FlickrViewer for AutoViewer

When I was creating the website for my photography endeavor, I wanted a place to show off my photos. I stumbled upon AutoViewer and thought it would be a good method for displaying my photos. However, I wanted the ease of using Flickr’s Slideshow so I could easily update my portfolio.

Mark Sweeting has a PHP script, FlickrViewer, which allows for integration of a Flickr Set with SimpleViewer, the sister program to AutoViewer. Being a programmer, I modified Mark’s script to work with AutoViewer and voila: FlickrViewer for AutoViewer.

There are two major things that I changed. The first was making the XML output compatible with what AutoViewer expects1. The second thing was to add a series of calls to Flickr to get the appropriate image URLs.

This is not an official product offering, so the extend that I’m planning on maintaining this code is the extent that I need to for my own purposes and the extent that someone wants to fund development. Otherwise, have it. Released under the GNU General Public License.

Download: flickrViewer v0.9 for AutoViewer

You’ll also need to download AutoViewer.

You’ll also may need an API key from Flickr if you want to share private photos. It’s free at http://www.flickr.com/services/api/misc.api_keys.html


  1. which, for some reasons, is different than what SimpleViewer expects 

Programming Notes

Just a heads up on some stuff related to my trip you may not have known about.

On my blog, I’ve added two new things to the side bar: Andrew Time and Dopplr.

Andrew Time tells you what time it is in whatever country I’m in. This should help in trying to figure out what time it is where I am without having to deal with any math.

Dopplr is a travel plans sharing site. I’m trying to keep it up to date with my current travel plans since I’m a bit behind in ye old blogging.

I’ve also updated the blog backend to put dates in my local time. What this means is that when you look at the time stamp on a post, it will be for my time zone and not for Seattle time.

Picture uploading has been going marvelously. I’m still a couple days behind, but I’m hoping to get caught up with everything (photos and blogging) by time I fly to Istanbul.

One awesome feature I think you might enjoy for pictures is the map. All (almost) of my photos have GPS data attached to them. Check it out: Map with Geotagged Photos. It only shows 20 photos at a time, so be sure to click the “right” arrow button to see more.

DSC_9206
56.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

EDays 2009: Diamond AnnivarsarE-Days Videos

This is going to be the first of many posts over the next few weeks as I slowly process and upload over 24GB of data. Today, videos! In High-Definition! For free!

I did something odd and posted them in two places. Why on earth would you do that? you ask? Because I’m trying to keep most of the stuff on Flickr, however they have a 150MB/90sec limit. I keep this value in mind when I shooting. However, some clips are several minutes long and/or several hundred megabytes in size1, and those went on YouTube.

Enjoy the video’s. I’d suggest you watch all the Fireworks ones (because they were that awesome this year). Also make sure that you watch all the videos in HD. On Flickr, click the “HD” icon in the bottom right corner. On YouTube, you’ll need to click the play button before the “HD” button will come up in the bottom right corner.

Click for: EDays 2009 Videos on Flickr – Part 1
Click for: EDays 2009 Videos on YouTube – Part 2
Remember, there’s different content on each site!

Some highlights:


  1. my thanks goes to Academic Computing and Networking, who unknowingly facilitated my 6GB of video uploading 

Adding a Flickr Badge to WordPress.com

My friend Kelly has a question about adding a Flickr Badge to his hosted WordPress.com blog:

You are the only wordpress guru I know and I have a question.

How do I add a sample of pictures from Flickr on the sidebar of my blog? You do it and a few other people have done it both based off of wordpress.com like I am and independently hosted like you. Yours is the coolest, but I understand if I can’t do that with wordpress.com

What do you know guru?

Well,

You can’t use the same badge that I do because you need JavaScript and WordPress.com doesn’t allow JavaScript (it’s a security issue). However, there is a solution. Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance > Widgets. Toward the bottom under “Available Widgets”, there should be a Flickr widget. Add it.

Scroll back up the page and under “Current Widgets” You should the Flickr widget. Click “Edit” and follow the instructions. Then click “Done” and “Save Changes.”

The Free Range Method

After talking with many great people, I think I finally have a plan.

There are really two parts to this story, however I’m going to tell them in reverse order.

On Monday, I was feeling quite anxious. I’ve been feeling rather anxious all semester and I wasn’t entirely sure why. I went to More on Mondays, which is a targeted “seminar” that The Annex arranges. This past Monday was specifically for graduating seniors and they brought Cindy Smith, a woman who specializes in transition. Cindy usually deals with missionaries, expatriates, and repatriation. But being a senior is not entirely different. She provided us with a slide that shows the major steps of transition and then walked us through them:
transition
Click image to embiggen

This was really helpful. Just realizing that transition, especially on this scale, can be stressful and chaotic. This also helped me realize another thing: transitioning from college/Colorado to mission trip to work/Seattle would be way to much for me to handle. So I pretty much have nixed the idea of doing a mission trip over the summer, and I think it’s a good call.

Second, I talked with Jessica a couple weeks ago. She spent last fall traveling for about two months in Europe, which is great because that’s basically what I want to do – although I may go farther East than she did. I also filled in some important details of my trip. For me, it will probably cost about $4k-$5k, which is a lot, but I don’t think unreasonably so. I saved at least $1000 by using airline miles to fly from the US to Europe (assuming there isn’t some insane “fee” for booking said flight). Keeping cash on hand seems the way to go, which is what I remembered from my trip to Europe a couple years ago (I paid cash for everything…still have some left over, too).

In terms of getting around, Jessica said that using RyanAir (which I’d heard of) and easyJet (which I had not heard of) were probably better than getting a Eurail pass, although I don’t have to make that call just yet. In terms of sleeping accommodations, HostelWorld.com is the site to visit. I poked around it a bit and it seems really easy to use and should fit the bill just perfectly. The Lonely Planet series of books is what Jessica used, I currently have one on reserve at the library to see if I like the format and what they cover. If not, I may just end up using Rick Steves’. Or just wing it.

The plan, thus far, looks something like this: fly into and out of Europe via Paris or Frankfurt using airline miles. Spend several days in each city until I’m ready to move on to another city. Use HostelWorld to find places to sleep and meet new people. Theoretically find some other people travel with at a hostel and join them for a little while. Rinse and repeat. I’m calling this the free range method.

I would like to list out some places that I would like to visit, although I don’t want to attach a particular time or order in which to visit them. I think this will help move my journey along.

One of the other major things that I need to resolve is what I’m bringing. I would like to bring some photography equipment, but I’m not sure what and how much. There’s also the problem about what to do with all my photographs after I take them. Since I shoot in RAW, I need some special equipment and software to do any sort of editing, I can’t just upload them to Flickr. Do I want to just bring a stack of memory cards? I’m thinking about purchasing a netbook1 to bring with me. Costco is currently selling an Acer Aspire One Netbook with 8.9″ display, Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB HDD, no optical drive, and integrated webcam for $299.99. I could load it up with the most basic of RAW viewing tools so I could delete any photos I think are absolute crap and would never keep (e.g. blurry photos) and then upload the rest to a secure storage space online. This way I wouldn’t be completely SOL if the netbook was stolen, lost, broken (not that I’m planning on any of that happening).

Also, how much stuff do I really want to be taking? I want to be nimble.

If you’ve ever traveled abroad in this sort of fashion, what did you bring?


  1. A netbook is a small and cheap computer used primarily to access the Internet 

The Birth of a Site: Andrew Ferguson Photography

In a few short days, I’ll be releasing the next step in my photographic endeavor: my official photography website. I’ve spent about two weeks working on the site, which, for me, is quite a bit of time. But I wanted to get it right. Every one who I’ve showed it to thus far has said that it look very professional. I thought I would spend some time discussing how I went about developing the site, in the hopes that it might be interesting to someone.

For a while now, I’ve maintained a Portfolio Set on Flickr. Recently, I used some slick software from Airtight Interactive called SimpleViewer, combined with a PHP script called FlickrViewer (which makes API calls to Flickr and creates the necessary files SimpleViewer needs), to launch a cleaner version of my portfolio: https://andrewferguson.net/portfolio/.

After my Photographer for Hire post from a couple weeks ago, I wanted an even slicker site that was dedicated (in part) to the type of photography I was targeting (i.e. portraits). Originally, my first though was to use this awesome WordPress theme that I’d recently heard about: Monotone. In a nutshell, the color of the site is based on the first picture of the blog post. There were a couple of issues with this method, however. First, the theme was really only designed to handle one image per a blog post (seriously, all the other images were stripped out). Second, I didn’t want to divide my blogging between two sites. Third, I had to manually upload photos that I had already put on Flickr; I wanted to be able to just pull them in from Flickr. So after about a week of messing around, I decided to abandon the WordPress-based site and go home brew.

I already had SimpleViewer working with Flickr, and I knew that Airtight Interactive had another similar program called AutoViewer. So I decided to use that as my starting point. I took my current portfolio viewer…
inspiration
…and designed a main page around that. I got out a piece of paper and drew the following:

boxes

Three boxes. But what about content? I took a quick trip around some of my favorite photo sites and wrote down all the links they had, then dutifully narrowed them down to three categories: photos, about me, and cost. I decided that I’d divide photos into portraits and landscapes (although really it should be “pictures of people” and “pictures not of people”). From three boxes to four boxes: Portraits, Landscapes, Rates, Andrew.

Using Photoshop, I mocked up the following:
afdi

I really wish I had screenshots of all the interim steps. Instead, you’ll just have to trust me that this wasn’t a straight forward processes.

With a design in the bag, I started the process of converting image to code. First I coded the main page. It’s all done with DIV tags and CSS. It was really just a matter of specifying the size of each element box and then making the whole thing float in the middle with some margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; magic. I created a couple of PHP functions to distribute common code elements, primarily the XHTML above and below the BODY tag. And that was pretty much it.

From that, I coded the rates and about me page. The portraits and landscape page was pretty much already in the bag, I just had to tweak the FlickrViewer code (which took longer then anticipated and involved a pretty heavy rewrite of the existing code, but that’s another story). I showed it to some people and got some feedback, incessantly tweaking every little detail until I finally had something that I thought was good:
afdi-final
I think it’s rather remarkable how close the final design is to the mockup. I’ve tested it across several browsers and everything seems to be in order, including fully XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS compliant.

Google Analytics are in place to track my stats; and using Google Webmaster Tools I’ve made the powers that be aware of my site. I also took the opportunity to upload a sitemap, which I generated using an online sitemap generator.

There’s just a couple more things to wrap up before I officially launch, so check back on Saturday for the official launch of Andrew Ferguson Photography.

Questions?

Photographer for Hire

Background: Another couple friends of mine got engaged this past weekend. I was talking with them at Old Chicago’s (which is where we go after Merge) and they were wondering if I’d shoot their Engagement photos. I said yes, explaining to them how I’ve been wanting to do more portrait photography this year. I was eventually planning on blogging about, but I guess I just do it now.

I feel that I’m pretty much at a place where I feel confident offering my photography skills for hire. I’m also looking for a new challenge in photography, mainly taking pictures of people.

I have not set rates yet, but I guarantee that they will be very competitive. I would be interested in shooting engagement photos and general portraits. I would not like to shoot birthday parties or other real-time events for the time being, this means that I probably would not shooting weddings, although feel free to ask.

I currently have Fridays and weekends available, so drop me a line if you’re even interested (my contact information is always on the front of my blog). I’m definitely up for negotiating prices, so you really have nothing to lose.

To give you an idea of what I’m thinking about offering:

  • Taking 100-200 photos over a couple hours on location(s)
  • Delivering 25-75 processed photos in JPEG (possibly DNG if requested)
  • Physical prints would be extra, but affordable with minimal markup
  • Option for producing a photobook
  • Online photo gallery (probably through Flickr, maybe through another source)

Thoughts?

Portfolio:

A Photo Book

I was reading a post on a blog1 over the summer about how digital photography has change the way people take photos. One of the primary benefits of digital photography is that every picture is essentially free. Take as many photos as you want and it really won’t cost you a thing.

Being able to take photos for free2 does great things for the learning curve. Had I paid for all 15000+ photos I’ve taken with my D70 since I bought it four years ago, I would have spent over $2000 on developing photos alone. The benefits of digital are clear.

However, there is a trade off with digital. Digital photography is, by its very nature, a form which has no physical product. It’s just a series of 0’s and 1’s that make up an image. There is no negative and there is no final print, at least in the traditional sense. For the last year, I’ve been shooting in RAW format, which is the digital equivalent to a negative – if there ever was one. However, I rarely make physical prints.

When I do make prints, it’s usually when A) someone asks me to; B) I’m giving them as gifts; or C) I’m framing them for an art show. Of all the 10000+ photos I currently have on Flickr (which represents my body of work), I’ve printed no more than 125 photos, and most of those where for a Christmas present I made my Mom a couple years ago.

The post I was reading indicated that the author wanted to print more of his photos out because he had an incomplete feeling of the photo process. He wanted to be able to touch and hold them. And while I don’t share exactly the same feeling of incompleteness – most of my “career” I have been shooting digital and have never had the chance to even use a darkroom (although I’ve been inside several) – I do like the idea of being able to touch, hold, and see the physical results.

In particular, I’ve had this urge to make a photo book. Moreover, I would like to share the opportunity to purchase this photo book when/if I produce it.

The Idea:
My current idea is a history of the college years as seen through my lens. It would probably contain about 40-100 photos. Each photo would contain a story surrounding the events of the photo, probably no more than 300 words per a photo. I would suspect that many stories would be edited forms of blog posts, however I also anticipate that I’ll have to write several new stories as well.

I’m currently looking at both soft and hard books. Hard covers are obviously more expensive, but are also much nicer and will last longer. Since I want to keep prices low, a hard cover version would probably contain less photos than a soft cover version. I want to keep the price below $50, ideally around $30, but I haven’t run all the numbers yet.

My question to you is, is anyone even interested? Leave your comments and/or a simple yay/nay. You are not committing to anything at this point. I’m simply trying to figure out if there’s an interest. *wink* It would make a good Christmas gift *wink*

If there is enough interest, I’m looking to partner with either QOOP or Costco to have them printed as-needed. While this may raise prices a bit, it prevents me from having to bulk order the books and then hope that enough people want to purchase them.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a couple of photos I took up on the “M” a couple weeks ago:

DSC_5873
Nikkor @ 50mm || 1/1000 || f/2 || ISO200 || tripod

DSC_5888
Nikkor @ 35mm || 1/250 || f/13 || ISO200 || tripod


  1. …although I can’t remember or, for the life of me, find which one it was. If I do find it, I’ll update this post. 

  2. i.e. essentially free 

Printing Photos on Flickr

My friend’s mom asks:

I need some technical advice. Liz has posted her photos on Flickr…I would like to create an old-fashioned paper album/scrapbook…[but] of course, I don’t know how to download those photos so I can print them out. Could you please tell me now to do that?

I think the easiest way is to print them at Target and pick them up (which is what I did); you can have them mailed to you. The alternative is to print them out yourself, but you’d need to have a photo-quality printer and photo paper and even then I’m pretty sure it ends up being a little bit more expensive to print them yourself once you factor in the cost of ink and photo paper.

I’m going to continue based on the assumption that you want to print them at Target. If you don’t just let me know and I can send you an alternative set of instructions to print them yourself.

It’s actually pretty easy once you get going, although there’s a bit of a learning curve. I’m also coordinating with Liz because she has to make a small change to her preferences1 on Flickr to allow other people to print the photos.

Once Liz has updated her settings, the first thing you’ll want to do is sign in to Flickr. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to make one.

Once that’s done, navigate to Liz’s Flickr page and click on the first photo you want to print.

Just above the picture will be an option that says “Prints & More”. Click that and a drop down menu will appear. There will be options for “4×6″, 5×7″, 8×10″, and Wallet Prints. It also may say”4xD”, 5xD”, 8xD” instead and that’s okay too. The ‘D’ just means the photos were taken with a digital camera and the print may not be exactly 4×6 (or what have you).

In any event, select the quantity of that picture you want in what ever size(s) you want and click “ADD TO CART” and then click “CONTINUE BROWSING.” Repeat the process for all the pictures you want to print.

When you’re done, click the shopping cart icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. You’ll have a chance to review what’s in your cart and to select a Target store to pick the photos up at or type in your address for mail delivery. Click “CHECK OUT” and follow the directions and you’re all set.

1 To allow other people to print your photos, change your settings by:

  1. Log into Flickr
  2. Go to: http://www.flickr.com/account/printing/?from=privacy
  3. Select: “Any Flickr Member” from the drop down box
  4. Click “Save”

Skate Set

<a href='https://www.andrewferguson.net/2007/10/28/skate-set/skatesetjpg/' rel='attachment wp-att-2165' title='skateset.JPG'><img src='https://www.andrewferguson.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2007/10/skateset.JPG' alt='skateset.JPG' /></a>

Skate Set on Flickr