Picasa Challenge: Can you Find Pictures from a Vacation 10 Years Ago?

imageQuick!  Can you use your computer to pull up a slide show of a trip you took 10 years ago?  If you were using digital photography then, you should be able to see them now.  I keep all my past pictures on an external  hard drive.  Picasa can span both the USB hard drive and my computer’s internal C drive to display all the pictures I see in the Library.  When I use Tree View in Picasa and look at my Folders collection, it reports that there are 48,612 pictures total on my computer.  11,460 of those are in the My Pictures folder on my C drive and 35, 291 of those are on S:, which is my external USB hard drive .

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The other day we were chatting with our new friends, Don and Kim from Harvest Hosts.  We love talking about travel with them because we have never met anyone who travels more than they do.  They’ve even traveled by RV in Africa and Asia!  So, when they mentioned river barging in France, we were excited to say, “We did that too!”  To prove it, I sat down at the computer, opened Picasa, and searched for France.  Within seconds the computer was playing a slide show of all our pictures of a River Barge trip to France in 2001.  Kim was impressed, but she asked, “Where’s a picture of the boat in fog with a swan swimming by?  That’s what I remember about barging in France.”  I told her to wait, and after a few more pictures … there was the swan in the fog!

Picture Filing Procedure

Here’s the procedure I follow:

  1. File by Month: After taking pictures with a digital camera, I import them all to my computer, in the My Pictures folder, and a sub-folder by month.
  2. Backup to CD/DVD: Each month or so – lately I’ve been backing up by quarter – I use Picasa’s backup tool to burn DVDs of all pictures taken since the last time I backed up.
  3. Move to USB Drive: After a folder is backed up to disc, it is fair game to be moved from my C drive to the external hard drive.  I do this using Picasa, so it retains the location information in its database.  It’s easy, just right click each folder and choose “Move Folder” – then specify the drive letter and folder location you want, e.g. S:Old Pictures.  I usually leave a year or two on my internal hard drive, just because I don’t always have the USB drive plugged in.  But, when it is plugged in, Picasa is working with a library of all 48,000 pictures.

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch tutorial videos of all of these processes:

  1. Tree Folder Structure
  2. Move Folders of Pictures to an External Drive
  3. Backup Monthly to Disk (CD or DVD)
  4. Searching for Pictures
  5. Picasa Short Course on Organizing your Pictures – 8 Videos

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, using Smartphones, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Picasa Tip: Using Search to Find your Pictures

One of the reasons I use captions on all my good pictures (video:Add Captions to your Photos) is so I can find them even years later.  I keep most of my 40,000+ pictures on an external hard drive (video: Move Folders of Pictures to an External Drive), but they all show up in Picasa’s Library so I can view any digital picture I’ve ever taken as long as I can find it!

Let’s say I want to see a picture of that cool Stonehenge place we visited in Washington State.  I just type Stonehenge into the search box, next to the magnifying glass in the upper right corner. (video: Searching for Pictures) Picasa will instantly match whatever you type by looking at captions, folder names and descriptions, file names, tags, people, albums, and more.  Since I entered captions on all the good pictures of Stonehenge, my search will produce results.  Notice that it even finds that we were there 2 times, once in 2004 and again in 2010.  I didn’t have to know that, it found all pictures with the word Stonehenge in the filename or caption.

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Back to View All

When Picasa finds matches, it filters the pictures in the library to just those that match. It will appear that all your other pictures are gone. Let’s say that, in my thousands of photos, I have a few hundred with the word ‘beach’ somewhere identifying them. If I search for ‘beach’ my library view will now consist of the few hundred beach pictures. It will look like I have no pictures except those of beaches. You need to click the ‘Back to View All’ in order to see your complete library again.

Other Searches

Captions and filenames aren’t the only thing that can be found with search.  Picasa will also search for your word in the Folder name where a picture lives, or any album that includes the photo, or tags or even the camera name that took the picture.

Dates: you can enter a year, e.g. 2007 in the search field and your results will include all pictures taken in that year.  You can narrow your search by adding multiple words.  If you add a month, e.g. 2007 August – your search will be limited accordingly.  Just realize that this will also find pictures from 2007 with the word ‘August’ in the caption even if it wasn’t taken in August.  There is no way to limit searches to any one source – Picasa searches everything: Filenames, Captions, Tags, Folder or album names, Camera maker, and Dates.

Colors: If you’re looking for that perfect picture to match your yellow walls, you can enter Color: yellow in the search field to see all picture with that color!

Just remember to click that all important Back to View All button!

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website.  There are lots of tutorial videos on editing your pictures with Picasa’s tools.  The first 3 are free for all to view.  To see all of them, you need a Geeks On Tour membership.  It’s only $58/yearly.  Join Today!