The Digi-Cult

A New Religion for a Digital Age

Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Digital Railroad Fail Update.

Posted by Rod Leland on October 30, 2008

Rob Galbraith has posted an update to the DRR Fail situation.  It seems through some negotiations, a “compromise” has been reached to (feebly) help the DRR customers whose files are still being held hostage.

“As part of the process of terminating the business operations of Digital Railroad, Diablo Management Group has informed PhotoShelter of their intent to shut down the DRR site as early as 11:59PM, PST, on Friday October 31. After this point, it is very likely that all the images located on the Digital Railroad servers could be permanently inaccessible. Given the strong possibility of this event, PhotoShelter, on its own initiative, is strongly suggesting that customers migrate their files from Digital Railroad immediately. Digital Railroad, at the present time, has no plans or resources to accomplish this task.”

Great, more time for the DRR users to trasnser the files.  Hopefully the giant outrage across the industry online had something to do with this. The problem is that this situation is still regarded as “highly fluid” and could change with no notice.  Bottom line, again, Get your stuff off the servers as QUICKLY as you can.  And sign up for a photoshelter account.

-Rod Leland


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Digital Railroad Derailed.

Posted by Rod Leland on October 30, 2008

Digital Railroad has officially shut its doors.  The service that operated for four years at the domain went offline a couple days ago.  DRR operated a service for photographers to backup, archive, and sell stock photos online.  The site had 1900 users (and even a few BIG wire services) that stored and archived thousands upon thousands of photos on the site to introduce geographic redundancy into their workflow, and to make money.

Two days ago, the admins of the site sent out an email to their users informing them that they were shutting down and had 24 hours to offload any photos they wished to keep.  This act by the higher-ups at DRR is completely out of line in my mind.  Shutting the doors is one thing, but leaving thousands of people high-and-dry with little to no notice is completely inexcusable. They likely didn’t think things through too much either, as this notice from the admins had users franticly migrating their photos for syndication elsewhere all at the same time, which inevitably crashed the servers.

There were rumblings around the middle of the month when DRR announced major shuffling of management at the company, as well as some layoffs.  It’s clear now, however, that the wheels have completely fallen off.  The phones won’t get picked up at their office. The site leaves only a paltry text-based announcement/apology.

Thankfully, I was personally unaffected by DRR’s failure.  I use a competing service, Photoshelter.  I believe in the people there, the service, the technology behind their servers, and more importantly, Photoshelter is integrated directly into my sorting/ingesting/viewing app, Photo Mechanic. Photoshelter, in yet another great business move, has built a migration tool for DRR users to help them retain their meticulously created keywords and bring the files straight across to the Photoshelter servers.  The guys over at Photoshelter have also offered to honor 3 months worth of DRR subscription, effectively giving most DRR users three free months at Photoshelter.

The final numbers aren’t in yet, but it appears photographers have had mixed results recovering their data.  Remember, because of the space constraints most photographers only keep their best-of, portfolio, crowning, one-of-a-kind shots online.  Hopefully most of the DRR users had the sense to keep their best photos stored elsewhere as well.  The loss of a carefully organized and key-word organized database is quite a loss nonetheless.

R.I.P. Digital Railroad, we barely got to know each other.

-Rod Leland

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Photos in a 3D Environment

Posted by Matt Harbottle on October 29, 2008

With this new technology, you will never want to look at a digital photo in “old” conventional ways again.  The Photosynth technology, developed by Noah Snavely (UW), Steve Seitz (UW), Richard Szeliski (Microsoft Research), first took flight in a prototype called “Photo Tourism” in 2006.  That technology later evolved into what we now know as “Photosynth,” in partnership with Microsoft Live Labs.

Photosynth is a visual medium that allows a person to analyze or compile sets of digital photographs of a place or object, in a 3D environment.  How you say?  Well this groundbreaking technology calculates the places or objects in a 3D space by pinpointing distinctive features and similarities from one photo to another.  Once everything is calculated, Photosynth arranges all the flat images in an order that a user can then rotate around, zoom in, or just move around to view whatever it is they want to look at.  All a person has to do is visit to check it out.

Understandably, for this program to work, a fast graphics card is needed due to Photosynth being heavy on graphics hardware.  The problem for some is that it only supports Windows Xp or Vista on the PC, and Mac users must be running Windows for the program to work.  So if your computer supports what was listed above, you’re pretty much set, ready to go.

All a person needs to do is download the free application from to create the synths and download the web browser plug-in to view them.  Once that is done you can create your own synths or share photos with others to compile into synths as well. 

The next step for the Photosynth team is to join with MSN within the next year.  This will help them to share the technology with a wider audience, seeing as synths will become a part of the experience on


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I Called it.

Posted by Rod Leland on September 22, 2008

One of my favorite photographers, who is among the best in the world and I’ve met quite a few times, Vincent Laforet, just wrote a great post on his blog entitled ‘Something very interesting is coming both to this blog and our industry’

It’s essentially all about being the first photographer in North America to use and shoot the 5D MKII that I wrote about last week.  It’s as if he read my post first (we use a lot of the same terms, like ‘game-changer’).  A very good read and important to share, even if to just stoke my ego.


Coming within 48: Social Mesh Networking and Natural Disasters

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