Friday, September 29, 2017

I Know What I Did Last Summer

Also these quick subjects:

  • New Titles
  • Skype with me!
  • Next Cameracraft 
  • Next Seminars
  • Myanmar Photo Workshop
  • Update to Last Month's Post
  • Need your Help

Let's do the quick things first.

New Titles

Olympus E-M1 II by Tony Phillips is now out!

The Sony Alpha 9 ebook is out too!  And to help cut through some of the confusion for people coming to the A9 from different camera brands, here are two videos I made:

Skype With Me!

A lot of people ask me technical questions about many photography subjects, and I try my best to answer them via email.  But sometimes the questions are deeper an what can properly be handled in an email conversation, and so for those who need it I'm now offering a Skype AMA (Ask Me Anything) service.  $25 for 15 minutes.  (Such a deal!)  Contact me for more info and to schedule a time.

Next Cameracraft

I talk with Cheryl Walsh who creates these amazing underwater portraits in the pool of her backyard. :-)  Subscribe to Cameracraft magazine and see some amazing creativity along with technical insights into equipment that you just won't find anywhere else.

Next Seminars
Tacoma, Washington Seminar - even the experienced photographers got a lot out of it!
August marked the 10th anniversary of The Friedman Archives High-Impact Photography Seminars, spreading clarity, intuition and common sense in an industry that desperately needs it.  :-)  Here's what one of the local photo club presidents had to say about a seminar I did just for their club:

"Gary is an entertaining speaker, and came prepared with excellent slides, handouts to facilitate note taking, effective demos, and even some “freebies” that he provided for the attendees. He’s able to take complicated topics and present them to people who may not be technically proficient.  If you are considering hosting a seminar on any aspect of photography, I’d suggest you consider Gary’s program. I know anyone that attends will find much to learn, or re-learn, especially as it relates to controversial topics such as “RAW versus JPG”. - John Triebe, President, Digital Imaging Group, SaddleBrooke

There has been no time to plan any others, which means 2018 is wide open.  Have your photo club get in touch with me - I'll bring the seminar anywhere in the world where we can gather 40+ people.  Your club will be abuzz for months and everything will be brought up to the same level which of course helps future learning.

Not a member of a photo club?  Then this is for you!

Myanmar Photo Workshop

Last November, I shared with you some photographic lessons from our trip to Iceland.  In that blog post I sang the praises of our photo guide, Óli Haukur from who was not only an outstanding guide, but also an excellent photographer, making him the one you want to take you to all the right photo locations at all the right times of day.

Óli is now branching out, and conducting photo tours of Myanmar, about as opposite as Iceland as you can get. :-)  His next event happens in December and I can't recommend his tours highly enough.  Find out more at  Save yourself days of research and planning, and enjoy your trip instead! :-)

Myanmar photo workshop

Update to last month's post

Last month's blog was published before it was fully finished, but I had to leave on a 3-week trip.  The point of the post was that out-of-camera high-ISO JPGs are now so much better than those from just 5 years ago that I hardly ever process the RAW files anymore to obtain cleaner output.  And while I showed how good the new .jpgs are from modern cameras, I neglected to show a comparison from an older camera.  That's been fixed.

I Know What I Did Last Summer

[Note: This has little to do with photography.  I do this from time to time.  GF]

My Dad in 2005, holding the first edition.
One wireless flash and one umbrella. :-)
Last year I alluded to a major project I was working on that was occupying quite a bit of time.  The project was the 2nd edition of my father's book on Constraint Theory, the groundbreaking Systems Engineering theory on which his Ph.D. dissertation was based and which he's been teaching at USC at the graduate level for the last 20 years.

What made it a melancholy event is that my Dad has Alzheimer's disease, and the book was finally published a few months after he had to stop teaching because of his memory loss.

Constraint Theory is most useful for extremely large engineering projects, like a military aircraft, where you have millions of requirements and millions of unknowns for which you have to solve.  Very often these requirements conflict with each other yet nobody realizes it, resulting in inevitable cost overruns and schedule slips.  My dad's theory can quickly identify the conflicts within a computer model of the project, and even offer suggestions on how to resolve them, all without needing to do an exhaustive, brute-force search of all the variables which can take lifetimes via computer, even for systems of low complexity.

Back in 2004 my father and I created the first edition of the book; and last summer I worked closely with one of his graduate students who had taken my Dad's theory to the next level, making it about a trillion times more efficient.

I inherited a lot from my dad, including the tendency to see problems and come up to solutions to those problems long before the rest of the world realized there was even a problem.  (A bad thing if you're an inventor!)  And so I truly believe that 100 years from now, history will judge my efforts on these books to be one of the most important things I've ever done - even if the world doesn't fully realize that there's a problem right now.

The new edition is now available from Springer Academic Publishers, and my Dad's groundbreaking theory will continue to be taught at the USC School of Engineering for the foreseeable future.

I haven't worked with conventional publishers for a long time, and so in the process of making this book I took a special interest in how they handled the conversions for the Kindle and other e-readers (a problem that has plagued me for quite some time).  It's especially difficult if your text contains a lot of figures, tables, and equations (as my books do).  Anyway, the big publishing companies haven't really solved the problem either.  They outsource the conversion to India where it's coded by hand and literally takes months and they don't really respect the value of the layout you provided unless you complain loudly.  (That added even more months to the project.)

More detail about Constraint Theory can be found here.
My Dad, with the 2nd edition.  Same lighting.
"The guy who wrote this sure seems sure of himself!"
Need Your Help

I'm in need of a program that searches my local hard drives for a particular image (and slight variations of that image, such as different size, slightly photoshopped, etc.)  I'm not talking about popular programs like "Dup Detector" which will point out ALL duplicates of ALL of your images on your hard drive - I want to tell it to find a specific image.  Kind of like doing a web search for an image, but on your local drive (on a Windows 7 machine in my case).

I've tried a few - ImgSeek, VisiPics, VS Duplicate Image Finder, Duplicate Photo Finder, Similar Images... these all either crashed when indexing my drive, or didn't allow me to specify an image.  Suggestions in the comments section would be much appreciated!

Until next time...
Yours Truly, Gary Friedman


  1. Hi Gary,

    I was reading about Constraint Theory when I was in school so many years ago. I never put the fact that you had the same last name as the guy who was writing papers on it as something more interesting than two guys had the same last name. That you were an inventor and an engineer offered my mapping ability no additional clue (duh). I am glad you were able to work with your Dad, his grad student (Phan Phan - I looked it up). You're right. This is seminal work that will have an impact for years and years to come. I hope your father continues to be a source of inspiration for you and many others. And more importantly, reminding us the importance of being a good son and knowing that familial bonds is the best part of all of us.

    1. Wow, what are the odds? :-) Thanks for your kind words, and for being that one unlikely photographer who also is well-versed in a very obscure systems engineering theory.

    2. Gary,

      Long ago as a PhD student, I wrote a short paper on "Untended Complexity Functions", arguing that as systems (human-made) became more complex, intended (sometimes undesirable) consequences would occur, inevitably. It seems your Dad put teeth into that idea, but at the design–implementation stage. Sounds brilliant.

  2. Hi Gary. It's been a while since I tried it but take a look at iMatch, its search tool allows you to search by sketch and even for visually similar images which is what I think you are looking for. It's ironic that one has to search in order to find a search tool!

  3. Hi Gary,
    I use iMatch for my Digital Assets, but for a purely powerful, simple search tool I use a utility called Cathy, by Rob Vasiceka ss my media & file cataloging tool. Check it out at

    1. I just sat through iMatch's 5-minute video; it looks like a heavy database program but nowhere did I see where it could search for an image similar to the one you provide. I'll check into Cathy shortly... Thanks for these suggestions!

    2. Just looked at Cathy. Have you actually used this to search for a similar image? The description says "Searching capabilities are based on file name, date and size." which tells me it won't do what I need. I'm looking for similar images (before / after photoshop, resizing, etc.)

  4. Dup Detector can compare a singe picture to your pictures, just choose the 3rd option in Method: Compare single image to primary datafile. I believe it does what you want. (

    It is a very old program from 2002. However, it runs on Windows 7 and 10.
    Building the primary database of your images takes some time.

    1. Aha! The third option. Thank you for pointing this out! I'll build an index of my hard drives tonight and see if it crashes.

    2. I have no confidence in Dup Detector. The main window can't resize to reveal all of its contents, and when I want it to build an index from an image list of multiple hard drives, it complains that "You need at least 2 image files to process". The help files aren't openable in Windows 7 (and Microsoft's add-in doesn't work). Have you had luck indexing multiple drives from an image list?

    3. I have just tried building an image database from an image list with directories from 2 drives, and it worked well. However, it took about 2 hour for 54623 image files. Maybe your number of image files is over the top for this old program?

      Help files in the old .hlp format can’t be read by Win 7 or newer. I never used the help files, but the online instructions on

      There is also an YouTube video:

  5. Hi Gary

    Google photos can do a search on photograph content, but I know not how. I have all mine backed up with the original camera file names, but if I do a search - for example 'dog' - it shows all those with a dog in them.
    If this is the sort of functionality you are looking for you may be able to 'reverse engineer' it.
    I seem to recall that google allows a search of its main database from an image. Again no idea how.

    1. Google photos can search for images that have been uploaded (or that already exist on the web); not on your local hard drive. I need the hard drive searched.

  6. Hi Gary

    you could try PictureRelate ( It may do exactly what you want.

    1. Just downloaded it. It's not as intuitive as the programmers think. I can right-click on an image and choose "Search Similar", but how do I tell it what directories to search against?

    2. Hi Gary
      Did you find a solution?
      I tested PictureRelate and it is far better than Dup Detector. However also this program is no longer developed, latest version is from 2012.

      You can tell it what directories to search aginst buy putting all the diretories paths i a text file and import this text file.
      The program will make a picture database file, so no limit on number of pictures.

      I tested it on a cheap Windows 10 PC, with I5 processor.
      Pictures were stores in 6 different directories on 3 different internal and external harddrives.
      34624 pictures, total size 195 GB.
      Took 2 hours to read alle files.
      Picture database size was 680 MB.
      Similar search worked well and very fast.
      You can adjust the search parameters, and store different search settings.
      You should give it another try.

    3. Hi, Lars! Actually I thought PictureRelate would be my savior; however it ran for over a week building an index of a 4 TB hard drive, and as far as I could tell had crashed. Based on the metrics you gave it should have taken about 40x more than you, or 80 hours. I gave it much more time than that. So I've given up for now. :-(

  7. Hi Gary, I'm no engineer or even a programmer. Maybe Goodsync can help you. I use it to analyze and backup my image database. It has capabilities that I cannot begin to understand, well maybe that's a bit self deprecating. It has fairly well documented online help, its cheap to own and their support I'd pretty good. I know it can do deep dives into file structures but I have no idea how to use it to that extent or if it can help but it's worth a look see. Also one other resource you might try is Tim Grey at Good luck, Regards George