Taking the pictures

Ray has a Nikon D90 with an 18-200 lens so he doesn't have to constantly change it. I got a Panasonic DMC-LX3 because I got tired of Canon pocket camera lenses jamming. In Antarctica it got a little wet in my waterproof pants which weren't, but it was under warranty and they fixed it.

Putting the pictures on the computer

Lemkesoft's GraphicConverter is the program. Now we have it set up to tack capture dates onto the filename so that when we take so many pictures the filenames wrap around they can stay distinct.

Deciding which pictures to include

iView MediaPro was a nice program for organizing photos and slide shows. It later became Microsoft Expression Media 2, and left to die; then it got scooped up by Phase One. So far, they don't seem to have done much besides charge again for it. Microsoft Expression Media 2 is great for identifying which pictures I intend to use . It deals with movies and sounds and rotating and its documents points to a list of files in an order -- it doesn't take ownership of them like iPhoto. It was used to cull the 900 or so that were used from the 10000 that were taken, and to see the day's pictures as a slide show on the road.

Maybe I should get Aperture or Lightroom, which both have that great feature for picking one of a handful of similar photos, but it's a learning curve.

Tweaking the pictures themselves

Ray used Adobe Photoshop to edit the pictures for cropping, brightness, color, etc.

Building the website

A rather large Javascript library intended to facilitate making photo galleries for the iPhone has appeared in the last year or two, called Jaipho. It makes it so that you can create a website which acts pretty much like the Photos app, in that you can swipe from one picture to the next. Though it also supports the iPad, it's not really intended for galleries on laptops or desktops, and it doesn't support movies. And it doesn't itself have any hierarchical structure.

I've been using a discontinued product called ImageRodeo (Mac OS X PowerPC only) for a long time to organize websites of photos. I like it because its templates are very customizable (it has its own language, mine are very custom, let me know if you want a copy of them), because it's arbitrarily hierarchical, and because you can put html ie links in captions. In the future I hope to recompile it for Intel, and fix it up so that character encodings can just be UTF-8 and always work everywhere.

I wanted to modernize the experience of our photo websites, making them look like Photos on all devices, and take advantage of touch on touchscreens and arrow keys on computers. So I took Jaipho and rather substantially modified it to support computers as well as iPhone/iPad, and to support movies. And I wrote a completely new template for ImageRodeo that would create a Jaipho gallery for each "place", linking them all together to create a coherent site for the entire trip. Captions are very important to me, and I've made them kind of large, like the size of subtitles for a movie. Huge pages of thumbnails are not important to me, and I haven't made them available at all. I also don't like slideshows which automatically advance -- the time spent per picture should differ vastly per picture and per viewer. So you can advance each picture yourself easily, with a swipe or a tap or a click or by typing the right arrow key. Even though we have a text weblog for this trip, it's kind of wordy; I like making this site a "picture blog" as well which is as much a story as it is a collection of hopefully reasonably good photos.

All of this would not be possible without BBEdit, which allowed juggling many Javascript source files and ImageRodeo templates with great ease. And, of course, the Internet, which has an endless supply of answers to questions about how to do things in HTML and Javascript, and some random graphics used here and there.

Part of the task of using ImageRodeo is writing the captions. On this trip a field guide to Argentina's birds was especially valuable in identifying almost every species of bird we saw. The most valuable piece of data was how common each bird was -- if it was a V or a VI, it's probably the one we saw, but if it was a I or II, probably not. Microsoft Word also found a slew of typos, which we fixed.

Building the movies

QuickTime 7.0 Pro, Handbrake, and Miro Video Converter were the tools I used to make H.264 and webm versions of each of the movies. Hopefully your browser will support one or the other.

Transferring the pictures to the web

Panic's Transmit is a nice FTP program for Mac OS X.

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