I just returned to New York after a great trip traveling in and around Santiago, Chile. Whenever I’ve traveled abroad before, I’ve always taken photos and processed them in Aperture upon my return home. For this trip however, I wanted to attempt to share my experiences by keeping a travel photoblog, posting photos to Flickr daily.
This raised a few interesting challenges: I would be traveling without my MacBook Pro and shooting in RAW, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to process my images without Aperture. I had access to a broadband internet connection and a MacBook with 1GB of RAM, and around 10GB of free disk space.
My initial thought was to download the trial version of Aperture and simply use it while I was visiting, then remove it when I was through. But because of the low amount of disk space, I wanted a solution that would allow me to convert my large 10MB RAW images to JPEGs and then simply delete the RAW files. Plus I didn’t really want to be tempted by Aperture’s adjustment tools: my goal was to download my images each day, pick the 10 or 20 best, and upload them to Flickr as JPEGs. I’d leave the RAW files on my camera for processing in Aperture once I returned home.
What about creating a new iPhoto library and processing my photos in iPhoto? This wasn’t appealing because of disk space limitations. I tried importing my RAW images into iPhoto and then had to export each as a JPEG. It quickly became an organizational mess, plus iPhoto’s library folder was quickly filling up my available disk space.
Another thought was to import the images using Image Capture and use Preview to handle the file conversion. I tried this too, but Preview doesn’t support converting the Canon RAW CR2 format to JPEG. However I was on the right track…
After a little trial and error, I found a solution that was exactly what I was looking for: download the images from my Canon Rebel XTi using Image Capture, convert them to JPEGs using GraphicConverter, and move the RAW files to the trash. After my files were converted I could use Flickr Uploadr to batch upload my picks. This also gave me a great opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while: use Automator.
I downloaded and installed GraphicConverter, then opened up Automator and created a simple workflow: Step 1 was GraphicConverter’s Convert into a JPEG action. Step 2 was Finder’s Move to Trash action. I saved the workflow as an application, connected my camera, and launched Image Capture.
A simple Automator workflow using GraphicConverter
In Image capture, I clicked on the “Download Some…” button and then choose a new download folder for my images from the dropdown menu. Now here’s the cool part: from the Automatic Task menu, I chose the Automator workflow application. I selected the photos I wanted to process and clicked Download. The CR2 RAW files were downloaded, converted to JPEGs, and the RAWs were moved to the Trash. A simple “Empty Trash” and I had reclaimed 90% of the space those RAWs would have used. Then I simply dropped the folder of JPEGs onto Flickr Uploadr and sent them out to my photoblog.