Instant Photo Backup with Android

Many cameras have Wi-Fi capabilities, which in theory makes it easier to transfer photos to your mobile device for safe-keeping and sharing. In practice, though, downloading photos over Wi-Fi is just too slow to be of much practical use beyond occasionally grabbing a photo or two from your camera. Moreover, not all cameras allow you to transfer raw files, limiting the usefulness of the Wi-Fi feature even further. But if you happen to use an Android device that supports USB OTG (On-The-Go), an inexpensive and tiny adapter provides a neat solution to the problem.

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olympus-photosync: Wireless Bridge Between Olympus Cameras and Linux

Although modern Olympus cameras are not particularly hacker-friendly, enterprising and determined coders still manage to extend the existing functionality beyond its intended use. Case in point: olympus-photosync, a handy little tool that makes it possible to wirelessly transfer JPEG and raw files from a supported Olympus camera to a Linux machine (or Windows and macOS X for that matter).

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Little Backup Box Update and FAQ

I’ve been traveling quite a bit lately. And to fight the battery anxiety syndrome, I’ve bought an Anker PowerCore 20100 mAh power bank. This relatively compact and light pack features two USB charging ports capable of delivering up to 2.4 mAh.

Now that I have plenty of power when I’m on the move, I no longer need to rely on Raspberry Pi Zero to run the Little Backup Box script. So I upgraded my mobile photo backup box to Raspberry Pi 3.

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Compare Photos with ImageMagick and a KDE Service Menu Action

Need to compare two photos side-by-side? Using the convert tool, you can quickly stitch two or more photos together and compare the result in any image viewer:

convert photo1.jpg photo2.jpg +append compare.jpg

The example command above stitches photo1.jpg and photo2.jpg from left to right (i.e. photo1.jpg + photo2.jpg), but you can use -append instead of +append to reverse the order (i.e. photo2.jpg + photo1.jpg). In both cases, the stitched image is saved under the compare.jpg name.

If you use KDE as your preferred graphical desktop environment, you can create a context action to stitch file pairs in the Dolphin file manager. Create a text file and paste the following code into it:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Service
ServiceTypes=KonqPopupMenu/Plugin
MimeType=image/JPG;image/JPEG;image/jpeg;image/JPG;image/jpg;
Actions=Compare
[Desktop Action Compare]
Name=Compare Photos
Exec=convert %F +append compare.jpg
Icon=image-x-applix-graphics

Save the file under the compare.desktop name and move it to /usr/share/kservices5/ServiceMenus:

sudo cp compare.desktop /usr/share/kservices5/ServiceMenus/

Open Dolphin, select a pair of JPEG files you want to compare, right-click on the selection, and choose the Actions → Compare Photos action to resize the image. This generates a compare.jpg file with the selected photos side by side. You can then use your preferred image viewer to examine the photos.

This is an excerpt from the Linux Photography book. Get your copy here.

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Made in Japan: A Brief History of the Japanese Photographic Industry

To practice German, I translate photography-related articles and technical texts. The following is an adapted translation of an article published in the FOTOHITS Special supplement to issue 5/2017 of the magazine.

The Japanese optical and photographic industry has a long history. Already during the Meiji Restoration (1868–1912), Emperor Mutsuhito set the goal of industrializing Japan and exchanging knowledge with the outside world. At that time, around 3000 foreign specialists were invited to the country, while talented Japanese students were dispatched to European universities and companies with the goal of acquiring and bringing back technical knowledge. Here are a few noteworthy historical facts.

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Coarse Geotagging with Bash and Google Maps

If all you want is to geotag photos with coordinates of the city where they were taken, a simple Bash shell script is all your need.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

wget -q --spider http://maps.googleapis.com/
if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
echo "Google Maps is not reachable. Check your Internet connection."
exit 1
fi

if [ -z "$1" ]; then
echo "Please specify a city"
exit 1
fi

lat=$(curl -G -k --data "address=$1&sensor=false" http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json | jq '.results[0].geometry.location.lat')
if (( $(echo "$lat > 0" |bc -l) )); then
latref="N"
else
latref="S"
fi

lon=$(curl -G -k --data "address=$1&sensor=false" http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json | jq '.results[0].geometry.location.lng')
if (( $(echo "$lon > 0" |bc -l) )); then
lonref="E"
else
lonref="W"
fi
exiftool -overwrite_original -GPSLatitude=$lat -GPSLatitudeRef=$latref -GPSLongitude=$lon -GPSLongitudeRef=$lonref .

The script  obtains geographical coordinates of the specified city via Google Maps API, and then uses the ExifTool to write the obtained latitude and longitude values into photos in the current directory.

To deploy  the script, install the required packages first. To do this on openSUSE, use the following command:

sudo zypper in exiftool ImageMagick jq bc

Copy then the code, paste it into a new text file, and save the file under the geotag name. Run the commands below to install the script:

sudo cp geophotobash-simple.sh /local/bin/geotag
sudo chown root:root /local/bin/geotag
sudo sudo chmod 755 /local/bin/geotag

To geotag photos, switch to the directory in which they are stored, then run the geotag tokyo command (replace tokyo with the name of the city where the photos were taken). That’s all there is to it.

This is an excerpt from the Linux Photography book. Get your copy from Google Play Store or Gumroad.

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Map Photos with uMap and PHP

If you happen to use a photo publishing application like Mejiro that stores photos and their thumbnails in regular directories, you can automatically map your photos with uMap and a dash of PHP scripting. Better still, there is no need to write PHP code from scratch: you can use a quick-and-dirty PHP script as a starting point.

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Recipes for automated and streamlined photographic workflow on Linux

Practical advice for Tokyo night photography

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