Organizing data


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Simply collecting data and storing it on a hard disk is the process that we most commonly follow. But, the problem arises when we wish to retrieve the stored data some time in the future. For example, if we store camera photos in a single directory or upload them to Google Picasa or some other photo site, it will organize them by date.

Many years later, it becomes difficult to retrieve photos imply by scanning through them. Hence tagging them or storing them by the year or by event name becomes important.

Organizing data is a very difficult task and needs dedication. But it pays rich dividends in the end as the data volume increases.

For example, if for your photo collection, you store all files in one directory, the directory becomes too large. Also, you will not be able to locate picture as most of them will not have sufficient information in their tags.


To convert or not to convert . . . that is the question

I am having a Shakespearean dilemma regarding videos from my DSLR.

Recently, I shot a 5 minute video with my DSLR. It was only while transferring the video to the desktop that I noted the size of the video file – it was a massive 1.2GB!!! As I had multiple videos from the same event, their total size was 6.8GB.

At this rate, I will definitely follow the BigData trend by surpassing the size of the 10 year photo collection, within six months of the DSLR purchase. The size is definitely a consideration as I also have the habit of making two backup copies of the photos.

Then I decided to convert the MOV video into a DVD PAL compatible MPEG video. While the frame dimensions have been reduced a bit, with the MPEG video frame size probably being about 1/2 the size of the original frame (I am guessing here as VLC player mentions that it is playing the MOV video at 1:1 resolution in full screen mode and I only have a 17-inch monitor, as compared to the MPEG video frame, which has a black border around the frame when played at 1:1 resolution on the same monitor). While there is definitely a loss of size, the MPEG video file size is 1/10th of the original. So the 1.2GB MOV video file is down to a 120MB MPEG video file.

Considering I usually play these videos on the computer screen (an at max, on a 32-inch TV), I believe the MPEG video size is acceptable. But I definitely need to play the converted video on the TV, before making this statement.

But, in terms of size, the MPEG video file size is definitely an improvement and much more manageable.

Initially, I converted the MOV into an MPEG2 video file, whose file size was the same as the DVD compatible MPEG video, but the frame size was comparable to the MOV video, thus resulting in some pixalation. Hence the DVD compatible video is more acceptable, even if it’s frame size is smaller. At least it’s quality is better.

Changing the timestamp of files

While selecting the DSLR, I had searched for something that would generate MPEG video files. This obviously was a carry over from the fact that I had an old DVD player that did not play MOV files (which my older digital camera also used to generate). Even earlier, I used to convert MOV files to MPEG, to play them on the DVD player.

Then I went for the Canon 700D, which generates video in MOV format. After converting the format, I realized that the timestamp of the file was the same as the date of conversion and not the date the movie was recorded.

While this was also the case earlier, I decided to search for software that would allow me to change the various timestamps associated with a file. During this search, I found BulkChanger from nirsoft. Using this tool, it is possible to change the date as well as time for all three timestamps maintained by Windows, namely the date of creation, the date of last modification and the date of last access.


Camera Accessories


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Recently, I had the chance to redeem a gift card on Amazon. So, what did I purchase? the following

  1. Rangers 57” Ultra Compact and Lightweight Aluminum Tripod with 360° Panorama Ball head, ideal for travel and work
  2. Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro Snap-On Lens
  3. Movo Photo AF Macro Extension Tube Set for Canon EOS DSLR Camera with 12mm, 20mm & 36mm Tubes (Economy Mount)

Why these? For one, the tripod was being offered for half its standard price.

Two, the tripod can be converted into a monopod / walking stick.

Three, being interested in macro photography, I wanted to try a double element diopter after finding out that a single element diopter (which I bought earlier) results in blurred images.

Four, I also wanted electronic extension tubes for macro photography (even though I recently bought non-electronic extension tubes) and the Movo extension tubes were in my budget. Actually, I decided to take a gamble on the Movo extension tubes as I made the decision based on Amazon reviews.

Happy to say that the Movo extension tubes are working great with my Canon 700D. I have done trials with the tripod and the diopter, but I have not reached a conclusive point of view.

I will post images shortly.

925MB to 225MB to 60MB


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Recently, I photographed 365 pages from an old expense diary. Even though I note daily expenses in software, the daily expenses get written to a diary on a daily basis as the entry into the software happens once a week, with a give and take of about two weeks.

I took photos using Samsung Galaxy J5 – 12 mega pixel camera. Dimensions of each image were 3096×4128, while the average size of each image was 2.5MB. After photographing 365 pages, I noted the size of the folder. It was a whopping 925MB.

As this photography exercise was meant for archive purpose, very large images were not needed. Hence I resized the images to 50% their size using ImageMagik and a Windows batch file. On the first iteration, the dimensions of each image was 1548×2064. The size of each image was around 687KB. The size of the folder was around 250MB.

As the resulting image was still quite large, I did another iteration and reduced the size once again by 50%. This time, the folder size became more manageable at around 70MB. The dimension of each image is 580×1032. The size of each image is around 198KB.

Quick view


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My earlier digital camera – a Kodak, a bridge camera – had a quick preview in the Electronic View Finder (EVF).

Such a preview is not possible with the DSLR, which has an Optical View Finder (OVF). Hence viewing a picture has to be done on rear screen. The difficulty is that I need to move the camera explicitly from my body. Additionally, viewing the image under bright light becomes difficult.




Around two years ago, when I decided to purchase a DSLR (after owning a Kodak  digital camera for 10 years), I read material related to photography using DSLR, primarily because a DSLR is a different beast as compared to a high-zoom point and shoot (AKA bridge camera). While my Kodak had APSM functionality, I never explored it, except for those few odd shots, which probably will be less than 50 in a span of 10 years.

One of the points that stuck in my mind was the usage of f/8 as the aperture priority setting. This has become by ‘go to’ aperture setting and I have ended up using it for most of my shots.

Even today, I am puzzled when photographers use an f/2.8 for portraits as I wonder how sharp the image will be. It goes without saying that I need to put together an experiment (with the same scene) and shoot it as various apertures. Only then will I understand the difference made by the aperture as well as the DoF for each aperture setting. Obviously, I will need to use an object with depth and cannot use a ‘flat’ object.

Hard Disk Scare 3


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About 2 yrs ago my Windows XP desktop system was performing poorly. I decided to upgrade the hardware. I Added a new 500gb HDD for the OS. and Used the old 80GB and 160GB HDDs for data.

Again life was fun.