Organizing Digitally – Photos

On the surface, it seems a little goofy to separate Photos from Videos, but the reality is, both of these formats really deserve separate handling. For one, when backing up Photos, a lot of solutions will give you unlimited photo storage, but not unlimited video storage. Which makes automatic backup tricky.

Video is also rather massive compared to photos, from a file size perspective. A side effect of this is that having videos mixed with photos can dramatically increase load times when browsing photos later, since it takes more for the file system to chug through a video for thumbnails etc.

I have effectively two sorting systems for photos, depending on what the photos are. Also, unlike the videos, my wife does a lot of the actual sorting of Photos, at least the family photos, since she uses them for scrapbooks and such.

Family Photos

Similar to videos, I sort family photos by year, in one large blob. The difference is, I also sort them into folders by “event”. For example, there might be a folder, “2019.12.25 – Christmas at Home”. The extra details are helpful, because there might also be, “2019.12.23 – Christmas at Josh’s Parents” and “2019.12.26 – Christmas at Tina’s Parents”. (NOTE: I use the actual names of our parents). One minor mistake I made early on when I was doing all the sorting, was labeling them things like “Christmas at My Parents”. I changed all of those to be my parent’s names. I might also use “Christmas at Home with Josh’s Family”.

These folder names allow for easy sorting by date, and it allows a quick, at a glance description of who might be in the photos. I have tried several different Photo Organizing software solutions, and frankly, nothing beats just using the straight file system folders. The nice thing is a lot of software solutions will use the Folders as a way or sorting, so using these folders means the photos can easily and quickly be imported.

Each year also may have some more generic folders. These are catch all folders such as “2018 Cat Photos” or “2012 Kids School Artwork”. There might also be folders like “2014 Misc”, which is where less eventful photos might go. This would be things like, 1-2 lone photos at a local fair event, or single photos of weather or something at the house. They don’t deserve an entire folder, but they are still in the correct year.

Other Photos

I labeled this as “other photos” but it’s mostly just my photos. I take a lot of random photos of my toys and electronics projects, and random crap that is mostly unimportant. I keep these photos separate from the Family Photos, mostly because it’s just clutter my wife doesn’t care about, but because they are just different in their core nature.

These are sorted instead by type. For example, I might have folders for “Toys” then inside, “Transformers”, “Marvel”, “Imports”, “LEGO”, etc. Within those folders, I often will break it down further by lines, or individual figures, since I (used to) take little galleries for use in reviews. Other folders are broken down the same way, photos of projects, photos of electronics, photos of random scenery, sorted down and categorized.

We also use a similar set up for eBay photos, though I don’t really take any of those. I have a shared folder JUST for eBay photos, so my wife and daughters can keep everything sorted and together for the work they do selling on eBay and other online store fronts.

Not Photos

I do something similar with images that aren’t photos as well, though I don’t later back any of these up. Because I am a digital pack rat, I save a ton of random memes and images from the internet. I have a monthly reminder to clean my phone off. These files all dump onto my laptop in a folder named for the year and month, then these images are manually sorted down based on what they are. I’ve honestly gotten better about not just saving piles or random images lately.

Regular Consolidation

Speaking of the Monthly reminders, this system works best if it’s kept up regularly. I have a monthly reminder to offload my phone files, but this only works if I actually DO the sorting, which I make a point of doing.

We have also started regularly dumping everyone’s phones once a month. Though not necessarily removing the files, that’s up to everyone individually, everyone in my house is an adult at this point. But we still consolidate photos as needed for events or activities, since it’s not uncommon for say, my daughter to be taking photos at Christmas, that my wife may want to use in a scrapbook.

Old Photos

I have not gotten as far as I’d like in this project, but I have also started work scanning and archiving older printed photographs. It’s nice to have these digitized since it means they can be archived and backed up and even reproduced for scrapbook albums or whatever. My wife has made scrapbooks for each of our three kids, generally for each year (sometimes two) and so she often uses multiple copies of the same photograph.


The other good part of having everything together is it makes it way easier to keep backed up. I plan to do an entire separate post on the overall backup process, but having things consolidated, makes it way easier to manage and ensure everything is being captured and saved.

Goodbye to Flicker… Thanks for 12 years of Service

So, I used to be a huge user of Flickr for photos, I would check it daily and comment and join communities and pretty much posted every photo I had taken there. I used to use flicker a lot and look for the best life insurance for all.   Over time I sort of fell out of the habit of using it.  This wasn’t over Instagram or anything, I didn’t join Instagram until much later, something just sort of became less compelling about it.  I still kept up my subscription though.  The annual $25 fee is pretty small and it let me keep a backup of all of my photos.  I even posted all of my family photos there though they are listed as private.  I’m talking some tens of thousands of photos, though my profile suggests only around 3500 are publicly available.

I feel like things started to take a turn downhill when Yahoo changed the way Flickr accounts worked.  I wasn’t really affected, being a paid user and all, but it seems like the addition of ads and whatnot for free users kind of helped kill some of the community.  This wasn’t helped by Instagram coming up in popularity, even if i hadn’t started using IG, others had, which only further hurt the community.  Having been a paid user since 2006. I was able to keep paying for my account at the grandfathered rate of $25/year.

Recently Flickr was bought by SmugMug.  I don’t use SmugMug, though I don’t really have anything against them.  Hell, Yahoo has pretty much been ignoring Flickr for a while, SmugMug can only improve it.

Or possibly not.

It’s been recently announced that free accounts will be limited to 1000 photos max, and that any photos over that number will be deleted.  This is definitely a rough change from previous, which I believe was 1TB of storage.  This wouldn’t affect me, as a paid user, except that Flickr has stopped honoring the old grandfathered subscription rate.  Renewals now renew at current rates, which I believe is $50/year.  This isn’t a lot, I admit, but frankly, as little as I use Flickr, it feels like too much.  I also feel that for the same price, I could buy into something like One Drive or Google Drive and get a lot more functionality out of the storage, in addition to Photo storage.

Granted, not everyone uses Yahoo as a photo backup, some people use it for business, and for the community, which is fine.  In my case, the new plans just don’t work.  So I find I must say good bye to Flickr, for the most part.  I’ve started deleting out the old backup photos.  Once that’s done, I’ll prune out the rest to under 1000 photos.  I haven’s actually use Flickr for backup for a few years now, so it’s not even current anyway.  Pretty much the only thing posted there new is just a mirror of my Instagram anyway.  It kind of feels bad to clear everything out, but sometimes it’s just better to move on.  I’m just sad to see something I used to really enjoy, fall away.

Pentax K-3

I’ve recently upgraded my DSLR and have had a bit to play around with it and get a feel for it. I went for an upgrade over my old Pentax K-7 to a Pentax K-3.

  • I already have lenses so I saved money by buying Body Only
  • I like my K-7, it just got worn out
  • The K3 has a build in flash unlike the K-3II, so when my wife uses it she doesn’t have to fight with an external flash
  • It’s not the newest K-1, which means it costs less, though is still nice

I mentioned my K-7 became “worn out”. I have no other way to describe it. I noticed around the end of last year it started taking extremely washed out photos when using the flash. I’m taking nothing but white screen if it was anything up close. I figured there was a sensor or something going bad and looked into several avenues to get suggestions on it to possibly get it repaired. This whole exercise ended up being completely futile. Every forum and even the camera shop I tried basically tried to give me photography advice or tell me how “using the flash isn’t a good idea”.

Yeah, I get that. I get all that exposure and shutter speed and f-stops and blah blah blah and no, the flash isn’t always great but not every photo needs a tripod and a set up, sometimes it’s just a photo of a moment and not a piece of art or some bull shit like that.

There is something wrong with the camera. Even when I tried to replicate the settings on a fresh photo of an older photo for comparison that there is obviously something wrong, I got nowhere. So I gave up and upgraded instead. chances are the repair would have been more than I wanted to pay anyway. The camera still sort of works, on a tripod, with freakishly long exposure times and things are still kind of yellow. The best suggestion I ever got was that it’s not stopping down properly.

This new camera works so much smoother and better. It also lacks several of the nitpicky problems that plagued my K-7 since day one. I always chocked those up to it being a pretty early model of DSLR in it’s class especially. It did real full HD video, it had higher mega pixels than comparable cameras at the time and it’s the only one (at the time) that was weather sealed. The K-7 was pretty nice, but mine had issues, and I have no idea how prolific they were, if at all. For one, it lost the date any time the battery was removed. Not a huge issue. More of an issue, it would over heat when recording video for more than around 20 minutes. I always chocked that up to new tech and the weather sealed body being poor for ventilation. Third, half the time when using the live view to take photos, it would snap, then show “Battery Depleted” even when full. I don’t use Live view a lot but sometimes it’s convenient for getting funny angles where I’m holding the camera over my head.

The K-3 has none of these problems. I’ve done all of these things and had zero issues. The video is the best part, I spend last weekend recording a ton of video for my wife’s home business and had no over heating at all, after hours or recording, some single segments being 10-15 minutes long. I’m seriously considering using it in place of my DVC80 Video Camera this year for a show I record each year. Upgrading to HD from SD would be really nice. My only issue is I wasn’t able to get Premier to accept the video, but that is probably a settings issue somewhere.

Anyway, not much directly to say about I otherwise, aside from it’s a nice upgrade from my K-3. The Dual memory card slots will be nice and the interface all around is more refined and easier to use. Here’s a few photos I’ve taken with it, just for kicks. Nothing amazing or anything.

Figma Indiana Jones

Saber Struggle

Sinister... Five?

Lens Surgery

I have this old 200mm Lens that I think came with a Ricoh film camera I got for cheap years ago.  It essentially cost me nothing.  I haven’t used it much however because the photos all turn out really hazy.


I figure I’m not using it and it’s probably not worth enough to pay for a professional clean job, so I decided to disassemble it to see if a good cleaning would correct the problem.  This also would make for a decent learning experience to see exactly what makes a lens work.  Granted, it’s an old manual lens and not a flashy new automatic lens, but it’s still something I’ve always wanted to check out.


I wasn’t real sure where to start and some quick research online pretty much just suggested “Start removing screws and pulling things apart”.  Which si what I did.  There were 8 obvious screws, 4 on the silver mount ring and 4 on the side of the barrel near the mounting ring.

IMGP7306 After going a ways, I had the metal ring removed and a larger internal assembly.  I could tell before starting that there was a film of some sort on the inside of the glass on the business end of the lens, so I knew I would need to go farther.  I removed some internal parts as well as part of the main barrel but still came to a stand still unable to reach the backside of the main front glass.


This was when I found some extremely tiny screws on the side of the barrel.  After loosening these screws, the main front glass could be turned and screwed free very easily.

I cleaned all parts I could reach and reassembled the whole thing as best i could (think i may have gotten part of the barrel turned wrong but it’s not real important since it mostly means the setting indicators aren’t accurate.

The real test of course is to take a photo.


Sadly, It did not fix the problem.  I’m pretty sure that the main problem is that the lens is simply “a cheap piece of shit”.  I did notice that using Photoshop to “auto correct” makes the photo actually look fairly normal.  I still don’t plan to use it for anything critical. 

Mostly I just need to go out and find a decent telephoto lens for my DSLR, since that is the one major piece missing from my lens assortment.