I’m in the greater Twin Cities area this for a few days this week to check out my new campus and try to find a place to live come fall. The weather up here (and across the Dakotas, MN, and WI, really) is awful this week, but I brought a rain coat and waterproof shoes.
Tomorrow morning, I have a meeting set up with my faculty advisor at Hamline. It will be nice to meet some people who I’ll be working with and take in the campus before fall.
I think this whole business of moving and starting this new program is going to work out. I haven’t had occasion to write about every single minor epiphany that’s hit me in the last few weeks, but I have a strong feeling that I’ll enjoy living here well enough, and that I’m going to be successful in school. It feels like the right time to be here, and I feel like I’m in the right state of mind for it as well.
I pulled the shots off my camera from a little walk around the east side of Milwaukee that I took a couple Saturdays ago. The sun was bright and began setting while I was outside the Art Museum. Some of these turned out pretty well…
I parked near Wells & Milwaukee, then walked toward the lake, with stops in Cathedral Square and at the War Memorial. Here in the upper Midwest, I feel like spring can be a funny time to shoot photos outdoors — the trees are still bare, the streets can be wet, sloppy, and/or still peppered with snowbanks… it’s just not very pretty. A beautiful sun-soaked day makes quite a difference.
Since I primarily use a Linux operating system on my computer(s), finding alternatives to popular Windows or Mac software can occasionally be difficult. For cataloging, organizing, and editing photos, the common Windows players are Adobe products — Lightroom and Photoshop. In Ubuntu, I used Shotwell for a quite a while, then about 2+ years ago, switched over to DigiKam.
When I recently built a new desktop machine and started running Fedora as my OS, the version of DigiKam in the repos was 3.5 (I had been running version 4). The switch prompted me to look at Shotwell (the default photo manager for Gnome 3) again. Like I said, it’s been a couple years, so even though the Fedora 20 repos aren’t up to the latest version of Shotwell, version 0.15.1 constitutes an upgrade from what I was last using.
I started with a (mostly) clean /home directory when I installed Fedora, so I needed to rebuild my Shotwell database completely. I was impressed that this version correctly pulled in all the meta tags and organized my photos into “Events” by date, making them a bit easier to sift through and work with. In the past, the software had trouble with certain cameras or images (particularly those that I had scanned). I haven’t looked through all 23 thousand pictures, but a glance through the last couple years appears to have sorted everything correctly. I also don’t have a folder labeled “Dec 31 1970,” which appeared to the be default applied to those images that made Shotwell throw its hands up in the past.
I haven’t tested all the plugins for web services yet, but it at least offers options for all the popular ones. I want to test out the Flickr plugin for sure, since all accounts come with a terabyte of storage — that means Flickr could be my web-based backup for all my pictures…
It’s probably at least partially a byproduct of the hardware upgrades that I’ve done with this machine (16 gigs of RAM, all SATA-3 SSD drives), but I found that the “helper” apps for editing images loaded up much more quickly than I remember. That gives Shotwell the benefit of being the place you “live” with your photos, while the other programs (like GIMP, RawTherapee, DarkTable) almost function as extensions.
Looks like I’m sold on Shotwell again for the time being.