Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Damn computers!

Or maybe I should say damn cameras?!

Don't get me wrong - I love taking pictures and playing with my camera, and I love sharing my photos and writing. I have no regrets.

And yet... it feels like I've been glued to my computer for days now. I guess I have - I test (or break!) software for a living, so I'm talking to computers for the bulk of my work day. And I've been spending my "at home" time working on my photo galleries and journal from my Death Valley trip ever since I returned home. Two weeks! And today I fell into a new adventure - creating a book from my photos.

blurb and SmugMug just announced a partnership, the ability to slurp images from SmugMug galleries into blurb's book publication tool. As part of the relationship coupons for a free blurb book were distributed to folks who requested them, and I was one of the lucky recipients.

Of course there was a catch to that free book coupon... it had to be used by November 20th. I finished my Death Valley galleries yesterday, which left today to create a book.

Let's see, which photos should I use? I started with my Death Valley trip photos, thinking that I would combine my journal with the photos. The complexity of sorting out five galleries worth of photos plus getting the right look to the text sections sent me off in another direction after a few hours. After all, I do have plenty of galleries to use as my model book. I think I'll create my Death Valley book when I'm in less of a time crunch.

Creating that second book will depend on the quality of my first experiment. If the quality makes me happy, I'll go do battle with blurb's BookSmart tool again. And I will report the problems I had today. It seems that a lot of folks are using Photoshop to create their pages for blurb because blurb's tool is so difficult to work with. That's not something I intend to do...

There are several items that I believe need to be fixed to make BookSmart a reasonable publication tool: 1) the image name and date taken need to be preserved from the EXIF of the photo. It can't be some variation of SmugMug's internal name; it needs to be the real image name. Add to that the fact that the date taken shown in BookSmart is no where near the actual date of the photo, and you have a situation where it is almost impossible to quickly identify the photo you want. Yes there are thumbs - but small thumbs don't make things easy! And 2) the tool sometimes pays attention to the font and font size selected, but sometimes feels like almost never. It's painful to format a page. 3) I should be able to easily resize the boxes that photos sit in. And... well, there's more too. I guess I'll need to decide whether to try blurb again after I see my first book. I may want to explore some other publishers.
My book? It's called Images of Acadia, and it presents a camera's eye view of the park from my visit in September.

You do know it's a labor of love, don't you?

Interested in your own copy? Click here.