For the past few months I’ve been taking photos using black and white film in my old 35mm SLR camera, more of which another time. When one uses a digital camera, the details of the camera and shot are embedded in the image as EXIF data, and can be viewed when uploaded to Flickr. I wanted to record some of this information for my film photos taken on film, but wasn’t sure how.
At first I just noted some details in the comments of each photo (in both iPhoto and on Flickr), eg:
50mm 1/60 f5.6
Kodak Tri-X 400
Which is better than nothing, but is pretty ugly. And, these days, plain text feels rather dead and not a useful way of storing such information. Only a dumb old text search would find me all the photos shot with a certain lens or film, for example.
A year ago Paul Mison wrote about extracting EXIF data from his Flickr photos and putting them into Flickr machine tags, those ugly computer-readable tags that associate other kinds of information with photos.
It made sense to add the information I wanted to store into machine tags. It would have to be manual, but that’s not too hard, given how much time I already spend on applying metadata these days. I copied the kinds of tags Paul was generating and added them to my own photos:
camera:make=pentax camera:model=k1000 film:brand=kodak film:iso=400 film:name=kodak tri-x lens:focal_length=50mm lens:lenstag=pentax 50mm f/1.7 lens:make=pentax lens:min_aperture=f/1.7
But this doesn’t cover information about the individual shot — shutter speed and aperture. I chatted with Paul and looked round his machine tag browser but there didn’t seem to be much widespread use of what I wanted. So I made up my own tags for this purpose:
photo:aperture=f/5.6 photo:shutter_speed=1/60 sec
Looking at the latter URL, which has translated “1/15 sec” into “115sec”, I can see there will be a conflict with any long exposures measured in whole seconds. Maybe there’s a better format to use?
Anyway, just thought I’d write that up in case anyone else was wondering the same thing, and also wanted to simply copy someone else’s method.