Archive for June, 2008

Nifty New Feature: Random Image on Homepage

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Well, what can I say? It’s hot over here in Munich as the Euro 2008 heads towards the final match this Sunday, with Germany being the surprise finalist this year. So we at should have a cool beer and celebrate (or do a couple of news shots at one of the many parties tonight).

But we also wanted to give you a cool web experience when visiting our site. :-) And so we worked on the homepage a little. It now serves a random image from a set of currently 20 photos, complete with matching background color, location name and exact coordinates. And even more: in the top right corner you’ll see the link “Show me another photo”, which does exactly that (except, well, for the unlikely case of selecting the same image again. *cough*). The widget is written in Javascript, so if you have disabled Javascript, you won’t see any of this.

Also, please note that we are now displaying ads for the friendly folks at B&H, our preferred source for professional imaging products. B&H is the world’s leading retailer of imaging products, serving professionals and consumers through their New York City retail store and through direct delivery internationally. We are confident that they will serve you as well as they do serve us.

If you want to have a look at the new stuff, here’s the link to our homepage. now serves a random image on the homepage offers to show another, randomly selected image now

How to batch resize in Lightroom

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

A commonly asked question by the readers of this blog is – how do I batch resize in Lightroom?

As I have been with Lightroom since version 1.0, here are my tips for you, along with a bit of background information you might find useful.

1. Lightroom was not really made to “batch resize”

The typical workflow with Lightroom is to import the image files from disk or device, to make changes to them using Lightroom’s “Develop” mode, and then to export the finished photos into the desired format. It’s very simple: Import – modify – export. To understand this will help you to make best use of Lightroom, especially when working with RAW files.

During import, Lightroom copies the original files to the disk, but leaves them untouched during post processing. When you make changes to an image, the program remembers these changes in a separate file, so that you can always start over again with the original file should things really go wrong. When you are done with your post processing, Lightroom takes the original files and applies all the modifications you did to a copy of the file, and then saves this copy to a location specified by you. One of the export options is to specify a certain image size, so the image will be saved as a scaled down version. This resizing is really just the last step in a series of steps.

You see: the logic behind Lightroom makes it not the perfect batch resizing tool. But having said that, I also have to admit:

2. Lightroom still can do the job of “batch resizing”

2.1 How to use Lightroom to create a set of images that is smaller in size

And it’s rather easy now that you know how Lightroom works. If all you want to do is to scale down a bunch of JPEGs, then:

  • Import them from device or disk
    File > Import Photos from Disk…
  • In Library Mode, mark all of the imported photos
    Edit > Select All
  • Export them to the desired size
    File > Export…

In the Export dialogue, you can specify the Export Location, the output format and output quality (in case of JPEGs), the color space and the resizing options. And you are done.

2.2 How to use Lightroom to create a set of images that has a specific aspect ratio

If you have a certain set of images that you want to constraint to a certain size, this can be done with Lightroom by synchronizing the Crop Overlay:

  • Import the photos from device or disk
    File > Import Photos from Disk…
  • Select the first photo of the set, and go to Library Mode
  • Activate the Crop Overlay
  • Select the desired aspect ratio from the drop down menu, e.g. 4×6
  • Move the crop overlay to the desired location (optional)
  • In the film strip below the main window, mark all the other images where this aspect ratio shall be used (Lightroom will safely work with mixed image orientations, i.e. upright and panorama shots can be selected at the same time)
  • Click the “Sync…” button at the right bottom
  • In the “Synchronize Settings” window, activate “Aspect Ratio”, plus all the other settings you may want to copy from the first photo to all selected photos
  • Click the “Synchronize”button
  • For each image, check whether the Crop Overlay is indeed at the correct position, ensuring that no important parts of the image are chopped off (optional)
  • Export the selected images to the desired size
    File > Export…

And you are done.

Where the Hell is Matt, 2008 edition

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Matt Harding sent a mail that the 2008 edition of his popular dancing clip is available now. Courtesy of the folks from Stride he could continue to travel the world in 2007 and 2008 and do his funny dance. This year he did so with a twist (no pun intended): He was joined by his fans who performed their own version of his dance together with Matt. And this concept worked extremely well:


Kudos to Matt for this brilliant clip. It’s a joy to watch, and to hear (I really like the music). Matt goes to show that people all around the world can truly be united by simply dancing (well, except that soldier in the Demilitarized Zone of Korea). This video is perfect, both in its intentions, and its execution. Well done, and thanks for sharing!


As to the locations, Matt again visited some of the most remote spots on Earth. There are countless cool places, many of which I still need to see some time in my life, but I am glad that I could identify at least 13 locations I have been to before – in order of appearance: Teotihuacan, Madrid, Dublin, London, Stockholm, Munich (yes!), Lisbon, Cape of Good Hope, Mexico City, San Francisco, Vancouver, Paris, and Los Angeles. :-)

By the way, when Matt came to Munich, I took a couple of shots of Melissa and him, and the dancers, and I had the chance to have a short chat with him. He is a nice guy, really. I wish him all the luck for the next project, whatever it may be.

Flickr’s founders to leave Yahoo!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington reports that the founders of popular photo sharing service Flickr, Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield, are set to leave the company.

The husband/wife combo leaves at a time that sees Flickr’s mothership Yahoo! in a heavy sea of massive problems. First, Yahoo!’s CEO Jerry Yang did really everything to prevent a takeover by Microsoft (dumb!), basically destroying billions of shareholder value, then he did a desparate advertising deal with archrival Google (dumb!), handing them over the keys to the kingdom (search business). And now employees of all ranks are leaving Yahoo! in a mass exodus, which comes as no surprise. Those who leave probably do not see any future for (and at) the Internet dinosaur. And they realize that if they wanted to work for Google, they could and should directly apply for a job in Mountainview.

Stewart Butterfield, photographed by Heather Powazek Champ
Stewart Butterfield (April 2007)
Photo by Heather Powazek Champ/flickr

Anyway, I have no problem with Fake and Butterfield leaving, given the poor performance of the duo during last years German Flickr crisis where the Flickr community had a chance to see their real, undisguised opinions for a short period. While Butterfield certainly did not agree with the actions demanded by the Yahoo! HQ, he still submitted to these requests. At that time, it became pretty obvious that the Flickr founders were mostly concerned about securing their share of the $35M paid by Yahoo! in March 2005 (and frankly, who wouldn’t?). All they probably needed to do was to survive the lockup period of their contracts. After that, they were free to leave. Well, thanks for all your efforts, good luck, and farewell! Enjoy your millions.

At least, we won’t have to read any new silly statements defending Yahoo!’s weird actions. Which is good.