January/February 2005 HelpLine

Image Organizing

    * Bringing Order To Your Images
    * Red-Eye Myth
    * Choose The Right Disc
    * CF Card Differences
    * Resolving Resolution

Bringing Order To Your Images

Q)  I’m in transition between film and digital. I’d like to be able to drag around the photos to create a preferred sequence of images on the hard drive so it’s easy to locate images in a directory at a later date. For example, we spent three weeks in Bisbee in March; while there, we did many day trips. Those day trips usually ended up in their own dated directory and the need to resequence is minimal. However, the three weeks in Bisbee needs sorting to make a better presentation, not only for slideshow generation, but for archiving.

Dave Moffat
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

A)  Keeping track of thousands of images from various trips can be a daunting task. While digital cameras do some work identifying files with date and time created, the file naming is cryptic at best. You’re on the right track with managing your images immediately upon return from your trips. Otherwise, you’ll end up with folder upon folder of files named img00001.jpg.

I recommend you batch-rename all your files within a given folder. Name them something that makes sense as to the location and date, for example. Programs like iView Media (www.iview-multimedia.com) and ACDSee (www.acdsystems.com) make it easy to do this. Drag and drop images into the order you like, select all the images, then batch-rename them. This way, no matter where they’re seen, the order will remain constant.


In ACDSee, for example, go to the File viewer and select the folder you want to work with. In the thumbnails view, drag the images in the order you want them to be in; then select them all and use the Batch Rename function (under the Edit menu). The files will be renamed using the thumbnail display order.

Red-Eye Myth

Q)  I recently took some pictures at a gathering where I ended up getting red-eye in the images. A friend took shots from the same place I was standing and his images didn’t have the problem. Why? P.S. I’m getting good at removing red-eye with Photoshop.

K. Wickner
LaGrange, Illinois

A)  Let’s clear up a common misconception about red-eye. It’s caused by the reflection of light (typically from a flash) off the retina of a subject’s eye in dark conditions. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not red because of the blood vessels in the eye. Anyone who has taken a picture of a cat at night might have noticed that they didn’t get red-eye; they might have gotten yellow-eye. As far as I know, cats don’t have yellow blood. While it’s true the blood vessels in the eye are red, it’s a red pigment layer just underneath the transparent nerve cells that causes the reflected light to be red. Cats and birds have a yellow pigment layer.

Back to your original question. Red-eye can be minimized in a few ways. You can use the red-eye reduction feature on your camera, which causes the camera to turn on a light or fire a series of “preflashes” before the picture is taken. The light or preflashes will cause your subject’s iris to close down so that less light enters the eye and is reflected back from the camera. This can be distracting to a subject, however.



The other option is to position the flash unit farther away from the axis of the lens so that the reflection of the flash off of the retina, while still present, is directed away from the lens and isn’t captured in the final image. Having a flash that sits higher above the camera or using an accessory flash will help.

Maybe your friend’s camera has a flash that’s farther away from the lens axis or he was using a red-eye reduction feature.

Choosing The Right Disc

Q)  I’m a photographer from the old school. Practically everything I know about digital photography, which isn’t much, I learned from the pages of this magazine while preparing myself for the transition to digital technology. I’m confused with CDs and DVDs, CD-Rs and CD+Rs, CD-RWs and CD+RWs, DVD-Rs and DVD+Rs, DVD-Rs and DVD-RWs. Please explain this to me and tell me which are the most practical.

José J. Rodriguez
La Verne, California

A)  Let’s begin at the end of each term and work backward. R stands for recordable, meaning the disc starts out blank and you’re able to write or burn data to it. Once the data is written, it can’t be erased. Think “writing with a pen.” RW stands for rewriteable. Think “writing with a pencil.” After you’ve written your data, you can tell your RW drive to erase a file and replace it with another.

One comment to those of you archiving your images to discs: Just like you wouldn’t want to write an important legal document in pencil (a last will and testament, for example), you wouldn’t want to archive your images to a RW disc. While the pen and pencil analogy is an oversimplification of the technologies, the advice is still applicable.



As far as + and -, that applies only to DVDs (digital versatile discs). When DVDs first came out, the only recordable format was DVD-R. It was created by a consortium of manufacturers who owned the rights to manufacture blank discs and the drives that record on the blank discs.

As manufacturers raced to create a re-recordable format, manufacturers who weren’t part of the consortium were heading down a different path toward a competing standard. Thus, standards emerged: the original – (or minus) version and a new one, + (or plus). So now there are DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW.

If you’re creating video DVDs for playback in a DVD player hooked to a television, use DVD-R. They will play back (if properly recorded) in just about any player. In the years that I’ve been creating DVDs, I’ve run into several problems with people not being able to play back DVD+R media. To be on the safe side, however, I have a drive that can play back or record DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD+RW.

Obviously, the RW on CDs stands for rewriteable just as with DVDs. The same warning about archiving is valid.

CF Card Differences

Q)  How can I tell the difference between a Type I and Type II CompactFlash card? Also, what’s the difference between a Microdrive and a CompactFlash card? Both appear to be identical except for the label.

George Weirich
Tumwater, Washington

A)  The only difference between a CompactFlash Type I card and a Type II card is the thickness. A CF Type I is 3.5mm thick and Type II is 5mm thick. Devices are typically specified as being capable of accepting either just a CF Type I, or Type I and II, which makes sense since a thinner card will f
it into a large opening, but a larger card won’t fit into a smaller opening. A Microdrive is a miniature hard drive, whereas a CompactFlash is solid-state memory and has no moving parts.



Resolving Resolution

Q)  I’m working to better understand how megapixels and DPI relate. After looking at the numbers (dimensions and dpi), they don’t seem to add up. In the July/August 2004 issue of PCPhoto, you mention the example of a 2500×2100-pixel file (5,250,000 pixels), which becomes a 34×29-inch image at 72 dpi (34 x 29 x 72 = 70,992 pixels), an 8×7-inch image at 300 dpi (8 x 7 x 300 = 16,800 pixels) and a 14×12-inch image at 180 dpi (14 x 12 x 180 = 30,240 pixels). Am I missing something?

Jeffrey Lim
Via e-mail

A)  The concept can be confusing, and I appreciate the effort to understand where the numbers come from. The 72 dpi isn’t square dpi; it’s dpi in one dimension. You have to multiply each dimension by the dpi (in this case, dpi is also the same as ppi). To make your math work, you need to add a second dpi factor: (34 x 72) x (29 x 72) = 5,111,424. If you allow for some rounding of numbers, you’ll find all the sizes add up correctly.

If you have any questions, please send them to HelpLine, PCPhoto Magazine, 12121 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90025 or [email protected].


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