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In this course, author and photographer Ben Long explores the tools and techniques behind modern-day travel journaling. Ben takes us on a road trip across the Southwest to detail a variety of methods for documenting the salient moments of a trip. Ben discusses and demonstrates software and hardware tools for capturing the notes, images, and location data from your trip, and assembling them into a journal that you can share with others or keep as a personal memento of your travels. He also shares tips on publishing your journal as a PDF or a printed book. Along the way, he provides insightful advice on establishing a balance between documenting your travels and experiencing them.
- Planning your route
- Packing for a journaling trip
- Mixing up the shots
- Finding your voice
- Importing GPS data
- Geotagging in Lightroom
- Editing and laying out the journal
Skill Level Intermediate
Light Room has a built-in geotagging feature that can input a GPX file and automatically tag all your images for you. I find it works really well, but you do have to be careful about your time offset. Just like you have, do if you using third-party standalone apps. To get to the geotagging feature. You go over to the Map module. And the first thing you need to do, you'll see a, you'll see a map of the last place you were looking at. The first thing you need to do is load that GPX file. It's a little bit hidden. I think this is a little bit strange. All of the geotagging commands that you're going to need for this process are hidden in this menu that is indicated with a squiggly line.
That's it, that's all you see is this little squiggly line. It does say GPS Tracking on its little tool tip. But, oh, there we go. It's finished building the previews. I've imported my images for the day. So, if I open up this menu, I get all sorts of really nice GPS related things. It's just easy to forget where they are because it's this unnamed, strange icon. I'm going to tell it to load a tracklog. This is the GPX file that I extracted from my GPS. When I say it that way, it sounds like there was drilling involved, or something, and, and it was actually a pretty painless process.
I'm going to choose that, and when I do, it shows me the route on the map. Now, you have to have an internet connection for this to work. It's actually pulling the map out of the sky. This is Google data here. So you can't be doing this if you don't have an internet connection. We're actually going through my phone right now. It's surprisingly quick. Once that's done, I'm ready to start the tagging process. If I just click on an image here. I can see that nothing is happening. I have to explicitly tell it to try to place this image on the map.
So I'm going to select an image and say, Auto- Tag 1 Selected Photo. And sure enough, this bubble pops up right here in Palo Duro Canyon and I can look at that image and know that, yeah, that's where I was. I can then select other images in the group. And tell it to auto tag those. And it found all seven of them. I'm going to go back and grab these too, and tell it to auto tag those and see what it comes up with. This is a trick question here, because I did not have the geo I did not have the GPS running.
When I did this and it says, no matching photos. So, there is no timestamp stored in the file that corresponds to these images. So I need to tag them by hand. I can do that simply by picking them up and moving them to the location where I want them. This was a shot of the inside of my motel room this morning so I know it's at the very beginning of the route. I'm just going to drop those right there. It wants to know if I want to tag just the primary select or all of them. I'm going to tell it to do the entire selection. And now it's tagged to those two photos. So I can just merely go along through my images tagging them this way.
Note that if there isn't a timestamp in the file. Because you have the GPS off during the day, you're going to run into the same problem. Now typically, I leave my GPS running all day. We stop for a couple of hours in places. I don't actually know what the drain is on the bike when I leave the GPS running. So I turned it off. So, I've got some images that I'm going to have to place manually. But I've also got another problem. We changed time zones at one point today, we crossed from Texas into New Mexico. And I forgot to reset the time stamp on my camera. That does not mean that the images won't tag proper, or, won't tag.
It might meant that they tag improperly. So let's just see what happens. I'm going to grab one of these that we shot late in the day. And I'm going to ask it to tag it and I don't actually know what it's going to do. And it's, it's actually putting it in the right place. So it is on its own figuring out a time offset and properly tagging my images, that's great news. I'm going to go ahead and just grab the rest of these. I'm going to grab them, a whole big mess of them here. These were all shot in Tucumcari also. And I'm going to tell it just to auto tag all of those.
Now, there will be times when it's not going to be able to do that, because the time set in your camera does not match the time zone you were shooting in. For those instances, you're going to need to come back to the Track er, the GPS menu and Set a Time Zone Offset. If I pop this open, I get this slider here. Right now it's set to an offset of zero, there is no need to adjust it. My room is figuring it out on its own. If it can't figure it out, all of this track log information is going to be in red.
Start sliding the slider around until it turns black and you should be able to zero in on the correct offset for your images, then hit the OK button. Tag those images, they should work out fine. This is one reason to do your geo tagging close to the, on a daily basis, or close to the time that you're actually in these locations. Because to really be able to double-check that your tags are falling into the right geographic location. You need to remember where a particular photo was shot. And if you've just shot some open prairie after spending a week driving across Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, you may not remember exactly where those shots were if you wait a few days before you tag them.
I would also like to point out that you can copy geo information from one image to another, so if you are manually placing photos and you place one and you get it exactly right, and like down to the house number, and you want to copy that data to other images. For example I'm, I'm not going to do that, I'm just going drop this one on Tucumcari there. I could go in and figure out exactly where I was. But I can now copy this by selecting that image, going up to actually I have to go back to the library module to do this, and go to Metadata > Copy Metadata.
And Lightroom is going to open up this dialog box that includes check boxes for every piece of metadata that Lightroom stores. And fortunately they're divided into categories. So I'm going to turn off all the ones that I'm not using and just grab this GPS information. I'm going to grab user. I don't want user calling the direction. I just want GPS and Altitude. If there were. If it had reverse geocoded and filled in cities and things like that I would check those. I can hit Copy. Then I can come down here and using the same menu item Metadata > Paste Metadata, I can paste, that geo information in there.
Last night I ran into a problem where I realized I had geocoded some things wrong because I wasn't paying attention to time offset and I wanted to erase the location, from from some images. I can do that same thing with this copy and paste. I can copy blank photo metadata, and paste it onto images, to wipe out, the metadata that's already there, and then I can start over with my geotagging process. So, Lightroom's very robust in its geo tagging features. There are some other things that you're going to notice as you're using it, as I mouse on an image, the badges change color to show me where they are.
I've got this nice little browser for each location that lets me look through all of the images in a particular location. Right now this metadata is stored like all Lightroom metadata. In the internal Lightroom database. If I want those written out to psych our XMP files so I can take them into other applications I will have to do that write process separately. So, if you're Lightroom user, you've got very robust geotagging information built in. I still needed that outboard Adze program, A-D-Z-E, to get my GPX file pulled out of my GPS and merged together into a single track.
Again, Lightroom is not happy with a GPX file that contains multiple tracks. At least, that's been my experience. So you'll still need something like that. Otherwise, everything you need is rolled right into the program.