Posted Friday, February 18, 2005

Gigapixel Photos, Flickr Madness, and the Right Way to Use iPhoto

It's Friday -- must be time for a photography post. Today, I have a rich stew of photography-related tidbits, thanks in large part to friends who have forwarded cool sites on to me.

Gigapixel photos. No, there were no gigapixel digital cameras announced at the PMA convention this week. Maybe next year. In the meantime, there's The Gigapixl Project. By digitally scanning large-format negatives, these fiends are creating images with astonishing resolution.

Elsewhere on the Web and also of note: Breaking the Gigapixel Barrier and The 2.5 gigapixel photo of Delft. (Eat your heart out, Vermeer!)

Exploring connections on Flickr. A friend writes to say, "You have GOT to try this thing out... it's amazing what apps pop out of the ocean of pictures that is Flickr."

"This thing" is Flickr Graph, a "social network visualization." Enter a Flickr member's name and then explore the connections between that member and other members. You can also explore his or her photos and tags. It's astonishingly cool, and a wonderful use of Macromedia Flash.

I love Flickr but I haven't taken the time to add other Flickr members to my contacts list. That's going to change now. In the meantime, check out someone who has: my colleague Andy Ihnatko.

Performance tuning iPhoto. Over at MacOSXHints, people are spending far too much time trying to find the best-performing thumbnail size for iPhoto. The tip boils down to this: To quickly switch thumbnail sizes from the keyboard, click on any photo (or on the area between photos), then type 0, 1, or 2. Pressing 2 gives you a "native-sized" thumbnail that iPhoto doesn't have to work to scale.

But there's another way to performance-tune iPhoto: don't display more photos than you need to. You'll always get the best performance out of iPhoto if you view your library by roll (choose Film Rolls from the View menu), then collapse rolls whose photos you don't need. (Press Option while clicking any visible roll's triangle to collapse every roll in your library.)

It amazes me to see iPhoto users attempting to display and scroll through thousands of thumbnails. Kids! You and your Macs are working way too hard.

Yes, it's all in the book. These and other earth-shattering iPhoto insights are yours in the next edition of the original iLife book. 400 full-color pages and a 2-1/2 hour instructional DVD for a little over $20 on Amazon (34 percent off the cover price). Pre-order The Macintosh iLife '05 now -- while I go finish it.