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Monday, June 11, 2012

Perth Airport Viewing Area and Geotagging in Lightroom

Recently, I took a trip out to the new Perth Airport Viewing Area, just off Dunreath Drive. This was to serve a dual purpose, giving me an opportunity to check out a new shooting location, as well as serving as a test run for a new geotagging workflow.

High Octane Photos

The viewing platform on Dunreath Drive is located at the southern end of Runway 03/21, and it's a good idea to check weather conditions and flight details before heading out, or you might end up not seeing much at all.

High Octane Photos

On the day I was there, the planes were taking off and landing southbound on 03/21, and the take off viewing was reasonably good, but inbound the planes would disappear under the treeline in the distance, and you'd next see them after they'd landed.

High Octane Photos

As for the geotagging experiment, for some time now, I've been looking for a way to geotag my photos automatically, and I've recently started trialling a solution for this. I'd been considering buying a GPS enabled point and shoot, having that in the camera bag, and using it to product a GPS tracklog, then importing that into Lightroom and geoencoding the photos with that data. However, I've simplified that even further, by using an Android app called GPSlogger on my phone, which uploads its logs to Dropbox on demand, which in turn synchronises automatically with my computer, and I then use Jeffrey Friedl's "Geoencoding Support" plugin for Lightroom to interpret the GPX format log produced by GPSlogger, and interpolate between the points recorded by the app to estimate my actual position for each photo.

High Octane Photos

My plan with geotagging is to geotag every shoot, and then keep an eye on where I put the photos. It appears that facebook doesn't automatically display geotagged information, flickr does add the photo to your map automatically, and my own websites do not, at present, display or use any geotagged information. If I ever have shots that I'd like to keep the location private, as does happen from time to time, the export dialog in Lightroom does give the option to hide location information. This is a system that I really wish I'd had in place for The Bonneville Run, instead of relying on my memory to work out where each photo was taken. In turn, this little experiment was inspired by our upcoming trip to Phuket, where I'm sure I'll struggle to remember where we went and what we saw each day, without geotagged photos.

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