Metadata Malaise

We all chuckle at the way stories change along the way in the rumor mill. We also sigh at the free-wheeling way that photo-editing apps play with metadata.

What surprised me, however, was seeing some text that I didn’t recognize in my Facebook post of a new café-art piece.

I like to “photoodle” and play with photos taking them through several tools to come up with “café art”. The text “CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using I…” was strange and I wondered where it had come from.

As I still had my intermediary image files I took a quick look at them in File Explorer, on the Details tab. Nothing there at all.

So on to an explore digging in the metadata

The image I started with was from a photo I had taken with my iPhone. There was no such text in the metadata. My first processing was using ON1 Photo RAW. That did not introduce anything suspicious.

Then I did a manipulation in Deep Dream Generator, you can see the image there. As I like to make more changes I downloaded the image. Sure enough, there in the metadata is this:

Comment : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.

Deep Dream downloads are modest in size, just 893 by 671 pixels. To make it easy to manipulate I like to up-size the image. For that I use Topaz Gigapixel AI which inserts fictitious, but appropriate, pixels to make the result smooth. The result had this in the metadata along with a lot of other stuff:

Comment : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.

As you can see, Gigapixel added “Caption-Abstract” with the same information.

Next I loaded the image into PaintShop Pro along with the original photo in another layer and made changes there. Then, combining my creations into my final “café art:, I downloaded the new image. PaintShop Pro writes a ton of stuff into the metadata. It included these lines:

Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.

Notice that it had dropped the original “Comment” but retained the “Caption-Abstract” that Gigapixel had added, and added a “Description” line.

My next changes were made in Paint. That app made a cute. minor change to the lines of interest:

Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90..

Paint added a period to the “Description” line, but retained the other line as it was.

Lastly I made some adjustments in Photo Gallery and downsized the image for online use. This app made major changes to the metadata, and the following lines were included:

Image Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90
Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
XP Title : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90
Title : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90
Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90

The “Caption-Abstract” line was not changed. The “Description” line had the period at the end dropped. Three new lines were added, “Image Description”, XP Title”, and “Title”. These lines did not have the periods.

So now we had come full circle. what was a “Comment” in the Deep Dream file had become a “Description” and finally a “Title” line. Just like the rumor mill!

When uploaded to WordPress the information appeared as a caption line. That finally was picked up by Facebook in the post.

Here is how it looks in my Silver Gallery site:

Moral?

The metadata in image files is a playground where all participants, that is photo-edit apps, think they can do whatever they like – and they do. There are no standards, no respect, no courtesies. Just garbage.

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Digital Photos, image editor, Photo Editing, WordPress | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Digging in the Dark

Another mistake in setting camera exposure

There I was taking pictures of the sunset. It was not that gorgeous a view, but I didn’t want to miss it as I had been there on our iconic town bridge.

My camera was operating in P-mode. The exposures were fine for the barely clouded sky. So I wanted to boost the exposure to get a bit more detail in the buildings and landscape.

I pressed the exposure compensation button and spun the wheel. Of course in the wrong direction.

I pressed the shutter anyway then over-corrected in the other direction. Here are the thumbnails.

Yes, that frame looks pretty black. Here is what the EXIF data said (in part).

Exposure Compensation: -11/3. Minus eleven thirds; that’s just a click less than four stops underexposure. Even the sky is black.

Never shy about experimenting, I decided to see what I could dig out of that image. I applied correction to the whole frame – mostly because I could not see the horizon for applying a mask. I boosted the overall exposure – the brightness slider in my photo editor. Then most of my efforts were in boosting the dark tones and the mid tones.

Even at ISO 100 I expected a lot of noise there when amplified up to the higher brightness so you could see detail. And indeed there was. I used Topaz DeNoise AI to subdue that unwanted pointillism effect. It does a fine job. In fact it does an outstanding job!

You can see in the illustration here that I used the “Low Light” setting. I accepted the defaults.

The results were surprisingly good. For an image that was dug out of total darkness, this is rather acceptable, don’t you think?

Sunset in Peachtree Corners, GA

So the moral to this story is this: Don’t throw away badly underexposed photos. There is a good chance that a useful image can be extracted.

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Digital Photos, Photo Editing, Photography, Topaz DeNoise | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Kudos to WordPress Reader

… and a tip o’ the hat to its developers

Rarely do I click on the listing of my own post in WordPress Reader. That doesn’t make me unique, I’m sure. But I did today. And there was a very pleasant surprise there.

Allow me to back up just a little to fill in the story. I had some surprise visitors at our house – vultures. Not the first time. We consider them almost regular friends. They check up on us periodically. But this time they got into the house, the attic to be more specific.

I took some photos, and, of course, shared with my blogging friends.

When I clicked on the listing that showed up in the WordPress Reader it expanded and showed the post. I do this all the time to see the stories my blogging friends share. But what I never payed much attention to was the “MORE …” items below the post. I have used those links on others’ post many times, but never realized that WordPress makes those links to be “on topic”.

In the case of my post the first MORE link was to a nine-year old post that was also about vultures visiting us. You can see how it showed up in the screen-capture here.

That old post is still there and most of its links still work.

So WordPress looks through the tags to find related material – very nice! And it goes on to show similarly tagged posts from other bloggers – very nice, indeed!

Just in case you’d like to see my posts here are “illustrated links” for you:

And just for good measure here is a link to an old post at that other blogging site from nine years ago. The links there no longer work:

The Weekly Photo (Week 23) – Vultures

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Blogging, WordPress | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Testing OLW

Just a little test of the now gone Open Live Writer

D4-LK816693Rembrandt-selfieLK811210-P2-1600

The question was, can images be easily rotated? This should answer the query.

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Blogging, Live Writer | 7 Comments

Dust spots

Dust Bunnies in the Sky

It seemed to come together just fine for me. I had gone through my photos from the past three years and set aside 45 candidates to enter in the latest round of the Peachtree Corners Photography Club Gallery event. After winnowing these down and reprocessing sixteen of them I seemed to have a nice collection. I uploaded the set to the club and checked the photos in the online OneDrive folder.

Our judges are tough. Photos must be technically flawless before they are judged on a long list of other criteria. Previously the judges had rejected some of my photos that I was most proud of.

Just to make sure, I zoomed in on the first photo. Then the shock came.

Cue up that old Burl Ives cowboy song …

Yippie aye eh – yippie aye oh – dust bunnies in the sky!

Yes, spots, dust spots, in the sky area. About half a dozen of them. I had processed the photo carefully to make sure it was just the way I wanted it. I had no reason to manipulate smaller areas and never noticed the problem.

So, quickly I deleted the photo from the upload folder. Took the image into Photo Gallery and used the Retouch tool to excise the dust bunnies. Uploaded the image again. Once more I zoomed in. No! There were more of them. Faint, but more. One more round and I think I got them all.

The photo was taken early in the morning. I wanted to show the rocks in the river, the reflection of the moon as well as the the sky turning color in the coming sunrise. The aperture was at f/16. I went back to check other photos from that shoot. A photo taken a few minutes after the one here showed a perfectly clean sky. But for that the aperture was f/5.6. That’s how dust spots act. They are most noticeable at small aperture settings.

Dust on the sensor of an interchangeable lens camera is almost unavoidable. I have my sensor cleaned professionally about once a year. But let me assure you, if you change lenses in the field, like I do, dust will get in.

Ludwig Keck – Moonset on the Chattahoochee

.:. © 2020 Ludwig Keck

Posted in camera, Photography | Tagged | 2 Comments

Hurray!

Celebrating, celebrating!

Ten years on the internet is half an eternity, Maybe more! My blogging has been on and off, sometimes intense, at other times “in hibernation”. I thank my followers for having given me that occasional push to keep going.

 

.:. © 2020 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Blogging | Tagged | 9 Comments