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Old Saturday 14th February 2015, 13:45   #1
Andy Hurley
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Do you keep photos for each species in folders per year?

Hi,
I've only been doing this birding thing seriously since May 2010 and I already have 80,000+ photos of 362 species. Thats a massive amount of GBytes. Also a lot to search through.
I was wondering if you keep adding a new folder each year and by country to each species you photograph or just chuck them all into the same folder.
For example I have 5 folders for Atlantic Puffin from 4 locations.
I've decided I need to drastically cut back on the photos I keep, because I can imagine in 25 years, if I'm still fit enough I'll have over 500,000 photos.

How do you manage your photographs?
I also keep lists by year and country/region and local lists as I don't manage to photograph every species I see.
Its not the space, I have 2x 2 TB external hard drives and room for at least 4 more in the computer area in my desk, one is a mirror image of the other, copied about once a month, but trying to back them up tends to a lengthy procedure, days rather than hours, because this HDD's also contain other photos, music etc etc.
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Old Saturday 14th February 2015, 14:02   #2
Maroon Jay
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I divide my folders by continent and then I divided the continent by species. I think this is a good way as most of the species are different in each continent and the folders are not duplicated but it keeps the number of folders down to a reasonable number in each group. I do not care about the year but I put the date and location in the data of the photo. When I get better photos, I sometimes delete the older ones if the new ones are much better. I do the same for mammals, insects and reptiles. If you do this for each year, I think it will create too many folders and it is easier to find a photo by species as you may not remember which year you took the photo.

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Old Saturday 14th February 2015, 17:22   #3
Andy Hurley
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Originally Posted by Maroon Jay View Post
I divide my folders by continent and then I divided the continent by species. I think this is a good way as most of the species are different in each continent and the folders are not duplicated but it keeps the number of folders down to a reasonable number in each group. I do not care about the year but I put the date and location in the data of the photo. When I get better photos, I sometimes delete the older ones if the new ones are much better. I do the same for mammals, insects and reptiles. If you do this for each year, I think it will create too many folders and it is easier to find a photo by species as you may not remember which year you took the photo.
Thanks MJ.
I actually do something similar for every thing except birds. Mammals I group by type e.g. bovines, suidae, canines etc then break each group down into individual species folders.
Do you restrict the number of photos per species, or does it depend on what your are photographing, ie plumage, behaviour (mating, hunting, displaying) etc?
I just got rid of 2000+ grainy distant shots of Atlantic Puffin, as I have some great photos from Iceland, so Scotland, misty Neufoundland have been radical reduced to about 30. As you say, if it not an actual sub species, there is really no need to keep the not so good stuff, just because I don't have better ones from a particular country. The last 2 years worth all have gps data anyway.
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Old Sunday 15th February 2015, 13:23   #4
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I don't have an exact number to keep of each species. When I get better shots, I delete the old ones. Sometimes I delete good shots if I have lots of them of the same bird. Sometimes I delete all of them if they are blurry and not worth keeping.
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Old Sunday 15th February 2015, 14:53   #5
Robin Edwards
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Andy, it may be worth you taking a look at the advantages of using something like Adobe Lightroom for cataloging your images. Keywords applied for species and location make it straightforward for searching for what you want to see.
For instance, images of Puffin taken over several seasons and visits can easily be viewed together. Similarly, collections of favoured images can be created without taking copies, renaming or moving the images from the folders they have been saved to within the catalogue.
So my practice is to create a folder for each year, then a sub folder for each month and then date when images have been taken. You could chose another method - for example, trips abroad tend to get their own folder.
I have around 40k images (I'm not very disciplined at discarding images that are duplicates or less than optimum compared to best keepers but my photo record operates as a diary as much as a collection of quality shots) taken over ten or more years, plus many of scanned images of family and other subjects.
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Old Monday 16th February 2015, 09:09   #6
Andy Hurley
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Originally Posted by Robin Edwards View Post
Andy, it may be worth you taking a look at the advantages of using something like Adobe Lightroom for cataloging your images. Keywords applied for species and location make it straightforward for searching for what you want to see.
For instance, images of Puffin taken over several seasons and visits can easily be viewed together. Similarly, collections of favoured images can be created without taking copies, renaming or moving the images from the folders they have been saved to within the catalogue.
So my practice is to create a folder for each year, then a sub folder for each month and then date when images have been taken. You could chose another method - for example, trips abroad tend to get their own folder.
I have around 40k images (I'm not very disciplined at discarding images that are duplicates or less than optimum compared to best keepers but my photo record operates as a diary as much as a collection of quality shots) taken over ten or more years, plus many of scanned images of family and other subjects.
Thanks Robin, I use Photoshop Elements to manage mine, which I think is similar. The images still need to be filed "somewhere" though, and I basically use the same system as you do. I like your idea about different months, but I may limit it to different plumages, sex, juvenile etc for my own comparisons. Like you I have been guilty of not always getting rid of poor quality photos when I have better ones taken during the same or subsequent trips.
I was mainly curious about how other people with a lot more photos taken over many years file their photos, in the hope of finding alternative ideas.
When I started out, I needed a photo to help me identify the majority of species, but as I become more familiar with the usual regular local species, I find it not as necessary to photograph "everything" and I look now to try to get better quality photos, without disturbing the birds. I used to need a photo before I put a bird on my lifelist, yearlist, etc, but that proved a bit of a problem with owls etc that are active at night or dawn and dusk. I don't use flash, playback or any other means of impacting on the behaviour of the birds I try to photograph, so it was practically impossible to get some species that I have seen onto my lists. I changed that "rule" to having to be able to definitely id a bird before it goes on a list. Another thing I have noticed, I don't have time to look 80k photos regularly, so it is a bit pointless having that many photos, especially if they are not all that good. Sorting them will take a loooong time, but if I delete 50 of the 52 Greater White Fronted Geese photos I took on Saturday, then it will prevent the total getting more unmanageable.
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Old Monday 16th February 2015, 09:21   #7
Andy Hurley
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Originally Posted by Maroon Jay View Post
I don't have an exact number to keep of each species. When I get better shots, I delete the old ones. Sometimes I delete good shots if I have lots of them of the same bird. Sometimes I delete all of them if they are blurry and not worth keeping.
Thanks MJ,
it makes sense not having a set limit. I tend to photograph using multishot and very quicky have 10 photos of the same bird in the same pose. After a 3 week holiday, sorting through them takes a while and I have been guilty of sometimes dragging and dropping huge amounts of the same group of e.g. Altlantic Puffin from Newfoundland into the Altantic Puffin, Canada (Newfoudland) 2013 folder, with the intention of sorting them later. A process which will take me the best part of a year to complete, if I do it regularly in small chunks.
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Old Sunday 2nd August 2015, 18:38   #8
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I have folders for countries I visit, and then a folder for the major groups within that labelled along the lines of Birds (UK), Plants (UK), etc. Inside those folders there are folders for families, and inside those for species. I don't split photos based on the time of year or the specific outing, I can search time and dates to gather photos from a certain time if needed. So all my pictures of a certain species from that country remain in the same folder, labelled with the location name.

I try to be thorough on deleting duplicate or blurry pictures, I end up keeping par 20% of photos taken in the end. (Most of the 80 % are blurry anyway, I take a lot of pictures to try and ensure at least one comes out...)
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Old Sunday 2nd August 2015, 19:56   #9
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My year consists of month folders that hold all the raw material (once there's been a first cut deletion on the back of the camera and then a second run-through in Windows). So, 2015_01 Stuff and so on. At the end, 2015_Pix_Tweaking for the stuff that gets picked to run through Photoshop and publish. This year I've divided that into Jan-Jun and Jul-Dec....

Of course, there can be events that cause massive blips: airshows, foreign trips and so on. In that case I reserve the right to add folders labelled e.g. Wyoming_2014 and then Wyoming_2014_WIP (i.e. Work In Progress) for Photoshopping.

To date I don't do tagging etc. I probably should, but I use image titling to give a good handle on what's available.

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Old Tuesday 18th August 2015, 20:52   #10
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I file my nature images by Category/Group or Order/Species. I try to keep a reasonable number of images under each species. For every species where I have at least one "good" image. All future images must as a minimum be in focus. After that I address image composition and the size of the bird in the image (zoom factor). I don't have a set number of mages to keep. I use EXIF data to get the date taken and I also save location and other information in the EXIF data so that I don't have to display it in the file name.

The attached screen capture will give you an idea of the set up I use.

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Old Wednesday 19th August 2015, 19:55   #11
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Thanks folks, this is proving a useful conversation - I've been considering for the last month or so how to organise my own photos so this is very much a 'live' issue. So far my own photo-taking has been very much on a diary front as well, record shots and sometime 'what is it' queries, but I have started getting some decent pictures - my thinking was going along the line of dated folders, but then copying the best examples into species folders. Glad its not just me that s having to think about it.
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Old Wednesday 19th August 2015, 20:45   #12
Paul Tavares
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Thanks folks, this is proving a useful conversation - I've been considering for the last month or so how to organise my own photos so this is very much a 'live' issue. So far my own photo-taking has been very much on a diary front as well, record shots and sometime 'what is it' queries, but I have started getting some decent pictures - my thinking was going along the line of dated folders, but then copying the best examples into species folders. Glad its not just me that s having to think about it.
I should have added that I can also access the photos by the information in the EXIF data. I posted a more complete description of how I've organized my nature image collection in another thread in this forum http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=307890

For non nature images I use a folders under a top line folder system of category or year. Year works well for major trips with individual trips filed in separate sometimes multiple folders. Top level categories work well for places I visit often, suck as parks or local sites. Most photo organizers (Picasa as an example) will allow you to sort photos across all folders or in a folder by date taken so arranging photos in folders by date is perhaps a lost opportunity to organize them with a different view.

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Old Thursday 20th August 2015, 02:01   #13
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I use commercially available recording software (Bird Journal in my case) which stores thumbnails next to each record. I can then scan through and find the image that I want there before going to the folder that I create for each taxa I photograph and ID. I have them stored in "super" folders such as Mammals, Birds, Dragonflies, Butterflies, Moths etc and then within each of these I have an individual folder for every species sorted alphabetically, each individual image is named and dated. Seems to work for me
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Old Thursday 14th January 2016, 08:11   #14
Andy Hurley
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I apologize for not keeping up with this thread, you know, other holidays then I forgot about the thread. Thanks for all you contributions. There is plenty of food for thought, decisions, decisions....
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Old Thursday 14th January 2016, 08:41   #15
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Having just returned from Sri Lanka where I was armed with my 8 year old guide book, I have been surprised to find how many species have been "created" recently. So, if you really want to collect as many different ones as possible yesterdays grainy shot of a Purple Swamphen might be the only one a Grey-headed Swamphen you have in your collection, likewise the local Stone Curlew is now an Indian Thick-knee and that's just to name two.
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