Looking Back on 2014 – Part1

I don’t usually go in for reviews of the year, but I got a message a few days ago asking if I wouldn’t mind sending a selection of my favourites from the pictures I’d taken in 2014 for use on a web site slide show, and I agreed to do so.

So last night I sat down and went through my work. Until some time this year I did actually keep every picture I took – except for those obvious errors, like the many I take by accident when one camera bumps on top of the shutter release of a second, or those when I grab a camera and hit the shutter release by mistake, or those that were clearly out of focus or ten stops over or under exposed…. But this was getting to be far too much as the times got busier, I got more trigger-happy and file sizes increased to the ridiculous when I used the D800E full frame. 32Mp is great for those pictures you really need to print large, but for sending to agencies is overkill. So usually I use the D800E as a DX camera, which gives much more sensible 16Mb files. But for some purposes I need the full 32Mb and then go on to produce a 16 bit tiff file. Each pixel then needs 6 bytes, ending with 192Mb, although lossless compression can reduce this somewhat.

But dealing with large numbers of large files was slowing me down too much, as well as eating up hard disk after hard disk, and finally in October I turned over to a policy of only loading the files from any set I would be happy to publish onto the computer, and where possible weeding out duplicates and near duplicate too. I still end up with more files than I want or need, but the numbers are certainly down, with perhaps typically only a quarter of what I take making it to hard disk.

I had several arguments against this kind of editing. First that I’d never done it with film, and often when I go back to old work find that I had failed to use some of the pictures I find more interesting in retrospect. Finally I decided that this was more an argument against too tight editing rather than against editing at all.

Perhaps more important was that editing was time-consuming. But as the number of exposures increased, so was importing them all. I turned over to using FastPictureViewer Pro, a piece of software that lives up to its name. I’d tried viewing and selecting pictures from the cards in my USB3 card reader in Lightroom’s import dialogue and found that although this worked for small groups of pictures, with larger groups it soon slowed to a standstill.

FastPictureViewer takes a few seconds to load, but then lets you go through them with never a hold up, pressing the ‘K’ key for those you wish to keep. It copies them to a folder I have set up on one hard disk as an ‘Input’ folder with no hold-up to the viewing process. When I’ve been through the card or cards and selected the files, Lightroom will quickly rename and copy them according to my preset to the correct folder (and make a backup on another hard disk), much faster than working from the card. Overall there is a time saving, and the only drawback is that I have to sit there selecting the files at that point, when I often want to eat dinner before working on them. But it’s a fast process and I can wait.

So far the savings in disk space and file numbers haven’t been quite as large as I had hoped, I still tend to press the ‘k’ key rather too frequently, but I’m working on it. Over the year as a whole I covered around 360 stories, with an average of around 250 images kept for each of them, making a total of around 90,000 image files on disk (next year I  hope the average will be rather smaller.) Far too many to look through individually in any sensible amount of time – even with FastPictureViewer, which says “4,000 images per hour is is realistic, with zero upfront time.” Incidentally I don’t get free copies of software, but $50 seemed reasonable for a licence to install and use on up to 3 computers, and it can do a few more things other than simply view images, without being in any way bloated.  When I get time I may well investigate it for keywording.

So I went to the lead images of the 360 stories on My London Diary, and selected my favourites mainly from these. In some cases when I saw these I remembered I’d taken other images that I might prefer and I went and looked through the story on My London Diary. I had two rules, firstly not to select more than one image from any story, and secondly to select only landscape format images, as this was for a slide show, and vertical images don’t really fit. This was a shame as some of my favourites would undoubtedly otherwise be portrait format. And the third, slightly vaguer rule, that I would only choose images from protests.

I ended up with 69 images, which seemed to be rather too many to send, though perhaps I’ll post all or most in a series of posts here. I sent off a dozen for the slide show, and received a request for another one, not on my list. Here are the first nine:

Focus E5 Mothers Party Against Eviction – East Thames Housing Assn, Stratford, London. Fri 17 Jan 2014

‘3 Cosas’ Strike Picket and Battle Bus– Senate House to Parliament Square, London. Tue 28 Jan 2014

Hungry for Justice For Fast Food Workers – Oxford St, London. Sat 15 Feb 2014

Atos National Day of Action, London. Wed 19 Feb 2014

Focus E15 Mums at City Hall – City Hall, London. Fri 21 Feb 2014

Against Worldwide Government Corruption – Trafalgar Square & Ecuadorian embassy. Sat 1 Mar 2014

Stop Hospital Killer Clause 119 – Parliament, Westminster, London. Tue 11 Mar 2014

Syrians March for International Action – Hyde Park and Downing St, London. Sat 15 Mar 2014

Fukushima Nuclear Melt-down Remembered – Hyde Park and Downing St, London. Sat 15 Mar 2014


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

To order prints or reproduce images


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