My long term infatuation with flickr may be my undoing… (skipping past the gripes about flickr’s design changes) (also skipping past whatever monkey goo that Google is offering for your photos) (anything else?).

To me, what’s more important about flickr is what you do not see on the site or the (still partly crippled) mobile app. It’s about the data, man. The metadata, woman. And the API.

Enough pre-amble.

Yesterday, a long series of tweets about cameras and lens started because Gardner Campbell was looking for lens suggestions (his daughter has a neat summer art/photography project)

I still stand by my nifty 50 lens, but that’s not the point.

The thing is when you upload photos to flickr, information embedded in the image travels with it, not only date, but things like the camera model and lens, and much much more. As Tom Woodward pointed out

the Flickrriver site has a great tool that lets you see photos shared in flickr taken with various lenses, so one way to decide maybe how images compare with the Nikon 50mm f/1.4D vs the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D.

I have a 2009 post on my camera history up til then, but the flickr searches that once worked to list of my photos taken with the cameras seems busted and even with yesterday’s tinkerings, I can’t get the older camera model parameters to work (this links shows all my photos taken with my current Canon 7D).

And down the hole I went…

I found a pair of 2008 blog posts that showed some extra search parameters you can use in flickr search to filter results by aperture and focal length.

It took some playing around, but I ended up doing things like looking for all flower photos taken with a particular camera and setting:

fs1

Breaking down the URL, means I am asking for all photos labeled “flower” taken with a Nikon D300 with a maximum aperture of 2.0

https://www.flickr.com/search/?camera=nikon%2Fd3300&exif_max_aperture=2.0&text=flower

Or I can search for all my own photos where the maximum aperture was 1.6 (my shallow depth of field photos). It says there are 2153 of them, that seems low. I shoot a lot wide open

fs2

That first w= string is my user id. It’s left as an exercise for the URL reader to make that a search that shows all photos where the maximum aperture is f/5.6

https://www.flickr.com/search/?w=37996646802@N01&q=&exif_max_aperture=1.6

Or flip it to see how many I have where I shoot at f/22 or smaller — the min/max bigger/smaller on aperture is always confusing low aperture numbers is a bigger hole of light and give shallow depth of field; high aperture numbers is a tiny hole and give deep depth of field.

fs3

But you can also add elements for maximum or minimum focal length so getting back to Gardner’s quest, let’s compare photos tagged road, where the maximum aperture is f/1.8 and the maximum focal length is 50mm – one can see these are wide open aperture shots of “roads” taken with a maximum focal length 50mm lens

fs4

Or for URL readers… (get how it works?)
https://www.flickr.com/search/?exif_max_aperture=1.8&exif_max_focallen=50&tag_mode=all&z=t&advanced=1&tags=road

And we compare that to the same except setting the maximum focal length as 35mm

fs5

https://www.flickr.com/search/?exif_max_aperture=1.8&exif_max_focallen=35&tag_mode=all&z=t&advanced=1&tags=road

Does that help pick lenses? Maybe not. There are differences because of different photographers and subjects. But hey, I am not a camera comparison lab.

I just like to monkey around with URLs and hidden search parameters.

How much data goes with a photo? You can explore with the Flickr API Garden for the one that lets you see what the API returns for EXIF data from a single photo. If you plug in the ID for a recent (or any flickr) photo:

get exif

You get a whack sock of information (way more than you can use on the search form). If you scan closely, you might see at the end my own custom metadata that I add to every photo I save in Aperture (good luck getting that feature in the new Apple Photos app), including my creative commons license. This information travels with the original photo whereever it goes (well except for the different size copies that flickr makes, they squeeze out the meta data on derivative sizes).

There is a virtual universe of information you can maybe appreciate, and perhaps start to want to get a better understanding of what can be done with APIs. I am just about one step down that road…

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<rsp stat="ok">
  <photo id="18104959940" secret="61e78f3fd0" server="7761" farm="8" camera="Canon EOS 7D">
    <exif tagspace="JFIF" tagspaceid="0" tag="JFIFVersion" label="JFIFVersion">
      <raw>1.01</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="JFIF" tagspaceid="0" tag="ResolutionUnit" label="Resolution Unit">
      <raw>inches</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="JFIF" tagspaceid="0" tag="XResolution" label="X-Resolution">
      <raw>72</raw>
      <clean>72 dpi</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="JFIF" tagspaceid="0" tag="YResolution" label="Y-Resolution">
      <raw>72</raw>
      <clean>72 dpi</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="CodedCharacterSet" label="Coded Character Set">
      <raw>UTF8</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="ApplicationRecordVersion" label="Application Record Version">
      <raw>2</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="By-line" label="By-line">
      <raw>Alan Levine</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="City" label="City">
      <raw>Strawberry</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="Headline" label="Headline">
      <raw>The Strawberry Patch</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="Caption-Abstract" label="Caption- Abstract">
      <raw>Still hoping the birds do not find these! Don't tell 'em.</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="CopyrightNotice" label="Copyright Notice">
      <raw>This photo by Alan Levine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="Keywords" label="Keywords">
      <raw>strawberry</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IPTC" tagspaceid="0" tag="Province-State" label="Province- State">
      <raw>Arizona</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="Photoshop" tagspaceid="0" tag="IPTCDigest" label="IPTCDigest">
      <raw>8ea427e5f71da7ec73b9fa8935ff653e</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-view" tagspaceid="0" tag="ViewingCondIlluminant" label="Viewing Cond Illuminant">
      <raw>19.6445 20.3718 16.8089</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-view" tagspaceid="0" tag="ViewingCondSurround" label="Viewing Cond Surround">
      <raw>3.92889 4.07439 3.36179</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-view" tagspaceid="0" tag="ViewingCondIlluminantType" label="Viewing Conditions Illuminant Type">
      <raw>D50</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-meas" tagspaceid="0" tag="MeasurementObserver" label="Measurement Observer">
      <raw>CIE 1931</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-meas" tagspaceid="0" tag="MeasurementBacking" label="Measurement Backing">
      <raw>0 0 0</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-meas" tagspaceid="0" tag="MeasurementGeometry" label="Measurement Geometry">
      <raw>Unknown (0)</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-meas" tagspaceid="0" tag="MeasurementFlare" label="Measurement Flare">
      <raw>0.999%</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ICC-meas" tagspaceid="0" tag="MeasurementIlluminant" label="Measurement Illuminant">
      <raw>D65</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IFD0" tagspaceid="0" tag="Make" label="Make">
      <raw>Canon</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IFD0" tagspaceid="0" tag="Model" label="Model">
      <raw>Canon EOS 7D</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IFD0" tagspaceid="0" tag="Orientation" label="Orientation">
      <raw>Horizontal (normal)</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IFD0" tagspaceid="0" tag="ResolutionUnit" label="Resolution Unit">
      <raw>inches</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IFD0" tagspaceid="0" tag="Software" label="Software">
      <raw>Aperture 3.5.1</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="IFD0" tagspaceid="0" tag="ModifyDate" label="Date and Time (Modified)">
      <raw>2015:05:30 17:37:10</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ExposureTime" label="Exposure">
      <raw>1/60</raw>
      <clean>0.017 sec (1/60)</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="FNumber" label="Aperture">
      <raw>5.6</raw>
      <clean>f/5.6</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ExposureProgram" label="Exposure Program">
      <raw>Aperture-priority AE</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ISO" label="ISO Speed">
      <raw>500</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ExifVersion" label="Exif Version">
      <raw>0221</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="DateTimeOriginal" label="Date and Time (Original)">
      <raw>2015:05:30 17:37:10</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="CreateDate" label="Date and Time (Digitized)">
      <raw>2015:05:30 17:37:10</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ComponentsConfiguration" label="Components Configuration">
      <raw>Y, Cb, Cr, -</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ExposureCompensation" label="Exposure Bias">
      <raw>0</raw>
      <clean>0 EV</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="MaxApertureValue" label="Max Aperture Value">
      <raw>1.6</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="MeteringMode" label="Metering Mode">
      <raw>Multi-segment</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="Flash" label="Flash">
      <raw>Off, Did not fire</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="FocalLength" label="Focal Length">
      <raw>50.0 mm</raw>
      <clean>50 mm</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="SubSecTime" label="Sub Sec Time">
      <raw>00</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="SubSecTimeOriginal" label="Sub Sec Time Original">
      <raw>00</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="SubSecTimeDigitized" label="Sub Sec Time Digitized">
      <raw>00</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="FlashpixVersion" label="Flashpix Version">
      <raw>0100</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ColorSpace" label="Color Space">
      <raw>sRGB</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="FocalPlaneXResolution" label="Focal Plane X-Resolution">
      <raw>5715.545455</raw>
      <clean>5715.545455 dpi</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="FocalPlaneYResolution" label="Focal Plane Y-Resolution">
      <raw>5808.403509</raw>
      <clean>5808.403509 dpi</clean>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="FocalPlaneResolutionUnit" label="Focal Plane Resolution Unit">
      <raw>inches</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="CustomRendered" label="Custom Rendered">
      <raw>Normal</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="ExposureMode" label="Exposure Mode">
      <raw>Auto</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="WhiteBalance" label="White Balance">
      <raw>Auto</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="ExifIFD" tagspaceid="0" tag="SceneCaptureType" label="Scene Capture Type">
      <raw>Standard</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-x" tagspaceid="0" tag="XMPToolkit" label="XMPToolkit">
      <raw>XMP Core 5.4.0</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-aux" tagspaceid="0" tag="LensID" label="Lens ID">
      <raw>198</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-aux" tagspaceid="0" tag="Lens" label="Lens">
      <raw>Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-aux" tagspaceid="0" tag="FlashCompensation" label="Flash Compensation">
      <raw>0</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-aux" tagspaceid="0" tag="Firmware" label="Firmware">
      <raw>Firmware Version 1.2.5</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-photoshop" tagspaceid="0" tag="Headline" label="Headline">
      <raw>The Strawberry Patch</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-photoshop" tagspaceid="0" tag="City" label="City">
      <raw>Strawberry</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-photoshop" tagspaceid="0" tag="State" label="State">
      <raw>Arizona</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-dc" tagspaceid="0" tag="Creator" label="Creator">
      <raw>Alan Levine</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-dc" tagspaceid="0" tag="Description" label="Description">
      <raw>Still hoping the birds do not find these! Don't tell 'em.</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-dc" tagspaceid="0" tag="Rights" label="Rights">
      <raw>This photo by Alan Levine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-dc" tagspaceid="0" tag="Subject" label="Subject">
      <raw>strawberry</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-xmp" tagspaceid="0" tag="CreatorTool" label="Creator Tool">
      <raw>Aperture 3.5.1</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-iptcCore" tagspaceid="0" tag="CreatorWorkEmail" label="Creator Work Email">
      <raw>cogdogblog@gmail.com</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-iptcCore" tagspaceid="0" tag="CreatorRegion" label="Creator Region">
      <raw>AZ</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-iptcCore" tagspaceid="0" tag="CreatorCity" label="Creator City">
      <raw>Strawberry</raw>
    </exif>
    <exif tagspace="XMP-iptcCore" tagspaceid="0" tag="CreatorWorkURL" label="Creator Work URL">
      <raw>http://cogdogblog.com/</raw>
    </exif>
  </photo>
</rsp>

Top / Featured image credits: flickr photo by Leah Gregg http://flickr.com/photos/simonehudson/1879148204 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The post "Monkeying Around With Hidden Flickr Search Parameters" was originally pulled like taffy through a needle's eye at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2015/05/monkeying-around/) on May 31, 2015.

2 Comments

  • James

    You might be interested in PixSteward. It’s a Mac app that pulls down all your Flickr original images, thumbs and metadata and stores them in a relational DB locally, so searching is very fast and you’ve essentially backed up your Flickr account with most of its functionality preserved. After an initial (sometimes painfully long) download, it stays connected to your Flickr account so you can quickly pull down new pictures from Flickr. If you edit the caption/description/keywords locally, that’s done in a live-connected mode so you stay in sync. There’s a video walk-thru at: http://pixsteward.com/manual.html

    • Alan Levine aka CogDog cogdogblog.com

      That looks pretty amazing, thanks, James! I wonder how it will do with my 43,000+ photos in flickr ;-) I also saw in the docs that you can even write your own SQL queries. Hope to check it out soon, thanks.

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