographer I need online delivery, proofing and storage. These are essential elements to my workflow. Having a service provider like Photoshelter has enabled me to provide a consistent, secure and adaptable solution to send images to clients. Along with tools for proofing and collaboration there is also long term storage of image files in almost all formats.

Access & Downloading

Clients can access image files by a secure link accessible only to a specific user login or a password. The default for all client galleries is no access, this makes galleries very secure. From this starting point I have to manually select those who have access. I never provide password only or open access to galleries unless this is requested by the client. Permission to access and download images is setup initially by entering the recipient client’s email into the Photoshelter address book. I then send a link to the client, which directs them to a login page. An email and password is requested at this point. Clients who are receiving access for the first time will have to create their own password by creating an account.

Client Area

Clients set up with a Photoshelter account can access all the galleries I have shared with them. This can be achieved by viewing the ‘Client Area’ from here its possible to see a list all of galleries and gallery collections. Its also possible to see shared light boxes as well.

Tools

  • Lightbox –  A lightbox is a way of collaborating on selecting images and sharing specific images with either myself or another collaborator.
  • Proofing Tool – Streamlines the process of viewing and selecting images to be shared with me for the purpose of processing and optimising.
  • Downloads – From the gallery page its possible to download images as a batch or individually.

Photo shelter has continued to advance its technology and provide better tools and value for money. It is now possible to store images long term online in the cloud. There are plans to integrate the Lightbox and Proofing Tool to make the whole system more user friendly.

Full instructions for each aspect of the Photoshelter service are provided here.

If you are interested in joining Photoshelter please use the following link to save money on sign up. http://www.photoshelter.com/referral/AL9XR29M79

 

 

 

 

RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 or 10 – Image Editing – Part 2of2

After considering the options I opted to configure the 4 drive R4 Promise Pegasus unit with RAID 10. Despite losing half the available storage I felt this would suit my image editing workflow best. Providing fast throughput while providing a good level of redundancy should I lose one drive or even two, I would still be able to continue working. As soon as the R4 begins to get near to full capacity I will remove images which will already have been backed up.

A little about the unit and my initial experience.

The R4 ships ready to use configured with a RAID 5 logical drive. As soon as you plug the unit in, it begins the synchronisation process which takes several hours. The drive comes with the Promise Utility app already installed so you just have to drag this to your applications folder. Once the syncronisation had completed I decide to go ahead and change from RAID 5 to RAID 10. The process of configuring a new logical drive using the Promise Utility application is straight forward once you discover how to do it. As a first time user of both a RAID drive and to Promise, I didn’t understand the need to delete both the logical drive and disc array in order to change the RAID level. Helpfully the Promise utility app provides a wizard for simplifying this process however it does not automatically delete the array and drive when you want to change raid level in fact no options are available in the wizard until you have deleted those two elements. I was puzzled by this at first and disappointed that the Promise Pegasus Utility manual did not feel the gap for new users and explain the need to delete the disc array and logical drive.

It took some quite extensive research via the net to discover exactly what was needed. I also contacted Promise support although this proved to be a complex and unhelpful process.

Taking a screen shot or capture of your iphone display

Only just found out how easy it is to take a screen shot of your iphone screen. By this I mean the ability to take a photograph or copy the iphone screen to your Photos folder on the iphone. This is useful if you want to store  information that might only be available when you have an internet connection, copy a message, or if you need to quickly send an error message for technical support.

Once your iphone is displaying the page you want to capture e.g. a webpage, email, message etc. follow these steps.

1) Simply press the Home button and the On/Off/Lock switch at the same time.

2) As you press the Home button and On/off Switch simultaneously the screen will flash white and a camera shutter will sound. You have then captured a screen shot of your iphone screen and this can be viewed in Photos.

If you get the timing wrong Siri will open or you will lock the iphone.

I believe this works for all iphone/ipad’s running iOS 2.0 or higher.

 

 

Wireless Ipad tethering is here! CamRanger Review

For some time now I have longed to have a simple light weight tethering solution for Nikon cameras, more portable and light weight than a laptop. When the ipad and camera connection kit came along I thought this might be the solution, unfortunately it was not that simple. There is now a fantastic product available called CamRanger that allows wireless tethering to mobile devices and laptops via wifi. Created by Dave Pawlowski and his wife Melissa, who both have a love of the outdoors. They needed a wireless device to control the focus and framing while taking distance shots with both Dave and Melissa in a kayak.

Its a small device about the size of an iphone which plugs into the USB port of your camera and then transmits via an ad-hoc wifi network to your mobile device phone/tablet or computer. It has a range of 50m and is straight forward to setup and quick to use.

I love this device for location shooting and an aid to composition especially as it has the ability to operate the Camera’s LiveView function. Enabling me to leave the camera position and work in front of the camera, positioning objects or directing models while viewing a live image of the frame on an ipad/iphone. It also makes reviewing the frame or image by the client/art director very straight forward especially as the ipad is cable free. The transmitter will fit in a pocket or clip to a belt/tripod in the provided pouch and so its very easy to shoot with the USB cable attached and walk around with camera in hand. Dave and Melissa’s blog provide some other creative ways of attaching the transmitter to a camera

I have not tested the range of the signal yet, but as I do not have a need to be more than a few metres from the camera I am not to concerned with any range limitations.

The camera is controlled via the free software available for mac OS/iOS, Android and Windows OS. Setup takes about 2mins and the interface is well designed and thought out. Once connected to the camera its possibleto view images alreday captured to the camera memory card or to import directly to the tablet/laptop. Obviously its a lot faster to view jpgs rather than raw files and I tend to capture Raw+jpg for this reason.

My drawbacks to the CamRanger iOS application:

  • If the camera is offline and not connected, its not possible to see images which have been saved to the device already from within the CamRanger app. You need to open the camera roll in Photos to see the images. This is fine and makes sense, however I would prefer to remain within one application and be able to view images offline if the ‘Auto Save’ option is on. CamRanger has a very simple but great ratings matrix and the ability to use this is lost once offline.
  • CamRanger app will display captured image thumbnails within the main interface screen during each connection session. So if you disconnect and reconnect a new strip of thumbnails will be created for the new captures. This can be frustrating if you lose the connection. You will then need to reload the entire memory card by tapping the memory card icon to view previous shots. This can be counter intuitive for some clients who expect to jump to a previous shot but also see the latest capture. There is also no option to view jpg only and so if your shooting both Raw+Jpg the scroll through to previous shots can take a while.

I’m very pleased that this device has come to the market place, I think it fits well the photographer who needs a portable lightweight tethering solution for location shooting. It would not be well suited for those shooting very large files or who need the reliability of wired tethering. I have yet to go kayaking with it but its inspiring some great possibilities for self portraiture. I will update this post as I use CamRanger more in the future for commercial work and hopefully provide more insight into how effective its use can be in the field.

CamRanger wifi transmitter

CamRanger wifi transmitter

 

Simple Corporate headshot Lighting Setup

Simple corporate headshot diagram. The is a typical lighting set up I use when space is limited and I need to travel with minimal equipment. The back light usually a lastolite umbrella softbox allows for the choice of either a rim highlight with lighting on the background as well or just a rim light if the umbrella is swivelled 180 degrees and feathered away from the subject and background.

20130124-205735.jpg

Nikon D4 Shutter burst in Slow Motion

This video shows in slow motion what happens inside the mirror housing of a Nikon D4 as the shutter is released at 10 Frames per second at 1/200th of a second shutter speed. The vibration created during this short burst is not surprising. Despite the amazing mechanics its surprising how antiquated it all appears, it seems likely that the next generation of Nikon  DSLR will be mirror less.