Archive for April 2012
WordPress is an excellent platform for publishing photos on the web, but what if you don’t need all the bells and whistles it has to offer? Surprisingly, decent no-frills photo publishing applications are few and far between. After thorough research, I returned pretty much empty-handed, so I decided to hack something myself.
The result of my coding endeavors is still pretty crude, but it does the job with a minimum of fuss. At first sight, Pygmyfoto may look like a bare-bones photography blog application, but I prefer to think of it as a no-frills tool for publishing a photo roll on the web. As such, Pygmyfoto doesn’t have the features that are de rigueur of any decent blogging engine. There are no search capabilities, tagging is limited, there is no support for commenting or rating, there is no RSS feed, and all photos are presented as a single stream. In fact, Pygmyfoto is not even a pure webapp: it uses a simple SQLite database as its back end, and a couple of PHP scripts for rendering the photos and the accompanying info. Publishing photos (i.e., resizing them, adding title, description, tags, retrieving EXIF metadata etc.) is done using a relatively simple Python script. Another equally simple Python script lets you quickly archive and re-publish the photos. Data in the database that powers Pygmyfoto can be edited using an SQLite administration tool like the SQLite Manager add-on for Firefox or the phpLiteAdmin web-based tool (included with Pygmyfoto).
Pygmyfoto is not designed to replace a dedicated photography blog or gallery software. Instead, it offers a straightforward way to publish your photos as a continuous roll. Key EXIF data, such as exposure, aperture, focal length, and ISO are provided for each photo along with the link to its high resolution version.
The lack of embellishments means that, once deployed, Pygmyfoto requires practically no maintenance: you don’t have to moderate comments, manage users, remove spam, and perform other administrative chores (although you might want to back up Pygmyfoto’s files and databases regularly). The simplicity of Pygmyfoto’s overall design and its core components (Python and PHP scripts, an CSS file, and the SQLite database) mean that you can deconstruct, tweak, and improve the application even if your coding skills are not up to scratch.
A demo installation of the latest development version of Pygmyfoto is available on my server, so feel free to take a look at it. The source code is available in the project’s GitHub repository along with brief installation and usage instructions.
Sometimes the best way to spice up a photo is to make it look faded, and digiKam makes it supremely easy to achieve this effect.
Open the photo for editing and choose Color → White Balance. Adjust exposure compensation to slightly overexpose the photo and set the color temperature to 12000 to add a strong golden tint to the photo. Press OK to apply the modifications. Choose then Color → Hues/Saturation/Lightness and set Saturation to -50. Press OK, and you are done. The described technique works particularly well with skin tones, so it’s suitable for use with portrait photos.
Tethering your DSLR camera to a computer opens a whole new world of possibilities: you can instantly view your shots on a large screen, trigger your camera remotely, practice the art of time-lapse photography, and perform other clever tricks. While commercial tethering software for Windows and Mac OS X often costs serious money, you can enjoy all the advantages of tethered shooting on Linux free of charge courtesy of Entangle. This tethering software lets you control practically all camera settings, trigger the shutter from the computer, view a live preview of a scene, and automatically download captured images to the computer.
I bought a Kingston Wi-Drive 16GB for a review, and I don’t need it anymore. So I decided to do a quick giveaway for Scribbles and Snaps readers. The drive has been used only once to write a review, so it’s as good as new. The drive works with iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and regular computers.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post, describing which feature in digiKam you want me to cover on the blog. Don’t forget to provide your email address. I’ll pick a winner randomly by Sunday, April 29. Good luck!
And the winner is Gemma Benson. Congratulations! :-) Thank you all for participating, and stay tuned for more giveaways!
Adding a dash of color tint to a black and white photo can often produce a dramatic effect, and digiKam does have a handful of toning filters for you to try.
But you are not limited to the built-in filters: using digiKam’s editing tools, you can easily tint photos using whatever color you like. To do this, open a photo for editing, choose Color → Hue/Saturation/Lightness and set Saturation to -100. This effectively turns the image into a black and white photo. Press OK to save the changes, then choose Color → Color Balance. Usen then the sliders to create the toning color you want. Press OK, and you are done.
Besides a handful of minor tweaks, the new version of the digiKam Recipes ebook includes the following new material:
- Tethered Shooting with digiKam
- Soft Proofing in digiKam
Readers who already purchased the book will receive the new version free of charge. If you haven’t received your copy, please send your order confirmation as proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll email you the latest version of the book.