Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments

I’ve been writing about how I use a free one terabyte limited account on Flickr.com as a handy offsite backup for every digital photo I have taken or scanned in the past twenty years, using a free tool called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/

It’s old but it works. (Check below for links to the previous articles)

My old Flickr.com account is public but disused, but since it’s free I set up a second one a few years ago to backup my digital photos in the cloud as yet another copy just in case.

If you haven’t been reading along: Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. So you can share them online. But that’s not required: You can leave some or all of the folders or individual photos private.

Here’s some things about that process I have discovered or had to test out so I could feel comfortable with its behavior.

TIP: YOU CAN EDIT THE FOLDER NAME IN the upload tool BEFORE you upload instead of after. Then you don’t have to go online to annotate right away, and presumably the tool will remember this setting for future additions to the same folder. (Strangely I do this the other way round because that’s how I started, but also because it forces me to review the upload (for accuracy etc.) and organize it immediately while it’s still fresh.)

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Yes, you can rename folders inside Flickr after you upload and it seems to track that it was started with a differently named folder. This is useful in a case like this: I only wanted to upload a subfolder of say “2016_12 EVENT” called “EDITED”, and it displays as a folder tree in the app, but it uploaded as “EDITED” which I expected. The sync tool (and Flickr, really) doesn’t care about any folder hierarchy, just the folder it’s doing. So then I added the date and event value in Flickr for easier recognition and sorting. It did not pop back up in FlickrSync after this since the photos didn’t change.

CAVEAT: Now that I have renamed the folder, the sync tool wants to see it as a NEW folder and add the photos in it as new uploads. Because you can put copies of photos or files with the same name in Flickr, it’s clearly looking at the folder name first then the files in each folder.

Anyway, to complicate things I recently moved to a Network Attached Storage device (think a monitor-less computer that is generally giant hard drive storage with some service apps) which I have mapped to a different drive letter on my computer. It recognized the photos and folders when I started syncing from it, though I tried to do a clean changeover, that is I didn’t combine selections from both drives.

Future uploads, previously from assorted computers, can now be done from the same universal storage location thanks to my giant storage NAS. But really that’s not a backup. It’s a convenient media dump. If it crashed I would lose so many things, if there weren’t copies strewn around. Make copies!

So if I synced a folder in the same location on the folder tree and named the same on my local computer, and then select it with the sync tool from the mapped NAS drive, it is under a couple extra folder names . For example, if
DriveLetterA:\1pix\2016\2016-06\ is originally mapped to
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\2016-06
but the sync tool still recognizes there is nothing to do.

What if there is a folder with the same name in a different place?
DriveLetterA:\1photos\mine\2015\flashy
DriveLetterB:\1photos\mine\2016\flashy

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Well, if the photos are named the same in this same-named folder, the app says “Nothing to do.” If you have changed the name of the photos, OR if the folder is a duplicate name but the photos are not (say in a different number range) it will want to sync it.

If the photo SHARES a name but it in fact a different photo (probably based on size) IT WILL STILL WANT TO SYNC IT! Which is great news if your photo ID number loops around or you like to reset it on shoots.

(I tested this by copying a photo over and renaming it with one of the existing photo names in a name-duplicate folder — mind you this a fresh folder that hasn’t been uploaded. You want to find out if you rename a copied over photo to the same name as one you have already uploaded in the same folder, well, you go figure that out. Clearly you are curious. Give in!)

—– David

P.S. Check out my other blogs in this series here:

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize
Flickr Backup Part Three. Sync Experiments (this one)

P.P.S. Click here to get Lastpass for free (or the paid version, I don’t care) and start thinking about more secure passwords without losing the convenience of knowing what they are! Or check out a podcast like TekThing and see what other ones they have experimented with.

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments was originally published on Creative Uploads

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize

On the last episode of Creative Uploads

To backup my photos online in an efficient way I use an app called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/

Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. And this then makes it easy to share your photos online.

As I said, I set the upload tool defaults to set all uploaded albums and photos to private. After they are up there, I could change settings for them by folder or by photo, but I don’t feel the need to advertise the address so I haven’t yet. Someday I will leverage the rating system so find forgotten gems I forgot to share or need to use in something.

creative uploads minimize maximize flickr photo backup online storage

In the upper right on windows (left on Mac) of any window are icons to minimize, maximize and close that window

The program likes to run full screen: I toggle the size to a window using the controls in the upper left. The icons on the right are the folders available, and if you double-click them it opens that very folder ON FLICKR! So you can see what’s up there already.

Once you have selected your folders, you click the Sync menu item, then “View and Sync All” and it opens up a preview window with the files it wants to upload. In my case I usually see NEW or REPLACE (sometimes I edit inline — this can be just because I changed the rotation on a photo locally.) under the thumbnails.

Confirm the choices by clicking sync and it will do it, or Cancel to edit them.

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

It will sync and while it takes a while, there is a progress bar on the bottom and thumbnails get checked off as you go. You don’t have to babysit it. it will get back to you when done with messages that it is successful or not. If not, you can run the sync again — all your selections are still selected, this is very handy if you just had a network issue.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out how to manage the files once on Flickr, I sort by date so I lead with the year and month and maybe location as I take them. In Flickr I then create COLLECTIONS by year and add the relevant ALBUMS (created by the sync) to them. (There are Galleries as well but they only hold about 50 photos.)

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

Collections do not have this limit. You can also customize a Mosaic icon for collections with 12 images, making it pretty easy to find things visually. Oh, that’s the year we went there; saw that….

I do have Flickr installed on my Android phone and iPad, so those photos are also uploaded automatically, even before I copy them to my computer (for editing easier browsing and to keep them all together (before copying to my main local storage for convenient access and viewing). If you do that you can probably skip syncing that folder in the steps above, but I like to manage that part on Flickr.

Apparently I have 116,044 photos online now, using 52.5% of my free terabyte of storage. Now that Verizon is buying Yahoo, I don’t know if that will change, but since they are all about getting you to use data (to upload and download and share) I am not worried. In any case, it’s free for now and my photos are safer because I have a backup. Will worry about changes when they happen.

Their home page is here: Flickr.com. One terabyte, safe in the cloud and password-protected.* Free.

This exploration will be continued in my next post, where we test the system and experiment to make sure it uploads what we expect and lesaves no photograph behind. Please bookmark, subscribe or follow me to tag along! Thanks!

—– David

P.S. Check out my other blogs on this here: (full links to come after the posts do)

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize
 (this one)
Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Three, Sync Experiments (coming soon!)

* Yes, Yahoo had a massive data breach a few years ago they didn’t reveal for a while. So have some other sites that still haven’t , you can be sure. We don’t actually know if the hackers shared the data, just that it wasn’t secure. Best practice for us means use a strong password and change it often.

Keep ahead of that by using a password manager. I finally got comfortable with Lastpass which is free (not a trial) and can be had by clicking here. A few handy but not critical premium features can be had for a buck a month. I’m cheap and even I pay for them (like, you can share a folder of selected logins to other users –even free accounts.) My post on Lastpass is here if you want a simple overview.

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part Two, Select and Organize was originally published on Creative Uploads

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started

Get your ducks in a row and back up your photos, at least one copy, somewhere sort of safe! Start today for free!

I have an old Flickr.com account that I haven’t used in a while, but a few years ago I set up a second one I keep private just as a backup of pretty much every photo I shoot. It’s not my only backup, but it is offsite, spacious and free. Why wouldn’t I do it? Well, if it took a lot of time, right? Here’s how I do it so it doesn’t take a lot of time.

First: Flickr offers free accounts with ONE TERABYTE of photo storage. And this then makes it easy to share your photos online. But they don’t require that and there are some good privacy settings. Although Yahoo has has some leaking password issues, so use a good password and change it every so often. Good advice for everywhere.

SIDENOTE: My post on the free Lastpass password management tool.
It’s free, or for a buck a month you get some nice additional features.
Just click here to get it and decide for yourself.

Now back to Flickr: to backup my folders in an efficient way I use an app called FlickrSync which I got free from https://flickrsync.codeplex.com/ and though it hasn’t been updated in a while but still works.

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage
I set the DEFAULT for the FlickrSync app to add them privately; I don’t want to have to change it every time or forget to change it; I do try to confirm that every time. Also I have it set to never delete images. If I create a duplicate in a different folder or with a rename, I can catch it on Flickr later — I don’t want to automatically delete things without human intervention. I would rather have a second copy than none at all.

Only one user on the account; that’s me. Maybe I will share with my wife someday, but she can see them when we are at home and doesn’t look for a five-year-old photo on her phone during a discussion just to punctuate a discussion. She’s a fine, patient woman.

One of the things I like is when I have synced, I just close it, and when I reopen it it remembers what I had checked the the last time, so I can pick up where I left off, a week or months later.

If I resync a folder that has pictures, it will add any new ones and not worry about the others (probably takes a little longer comparing, so I do uncheck them as I go if there is not going to be anything new in them.) Since I sort by months that’s pretty straightforward.

creative uploads flickr photo backup online storage

I do have a 2016phone folder though, where I have offloaded all my phone pictures, sometimes it’s broken into folders of a few months at a time: that one I leave checked through the year and it keeps it up to date.

Occasionally there are errors or photos it doesn’t want to upload. I retry, and sometimes that works. Other times I discover the files are huge and I don’t want to upload them. (Often I will create a quick JPG of these just to have some version of the backup in place, that’s the point after all.)

For these problem files you can temporarily move them from the folder and back or rename the extension. I have also had luck trying the Flickr embedded web uploader for the tricky one and then the rest of the folder can be uploaded since it skips the existing image. But sometimes Flickr just doesn’t like the file.

I’ll continue this FlickrSync backup discussion in future posts, where I’ll detail my process and do some experimenting, which I like to do with complicated things to improve my understanding and confidence in what I am working with.

Please bookmark, subscribe or follow me to tag along! Thanks!

—– David

P.S. My loose candid photos usually end up on my megawatson.tumblr.com page, alongside observations, comments and other amusements. Back when I had a LG flip phone and was a stay-at-home dad, I briefly fed a Flickr page, but also the late, lamented PicasaWeb, even before Google bought it. It’s been folded into Google Photos, with some better features but poorer ability to organize and manage, in my opinion. I put an event on Flickr a while ago to share with the organizers and participants, but I haven’t made time to curate a feed for it, and don’t want to simply duplicate the same stuff everywhere. Tumblr tends to be the big feed for user convenience, but even that doesn’t currently get all these Creative Upload posts.

P.P.S. Check out my other blogs on this here: (links to come after the posts do!)

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started (this one)

Flickr As A Photo Backup Part One, Get Started was originally published on Creative Uploads

Her Name Is Rio

creative uploads cactus saguaro photography

Prickly

And she really likes Duran Duran (my wife) so I thought the new Prisma style would be a nice fit.

Yes, those are tall, real saguaros, planted in a pattern outside a museum. One of the benefits of living in Arizona is seeing them around a bit. Though cactus needles are far from friendly.

Prisma is user-friendly though, so far. I mentioned earlier I wasn’t a fan of the misleading upload page that “encourages”you to sign up for their social service by not making it clear you don’t have to, at least on Android. The iOS app seems a little clearer but that may be because I use it on the iPad and the real estate makes it easier to decipher.

And my iPad is currently updating to the latest version of Prisma, which mentioned something about a “store” for styles, and I believe something about getting points for using their social site, so I hope they don’t muddy things up.

—–David

P.S. Now that it’s gone, I miss having a square Prisma output, sometimes. I prefer shooting in a non-square format but now there is no crop tool it all and I do like to edit.

P.P.S. My wife’s name is not actually Rio. She has infrequently danced upon sand.

Her Name Is Rio was originally published on Creative Uploads

Let Your Imagination Take Flight

It’s really that simple. Up, in the sky, it’s a bird, or a plane, or an idea.

What you do next is up to you. Use your imagination.

creative uploads airliner sky
I’m not going to clutter that up with more words, just like this photo is, unedited, almost grayscale.

—–David

P.S. You know I use my own photos right? No stock stuff. I love that stuff too, but that’s not the point of this blog, plus it’s a whole different mindset of creation.

Let Your Imagination Take Flight was originally published on Creative Uploads

Advertising Pays The Bills

Creative uploads dogs photo filter prisma

I get it. Keep in mind if something is free but shouldn’t be, you might be the product. That doesn’t always mean shady, like this blog is free right? But we’re all trading for something: money, barter or attention.

Anyway, Prisma has a new style. It’s a free app from prisma-ai.com so how do they make money? This time it’s a style called “Servers.com”, alongside the Land Rover one. This one doesn’t force a logo, either.

But good for them. Prisma found a way to pay something for all their hard work and provide something of value to all us leechers for the price we like best.

Like the Palmolive one they had in the very beginning, which I liked, I bet these branded ones are available for a limited time only.

And someday I may put up an ad for something I like, I suppose my Amazon store kind of does that.

—-David

P.S. Dr Pepper? Canon? Adobe? Where are you?

​P.P.S. Prisma has like 44 styles now. Still trying to understand them all but I am getting a better idea of which ones will best match a photo with my intended result. Comic version below. I like the spots for water sparkles and because it was cold and it reminds me of frost. Plus you can see both dogs’ faces.

Advertising Pays The Bills was originally published on Creative Uploads

Trial Trail Mixing It Up, or: Photo Diet?

We make an annual visit to the Luminarias at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden during the holidays. For those not in the know, it’s a Mexican tradition at Christmas time where you line a street or path with small paper bags lit by candles. Some people even put them on the roof. Arizona, despite its occasional regressive outbursts, has a rich and treasured history of embracing Hispanic culture and this is one of my favorite visual feasts. (Mexican food being one of my favorite actual feasts.)

So for several weeks during Las Noches de las Luminarias, the DBG lines its many pathways with 8,000 luminarias, most with the traditional candles and perhaps a few installations with electronic versions, and with spotlights on the cacti and twinkle lights wrapping the Palo Verde trees it makes for a festive evening, cider and hot chocolate mixed with various live bands and storytellers adding just the right magical touch.

It could be a romantic outing with the wife, but being that we take the kid every year I wrote that off ages ago and bring my camera and tripod instead for long exposure and low light photography experiments. This often leaves me behind and not holding my wife’s hand often enough, so I have been trying to streamline the process. Given that I have thousand of photos from over the years, this time I planned simply to take less, both in equipment and in photos.

I put the Canon Rebel on a tiny tripod and out a spare battery in my pocket and off we went.

TIP: When going minimalist on the equipment, or just keeping it simple and fast, find a small lightweight aluminum tripod, attach it securely to your camera and leave the head loose and just let it dangle from the bottom of the camera with the strap around your neck or shoulders.

A quick release plate is optional but in that case attach a strap to the tripod as well. You won’t want to carry it all the time, although you will find that on occasion it’s comfortable to have the tripod extended and ready to open quickly to drop for a shot, especially on a timer so you can get your face in one or two pictures. But you always want a strap on the camera, and you don’t want to drop the tripod because you forgot you detached it from the camera. Right? I have indeed been there and learned that.

You can also set the camera timer and lift the camera up high for a different angle, though you may want to take additional shots and review until you learn how to angle the camera on a stick exactly where you intended.

TIP: I used to set my auto timer to take the maximum 10 shots on group portraits and the like and have dialed it back to six. It’s usually sufficient to get what you want without boring the cast, and if it isn’t, it’s easy to press the shutter again for more.

I decided to shoot RAW which leaves more room for later editing especially regarding exposure adjustments, and tried to keep my shot count low which let me pre-edit what I might really need a picture of.

I also found a balance where I could shoot 1/20 to 1/30 manual shutter at a reasonable ISO which let me take a deep breath and shoot some quicker handheld shots. If you’re starting, stick with 1/30 to 1/40 when practicing on more important shots. Blur is after you.

Anyway, did a pretty good job keeping up with the family and under 150 shots. They might even remember I was there wth them this year.

And the Desert Botanical Garden is worth seeing in the daylight too, just not always as much of a novelty or event to an Arizona native.

—–David

P.S. I didn’t even take out my phone camera. Not for the auto HDR function (though I took  bracketed exposures for later editing). Not to tag myself in social media. Didn’t even check my messages after dinner (to be fair it wasn’t beeping at me for attention.) So pretty good and when I wasn’t dragging behind that left a hand free for my wife.*

* So I had my phone in hand free mode?

One more shot

P.P.S. The post title format is a nod to “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons of my youth, which would parody dramatic cliffhanger serials and end them with two ridiculous pun titles. Can’t recall any at the moment, look up the cartoon though. Especially The Fractured Fairy Tales. So comically subversive I was ruined. To think they were in reruns by the time I got to them….

Trial Trail Mixing It Up, or: Photo Diet? was originally published on Creative Uploads

It Only Takes A Minute

…To set up a camera on timelapse.

Okay, maybe a few minutes, since I plugged the Go Pro via USB into a portable battery that would keep it charged and recording for the duration. Then I connected to the “Capture” GoPro app on my phone to position it just right.

Since I was planning on possible cropping and panning I decided to use Photo mode. This gave me a 4×3 frame with lots of extra pixels I could crop in on without losing quality since I only needed 1920×1080 of them versus over 5000 wide.

Sometimes I prefer shooting video then just speed it up hundreds of percentages for smoother motion on frame changes. Vehicle-driving timelapse videos benefit from this in my opinion. I don’t mind the jerkier stop-frame animation look, but in that case smoother in-between frames help convey more speed, in my opinion. You lose some detail and editing options later, since it’s already compressed. But you can also capture for longer times depending on your settings, and can pick just the right frame and smoothly adjust between different speeds.

In the end, using the Go Pro Studio program, I adjusted my shot for a distorted wide view with no cropping, tweaked to make the center less stretched, and centered on the lower edge of the captured frame since they didn’t install carpet on the covering

Oh that would look cool. Not this color though.

—–David

P.S. I love portable batteries from Anker. This is the latest upgrade from the one I have. It comes with a pouch that I also keep cables in for my iPad (and daughter’s iPhone) plus my Android phone. Since it has a micro-USB I can use the same cable to charge the battery from any USB power source.
//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=megawatson-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00N2T7U90&asins=B00N2T7U90&linkId=ddecee4bca85c1a90d3dba508d88be68&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

It Only Takes A Minute was originally published on Creative Uploads

Surf’s Up, Plan Ahead

New Prisma style out, called “Surf”. 

Why does it make me look so old here? Most be too much sun. 🙂

Actually, it has to do with how the Prisma styles work, emphasizing shadows more in some cases, and needing certain colors for better results. Most dramatically to me, fine details versus more coarse shapes makes some pictures great and others awful, which is why the photo you use is critical to a good result.

Here is a set with my dogs using “Surf” with the setting put at 67% to leave a little of the red in one dog’s fur.

And a version with Mondrian, one of my favorite styles, but only when matched with the right picture. This pairing doesn’t work for me.

Too many curved edges and fine color differences leave us with two disparate sections.

But the Mondrian style also netted this result with the other dog earlier this year, so it only demonstrates my point.

Play, experiment and learn where something fails so you can plan your photo for the filter style sometimes, instead of only hoping for good luck.

—–David

P.S. You bet this applies to anything you shoot, filter or not, angle, lighting, subject, timing… Planning can get you closer to stunning (as can a bit of judicious editing like bringing the style down, but also brightening, contrast adjustments and more.)

P.P.S. Of course some of my best photos were taken almost by accident or on the fly, so you never know. When you need consistent results plan ahead and enjoy the experiments when you can.

Surf’s Up, Plan Ahead was originally published on Creative Uploads