Cataloging My Old Images

I switched to digital in December 2003 and since then I’ve probably taken about 15000 images and I’d kept about half of those on my hard drive. But they were not ordered in any way and I had no easy way of finding any particular image. Moreover I had lots of near-duplicates and lots of so-so images. So on 6 July, 2007 I started a major undertaking: look through the 7500 images, delete the bad and mediocre ones and catalog, rate and add metadata to the remaining ones. Over six months later I’m finally done πŸ˜› and I’m left with 2997 images that fill 17.7 GB of disk-space:

  • 188 JPGs (120 MB) taken with a Casio QV-4000, which I owned between 23 Dec, 2001 and 18 May, 2003
  • 701 JPGs (1.5 GB) and 364 CRW files (2.1 GB) taken with a Canon 10D, which I owned between 25 May, 2003 and 07 April, 2006
  • 201 JPGs (340 MB) and 1423 CR2 files (10.5 GB) taken with the Canon 30D, which I own since 15 April, 2006
  • 120 PSD files (3.1 GB).

Let me tell you, it was a lot of tedious work, but I’m very happy that I did it β€” for all the reasons listed here (1, 2) and more. My images are now copyrighted, fully “keyworded” and divided into 16 main categories (abstract, architecture, details, fauna, flora, food, macro, nature, panorama, people, performances, personal, places, seasons, still-life, transportation) and countless sub-categories.

I currently award Photoshop’s stars as follows:

  • * β€” a snapshot; representative of a place or an event, but without artistic merit and possibly with technical flaws
  • ** β€” an interesting and technically competent image, but still without artistic merit
  • *** β€” some artistic value; can be shown in an Internet forum; non-photographers will be impressed
  • **** β€” good enough to be printed or added to a portfolio; clear theme, technically and artistically very good; invokes some emotion in the viewer
  • ***** β€” among the best 50 that I’ve ever produced

And the colors go like this:

  • blue β€” interesting content, typical of the location
  • green β€” funny situation or funny pose
  • purple β€” a nice pose or expression of a person; he or she would be happy to have this image
  • red β€” a sad or thought-provoking image
  • yellow β€” currently not used

At this point I have 15 five-star and 59 four-star images.

Just for the record, I started shooting RAW in August of 2005, while on vacation in Sweden. I’d bought Bruce Fraser’s Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS2 a day before leaving, and after the first 20 pages I was already convinced by the power of RAW. Reading the entire book taught me everything I needed to know about working with RAW images in CS2, and I’ve shot 99% in RAW since then.

And now, after all this talk about images and image ratings, I’d like to share an image with you, from my very first day with the Canon 10D. Before you think it was just dumb luck, consider that prior to that day I’d been chasing the wood warblers with my film body for a few weeks and I knew a thing or two about where they live and how to approach them.

Wood Warbler