Club Meeting 17 September 2015 (Image Management at the Royal Observatory)

This evening we welcomed my colleague Jason Cowan from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, who entertained us with not one but three separate talks. Jason first took us through the history of photography at the observatory, delving into the image archive to show us photographs taken by Charles Piazzi Smyth during his pyramid measuring expeditions, historical images showing the observatory site on Blackford Hill just after it was founded in 1894, and showing how the site developed in the early 20th century. He then told us about the history of the photographic laboratories at the observatory from the 1970s to the 1990s. Back then the laboratories managed and copied the glass photographic plates recorded by wide angle telescopes, such as the UK Schmidt Telescope. The laboratories were rendered obsolete by the coming of the digital age. Jason’s final presentation showed us the tools and facilities he uses to manage the observatory’s collection of digital media. One such tool is ResourceSpace, which is an open source package that can be downloaded for free and can be used to manage metadata, identify image collections, manage access and sharing of those images and make them available on a shared server. Jason gave us some useful advice for safeguarding a valuable collection of images. 3-2-1 Backups: Make 3 copies of all of your images, use 2 different devices and store one copy at a different location. If you were to lose your computer today, how many of your  images would you lose?

Jason gave us the following useful image management web sites on his last slide:


  • The talk FROM AMATEUR TO PRO  by Nadia Dunnigan has moved from Oct 22 to Nov 05.
  • On Oct 22 we have a new inter-club competition between Musselburgh Camera Club and Mölnlycke Fotoklubb in SwedenMölnlycke Fotoklubb will send 20 digital images to be marked and critiqued by us. In return, we will send them 20 of our images and receive their comments later in the year (date to be announced).



Next week our speaker is Billy Currie, a landscape photographer who offers courses and workshops. His web site contains some stunning landscape images. In his talk “IS GETTING IT RIGHT ENOUGH?” next week, perhaps he will show us how he creates these images.