06/02/07 578 W - + 12 - 13 Thirteen Seconds

Okay, 12.666667 seconds to be exact. That's the number of pictures taken at yesterday's fire (360) divided by the number of seconds spent processing and posting them (4560 or 76 minutes). Thus, every snap of the shutter meant 13 more seconds of time to be spent on the back end. Why the early morning math? To get a feel for exactly how long it takes to shoot a scene, from soup to nuts. In this example, the timed span started with the camera's memory card inserted into the reader, and ended when the photos were finished uploading to the web site. It does not include per-picture editing. It was late, and Mike might do that later. Nor does it include estimates for archiving the files (doesn't take long) or copying the pictures (burning a CD takes ten or so minutes).

The specific tasks consisted of:

Reviewing pictures as stored on memory card and deleting unwanted ones using IrfanView. This is done BEFORE transferring the pictures from the memory card, as the image viewing software works faster with the images still stored on the memory card. Of the 360 pictures taken on scene, 183 were keepers. (16 minutes)

Transferring pictures from memory card to local file folder. This requires moving files from multiple folders, due to the highly annoying way that the Canon Digital Rebel XT stores images on the memory card. Instead of one big, fat folder, it uses multiple folders storing 100 images each. (6 minutes)

Renaming file names using Flash Renamer. This software has a handy Undo button for those occasional oops that result from hasty typing or clicking. (30 seconds)

Creating smaller-sized versions of pictures using Photoshop Elements. This task takes 30 seconds to start, and then just churns in the background. It slows the computer some, however. In addition to reducing to 700 pixels wide, the images are also auto-contrasted and sharpened. Neither auto-leveling or auto-coloring was done for this particular fire. (11 minutes)

Reviewing smaller-sized versions of pictures and rotating portrait-oriented images as necessary, again using IrfanView. The rotation is actually re-saving the file, but without rewriting the JPEG information. This is called loss-less rotation and does not result in any degradation of image quality. 'Cause, every time you save the same JPEG again, the quality of the image drops. (5 minutes, but done while the prior task was running)

Creating the picture gallery for the web site. This task involves a variety of subtasks, starting with a template that is modified using a text editor. The header and the footer are modified with the date, responders, address, and description of the incident. The entire set of smaller-sized images are then copied into the picture gallery. They are reviewed and deleted as necessary. Of the 183 images retained from the incident, 94 were added to the picture gallery. Then the picture gallery is built using JAlbum. (14 minutes)

Uploading the picture gallery to the web site. This is a straight file transfer using FTP. It also slows the computer just a bit. (18 minutes)

Yeah, yeah, the itemized times do not add up to 76 minutes. There are smaller, quicker tasks that also belong on that list, such as building and uploading the index page of the photo site. That takes a couple minutes. Also, no picture editing was performed. Maybe later, with some cropping on shots such as this one. Day incidents are less problematic than night ones, and compel fewer edits. Ditto for times that Mike is less focused, and less precise with his picture-taking.

Time, and more time.

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