Whats going to happen to Flickr?

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I remember a long time ago back in probably 2004 or 2005 there was this new photo sharing site called Flickr.  Back then there weren’t a lot of places to upload your photos for MySpace except for maybe Photobucket (maybe I still have an account there, I think I should check….) but Flickr was different in that it had lots of tools to edit your photos.  I now use Google Photos for such things but when Yahoo bought them and then their latest CEO said that you could upload up to 1TB of photos, I thought that was awesome!

Flickr was always for the pro photographer to show off his wares.  They had a premium plan so you could upload tons of photos and make unlimited albums.  The free account which I used had upload limitations but I didn’t care since I didn’t have a digital camera or an iPhone back then so I didn’t need much.  Now Flickr has become part of my photo backup scheme by integrating it and my iPhone with IFTTT.  Every time I take a picture a private picture is uploaded to Flickr if its on my iPhone.  On a given vacation day, I can take upwards of 100 photos if I’m in the mood and I have enough battery power.  Thats a ton of memory and storage but I’m not close to the 1TB I have available to me.

Now Flickr has become part of the purchase of Yahoo by Verizon.  So far everywhere I read on the blogosphere, people are asking what is going to become of Flickr.  I personally would love the service to continue, I have tons of pictures up there and its part of my backups in the event my NAS or Google Photos gets corrupted or something.  Granted the likelihood of Google Photos going away is very small, I still like having backups of my backups and I’ve been such a long time user I can’t see not using the service.  Although it technically would be hard to spin off the Flickr service into its own company again, there isn’t anything special about it that Google Photos doesn’t do anyway already.  Being a massive place to store pro photos is fine but they would need to do something like have pro tools like Photoshop or something similar to Pixelmator tools as part of the service plus online storage and be FAST to be competitive or even make any money.

I don’t do a lot of editing of my photos so all the pro tools in the world wouldn’t do me a lick of good.  I just want to be able to store my photos somewhere for free and privately and Flickr does that for me.  I’m hoping Verizon keeps the site alive and maybe makes some improvements along the way while keeping the 1TB upload amount free.  Maybe adding the ability to upload video???  I know that Google does that but it chokes on some of the bigger videos that I have right now (currently a surfing video of my daughter can’t be uploaded, for some reason Google chokes on it and it just hangs there all day doing nothing).

I haven’t actually gone through the website of Flickr in a while but there seems to be some nice discovery aspects to it.  Maybe they need to become more like Getty Images and charge for photos but have a portion go to the photographer since there is some really awesome stuff up there.  The one thing I do want is to be able to use Flickr with a different ID.  Flickr is the only reason why I still have an active Yahoo ID anymore ever since the data breach was announced a few months ago.  Finding another place to drop 30K images and videos is hard and it takes a really long time to do.  If my NAS had web browser capabilities I’d do it from that but since it doesn’t I have to rely on a computer.  I guess I’ll subscribe to their Twitter feed, maybe they’ll announce what will happen to their service soon.  I hope they don’t go the way of Winamp, there was an awesome program destroyed by a behemoth company and I don’t want the same thing to happen to Flickr.

Digitizing old memories

Last year I liberated all the photos and photo albums at my moms house with the full intention of getting them into the cloud to be saved forever.  I didn’t count them I just took a duffel bag, stuffed them in there and flew it home.  I contemplated using a service who would do the scanning for me.  I looked up a number of different services and all of them sounded intriguing but the costs sounded prohibitive due to the amount of pictures that I took back.  A duffel bag is a lot of pictures and I didn’t want to pay hundreds of dollars just to scan something to a DVD.  I decided to do it myself and it took around 2 weeks to complete but now everything is up in the cloud and in my NAS.

I used my HP 7520 to do all of the scanning of the photos.  This thing is awesome except that it runs out of ink really fast because the cartridges are so small.

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Whats neat is that I was able to scan the photos directly to a USB flash drive rather than having to control the scan jobs using a computer.  It also auto detected the size of the photo so all I had to do was lift the cover, switch out the photos, and hit 3 buttons to start the scan process.  I was able to cover around 150-200 photos per night but it also took around 2 hours to scan in that many.  It would have been nice if I could have used the auto document feeder which would have made things really fast but I don’t think any all in one printer does something like that for photos.

Overall, my entire life until my high school graduation was captured in only 2000 or so pictures and a lot of the pictures don’t even have me in it.  I was looking at the photos and most of them were printed in Mystic CT which is pretty far from my home town.  It was neat to see coupons for $0.10 off my next order (thats the entire order not per print).  Most of the photos were 3×5 matte finish but the newer ones were heading towards 4×6 and glossy.  When you consider that there was nothing but film cameras when I was growing up, 2000 pictures sounds like a lot and when you realize they are printed it is a lot and probably costs a fortune.  I didn’t scan everything, I left out a lot of blurry or off photos that were just of the same landscape over and over again.  I kept all the pictures but I need a more permanent place to store them.

In comparison I am glad I am in the digital age where I can take as many photos as I want and they are easy to store.  My Alaska vacation that I took with my family was on its own 1500 photos and that was over a 7 day period.  If I had stayed another 2-3 days I would have had over 2000 photos just from that vacation alone.  As it is, even going to Disney for 2-3 days I knock out at least 20-50 photos.  I try and take at least 1 photo a day of my kid when I’m home, so that alone will garner probably 100 photos a year.  Now when there are events that could be like 50 photos or so so in essence there should be 1000 new photos every year just from me and it doesn’t even include my wife.

I have old photos of my own stored in the house but I have digital copies of those already so no more late night scanning for me.  I’m glad I was able to do the scanning myself, I saved a lot of money and I was able to share some of the photos with some friends as I was scanning them in.  I’ll show them to my daughter one day so that she can see how her father looked when he was her age.

Google Photo’s is awesome at creating “stuff”

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I’ve been using Google Photo’s since it came out with the new version.  I used to use Picasa occasionally  but it was just a place to view the photos on my hard drive.  I installed Google Photo’s on my iPhone, iPad, and my Mac so that all my photos could be uploaded for safe keeping.  One of the cool parts about it is that Google Photos starts doing neat things with the photos it finds.  The example I have in this post is a panoramic that Google Photo’s put together from 3 separate photos that I took while waiting to take off from Miami.  I’d say it came out pretty sweet.

There are other things that it does like make short videos, turn things black and white, and make collages on its own based on the time the photo was taken or where the photo was taken.  It takes all that meta data from my iPhone that saves things like the location and date/time stamp and uses that to make smart albums.  I think that Apple is trying to do the same thing with Memories but minus some of the other cool functions that Google Photos does.

While Photos from Apple is pretty awesome, there are a lot of storage limitations because I don’t pay for iCloud storage and only use the free options so I can’t back up everything.  I have well over 20,000 photos and around 1,000 videos and all that takes up a lot of storage.  Google Photos is just one means of backing things up but the fact that it does cool stuff with my photos is just some nice bonus stuff.  I also get the option to save the little creations from Google and I take full advantage of that, you never know when I’m going to look back on some of this stuff whenI get older and see how cool some of my pictures came out with a little bit of Google magic.

I’d post more stuff but its hard to do so on WordPress from Google Photos, it doesn’t like the share links that I use.  I had to go around that problem by uploading to Flickr then using their share links after making the photo public.  If I get more cool stuff like this, I’ll post it here or using Twitter to give it more exposure.

Shot on my iPhone 6

New photo added to "Camera Roll"

I’ve taken a lot of pictures on my iPhone since I got it two years ago but I’ve mainly been using it for family shots.  Every once in a while I get a shot thats pretty awesome but I rarely share it online except maybe on the occasional Tweet or maybe a Facebook post.  I did share a bunch of photos once but that was when I was in Washington DC and that was definitely many years ago.

This particular shot I took this morning when I went to some Secret Park in Broward County. I took this just using my regular iPhone camera app, I’ve tried a few apps here and there but I always revert back to the original camera app since it seems to be the fastest option when my phone is locked and I want to take a quick snap shot.

New photo added to "Camera Roll"

This was another shot that I took using my iPhone 6 using the panoramic feature.  I was up on the 70th floor of the Westin overlooking Centennial Park in Atlanta.  I’ve taken a few pictures with my iPhone 6s that I use for work but I limit the pictures I take with that because I don’t know if work monitors what photos I take with it or not and I prefer to keep work and personal life as separate as possible.

What I was trying to look for was a way to submit some of my more awesome photos on that “Shot on iPhone” campaign that Apple was doing but I wasn’t able to find a way to do it.  I did see that Apple probably just trolls the public feed of places like Flickr so I changed the photos that I have on this blog post to public, maybe one of them will make it to the website or a billboard.  I’m off on another trip next week but its only to Atlanta which I’ve been to a few times already so there isn’t much to take pictures of unless its of a sporting event or something.  However Beyonce is supposed to be there next week, maybe I’ll be able to catch a snap shot of her leaving her concert or something.

Turning off iCloud Photo Library

After finally getting fed up seeing a “Your iCloud Storage is Full” message on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad occasionally I’ve decided to turn off the photos and video backup offered by Apple.  I’ve probably ranted about this before on Facebook or something but this time I’ve gotten peeved enough about it to actually risk losing all my pics in the iCloud library.  Im not all that worried though, I’ve backed up everything to Google Photos.  I think I won’t have everything at full resolution but I don’t look at my pics all that often anyway. I might miss the slow motion videos but those can be recreated.

What would be awesome is if Apple would give iCloud account users storage that equals their current device size and for each device that is signed in.  That would give me over 300GB of space so I can actually back up my device to the cloud instead of my laptop.  I’ve resorted to backing up my iDevices to an external drive which kind of goes against my whole home mobile strategy by having to tether my laptop to an external drive but I needed the space.  I don’t think Apple anticipated that over the long term, backups would et up tons of drive space on computers.  Although this may be a clever ploy for the consumer to buy more storage from them which I refuse to do.

He kicker now is that I have to constantly remember to run Google Photos and my IFTTT recipes so my pictures on my iPhone is all backed up.  I’ll have to figure out something else for my DSLR and my water proof camera.  So long iCloud Photo Library, when I get more free space maybe I’ll come back.

Shutterfly is pretty fly

I have recently re-discovered Shutterly after th most recent iPhone app update. I typically have only used Shutterfly for creating a photo book here and there as gifts for my parents and I do recall creating a share site when my daughter was born but other than that I haven’t done much with it. I know that I can upload an unlimited amount of photos to the site but I haven’t taken advantage of that but I think I’m going to start to so I have at least a backup of my photos. I don’t think they will be at full resolution if I ever needed them again but at least I would still have them.

An added benefit is that I can update my daughters photo site as well with the new pictures. I just need the time to do so. What would be really awesome is if they updated the iPad app for Shutterfly so that I can update the site instead of having to use a computer. I’ve been able to do most of what I need on an iPad for a while now but there are some things that just escape me because the technology that is being used on some of the services that I use haven’t gotten around to making apps or using HTML5. That’s not a big problem really. I need an excuse every once in a while to use my computer so I don’t get rusty. Now all I have to do is actually remember to use Shutterfly. While iCloud is great, it only keeps my most recent 1000 photos.

100 Camera’s in 1 is super sweet

I recently came across a great app while I was reading my news feeds in Flipboard on my iPad. It’s called 100 Cameras in 1 which is a photo filter application. The application takes an original photo and adds 100 filters on top of the picture to make some really amazing looking photos. This app isn’t free like most of the other apps that I’ve used in the past. I did quite a bit of research on the app and read lots of reviews and decided to put down the $3 for the app.

I have literally thousands of pictures on my home computer that I’m eager to put filters on. One of the coolest things is that you can layer filters on top of each other making for an infinite amount of filters that can be added to a photo. There are even some controls that can be adjusted so that the picture itself or the filter can be adjusted to change the effect on the picture further. I’ve tried using the app with a few photos that I’ve imported onto my iPad using Photo Transfer (which is way better than syncing my iPads folders) to move pictures from my computer.

Another really excellent option is how you can publish the photos that have been created. It supports export to twitter, Flickr, email, and instagram to name a few. I have been exporting my photos to Flickr for the time being since it seems like a good place to put them so I can link them to my blog posts. I only have an upload limit per month in terms of bandwidth and not an actual limit on how much I can upload. I’ll insert some of my creations into this post just for fun and to showcase some of the filters I’ve used.

The first picture is of a sun set I took in Key West this year.  I added some filters to it and it looks pretty cool, not too far off from the original but just different enough to add a little bit of color and neat effects to the whole thing.  The second picture is of one of my cats that I used to have.  She was just sitting on the couch and I took a picture of her.  I added a lot of layered filters to this one and this old style photo is what I came up with.  I like how the effect was centered on her and then kind of made into one of those old time black and white photo’s.  I might try this with other cat photo’s that I have or I might start doing it with people shots too.  With my camera kit for my iPad, Photo Transfer for iPhone and iPad, I can move photo’s to my iPad for easy digital re-touching.  I will still keep some photo editing software on my iPhone but I think I’ll only be using it for Instagram really because they have cool built in filters that also add borders which is something that 100 Camera’s in 1 doesn’t do.  If they have more control over where the center of the effect is, that would be a great improvement as well as adding borders to the picture but I can do that using other apps after I’ve added all the filters and stuff to get the picture to how I want it to look.  I’ll be sure to be playing with this app for quite a while, at least until my iPad’s don’t work anymore.