A great load off my mind

Tuesday May 24, 2005

It was sunny, it was mild, and there was a delicious refreshing breeze just about all day, so it seemed our best plan would be to stay home and enjoy it.

Graham alternated between his new computer and the garden, finalizing the software setup on the one and trimming, mowing and tidying the other. A good healthy mix.

I alternated between lovely relaxing periods sitting outside, and working on a couple of projects indoors. I took photographs of three more of the eBay items but, when it came to writing descriptions and getting them ready for listing, I chickened out and postponed the effort until tomorrow. Or the day after. eBay isn’t going to go away, let’s face it, and the items waiting to be listed will not mount up unless I go out and buy some more.

Photographs, however, do tend to mount up. I have boxes of prints, and hundreds, possibly thousands of digital photographs on disk. And I have a mess of photo-galleries on my website. It’s all getting to be a bit of a burden, and one I’ve been noodling at for a long time. And putting off for another day. And another. And another.

Fact of the matter is I shall never find the time, inspiration or energy to sort them all out. If I achieved anything today it was to come to that conclusion. I could force myself into the task, I suppose, but I know in my heart of hearts that I’ll never do it. It’s a path I shall not tread because I’ve got myself into a position where I know the way forward but I don’t have a cart big enough to carry all my old baggage.

So I’m not going to. The prints can stay in their boxes. The old web galleries can stay where they are—I’ll tidy up the links when I feel so inclined but otherwise they can stay spinning merrily. The digital photographs can stay in the folders where they live. The job of sorting all of these is something I really don’t want to do. Let the past look after the past is what I say.

The future is however something I can control on a fresh start basis, so I’ve worked up what seems to me to be good solutions for all three problem areas.

On the question of prints, I’ve decided to find a reliable source of good, big photograph albums, buy the first in what is likely to be a series of them, and assiduously mount and annotate the prints I make and those from the labs as they come along. I like good old-fashioned photo albums, always have, so I shall from here on out keep proper albums in the good old-fashioned way. Problem solved.

Disk storage requires only a minor rejigging and extension of what I’ve been doing for some time. I shall continue to store digital photograph originals in dated folders, and extend my file naming system to include the full date on each batch, adding serial numbers for individual photographs within a batch. In parallel I shall keep a private index log in html form, listing each photograph and adding sufficient notes to allow a search by subject. Rather like the old cross-referenced card files we used to keep in the photographic studios in which I worked back in the dark ages. In fact I shall search for a suitable piece of indexing software to get as close to that old method as I can. Soon. Certainly before the index gets to be too big to convert. As to backup and archiving, I shall make a new CD photodisk each month, containing all the photographs for that month. The sort of photodisk you can view in your DVD player if you feel so inclined. Again, problem solved.

Then, web picture galleries. I really like web galleries, enjoy doing them, and scanning through them in idle moments. Judging by my visitor stats, other people do, too. But finding a sustainable way of creating and maintaining them is a problem I’ve come back to over and over again, without success. I’ve looked at any number of php-type solutions, and ‘free’ online services and don’t like any of them. They suit some people, but they don’t suit me and the search had positioned me so deep in the forest I couldn’t see a single tree. The solution has however been staring me in the face all along. I have begun the task of creating a ‘photoblog’, with archives, to operate in parallel with the journal. I’ve blocked out most of the code and hope to have it online in a few days, certainly by the end of the month. To give it a start, I shall include all or most of the photographs I’ve shown in the journal this month. But that’s as far back as I’m going to go. Once it’s up and spinning I shall keep it going, copying the photographs and pictures that appear in the journal, along with others that would overload the journal itself. There will be links back and forth between the two. On days when I don’t have photographs or pictures to show, there will not be a photoblog entry, but it’ll have its own RSS feed and, possibly, notify list. And I’ll hook it in to the appropriate photoblog rings and such. It’ll have its own separate comment facility, too, one for each picture or each set of pictures in a single entry.

Last and not least, the question of selling prints online, of both photographs and watercolours. I’m deferring this until we’re settled in our new home, whenever that may be. I’ve worked out the best way of doing it, tidied up the file, and closed it. Starting such a project when we’re selling a house, no matter how slow the process, simply isn’t something I want to do.

All of which is a great load off my mind. I shall have more time from now on to sit in the garden and enjoy the flowers and the fresh air. Which is what I’m going to do right now…


Stickford, May 24,'05
Short back and sides



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