AT Newsletter Volume 33, April 2023

Picture Perfect

I've always loved photography. I think it started with a photography class my junior year in high school (yes a very long time ago). I purchased a relatively cheap knock off camera sold through Sears but manufactured by Pentax. We learned all the basics including how to develop prints which is not very useful today. Fast forward to 1998 and my first digital camera - it was life changing. Now with the iPhone (or insert your smartphone of choice) I always have an amazing camera with me. This month I thought I would share some of my favorite software packages/services.

Old Photos and Videos - our family had a ton of old photos and videos. Not only do they take up a lot of space but over time the quality degrades (especially the old videos). Years ago I took up the arduous task of converting the video to digital and scanning the photos. Now there are a variety of services that will perform this task for a relatively reasonable price (and honestly better quality). I gave DigMyPics a try and I had great luck. I sent them an album and I received a thumb drive with all my pics scanned and "touched up" along with the original photos. I'm still not completely finished but it is getting close.

Where to store everything - I'm a bit obsessed with organizing and backing up my digital media. Originally, everything was backed up to an external drive but with today's cloud technologies it is much simpler. All of our photos and videos are stored in a personal OneDrive account but our primary storage is Google Photos. I've been using this service for years and it continues to amaze me. Here are a few of my favorite features:

  • Automatic sync with my iPhone (and the rest of the family!) - all of our photos are automatically sent to Google Photos. More importantly I no longer have to download photos manually from the family phones!
  • Facial Recognition - this may be one of my favorite features. Google does an amazing job of identifying a face and then tagging all of my photos where it finds that face. It easily identifies 3 year-old Mark and 30 year-old Mark. Even more amazing it correctly identifies my wife and her identical twin!
  • Search - I know not shocking - Google is good at search. Simply type "Dog","Beach", or "New York" and immediately get the photos that are relevant.
  • New Features - Have you ever taken a photo that was accidentally "photo-bombed" by a random stranger? Google has the new "Magic Eraser" tool that will make it easy to make them disappear (from the photo)! I haven't tried it yet but it won't be long.

Final Thoughts - Just like my home automation obsession, I'm a bit obsessed with my digital media. I used to have the same obsession with my digital music but with the advent of streaming services I've given that up. This obsession does make it much easier to share photos with family and friends, take a trip down memory lane, and create slideshows. Speaking of slideshows - PicturestoExe is my favorite tool. Happy to share tips to get started. I'll be working on my daughters HS graduation slideshow this month!