Nov 042013
 

I’ve been using a diving backplate and harness from Deep Sea Supply for my scuba diving for a number of years now. The harness I use is somewhat Hogarthian, which in simple terms means it is a single piece of webbing and does not include any pockets or weight system integration. With this configuration the best method for using weights with a backplate is to use a weight belt, since it allows for separate ditching. However, weight belts and I don’t get along well unless I use suspenders, which then interferes with the harness and introduces entanglement scenarios I’d rather avoid.

I started by using a combination of bolt on weight plates from DSS (which work great) and small weight pockets on the belt webbing near the base of the backplate. This works well but it means that I have a lot of weight on me which is not quickly ditch-able (weights can be removed from the small pockets, but not quickly). In an effort to avoid this issue I looked at a number of different options for adding ditchable weights to a backplate setup.

I settled on the DiveRite 16LB QB Weight Pocket (#AC3216) as a ditchable weight system for my backplate setup:

Backplate with DiveRite 16LB QB Weight Pocket

The first complaint I had about the system for my usage is the webbing mount point when connected horizontally (the system supports both methods). In the horizontal scenario the webbing connection to the 2″ waist belt is quite loose and will side over standard weight keepers (as seen in the photo below).

16LB QB Weight Pocket

I had to purchase plastic weight keepers with extended D rings in order to keep the pockets in place and secured up against the backplate (as seen in photo below).

16LB QB Weight Pocket attached with belt D ring

The system loads easily and feels secure. The quick release pull works with an expected level of force, but I’ve found the extra velcro stabilizer strap requires a second expenditure of force to release, which could be confusing if a third party is doing the pulling in a rescue scenario.

DSS backplate with DiveRite 16LB QB Weight Pocket

The product is priced well (nothing in diving is cheap) and feels quite well made. The manufacture says each weight pocket is able to accommodate 8 lb of weight for a total of 16lb, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could double that. I’m using single plastic coated weights in each pocket, and it handles that with only 50% of the weight capacity used. If you are looking for a ditch-able weight system for a backplate harness (or any 2″ webbing harness system) I recommend giving this product a look.

Sep 072013
 

I’ve been using Gallery (aka Menalto) for almost a decade, starting with Gallery1, now up to Gallery3 in the current release. In the early days the work-flow for adding and providing meta data about photos wasn’t so easy. That got better with Gallery Remote, which I used for many years. However, the Gallery Remote workflow was still clumsy. If I was going to stay with Gallery in any shape it needed to be much easier.

Thankfully alloyphoto made that much easier – his Lightroom Gallery Export Plug-in works extremely well with Gallery3. It works similarly to other export plugins (Flickr, SmugMug, etc) – setup albums, photo properties, and publish to your Gallery3 site. Any content changes made in Lightroom (including image or album removal) can be published back the the Gallery3 site.

gallery3 publish services

When you first start out with the Gallery3 publish service in Lightroom it will not have any of your existing gallery3 albums or images. This can be remedied by first running the Import albums process, and then associating images in Lightroom with ones retrieved from the Gallery3 instance.

lightroom gallery3 plugin import albums

lightroom gallery3 plugin albums

Once the photos are associated with the Lightroom library, new versions of previously created gallery photos can be uploaded again. This is helpful if you have done some updating of previous image metadata or tags, added or updated exif gps data, or simply applied new image processing rules. In my case because I have so many albums and images already out on the site (and the fact that I am running a very low resource server) I chose to change the associate images options to do specific large albums one at a time before trying the entire library. I’ve found that in my case this process is quite time and resource consuming, so if you have a lot to do you may want to grab a cup of tea while you wait. I also made changes to which images are associated as I typically have both jpg and RAW versions of the same files in my library from previous exports – in my case I want to make sure I’m associating the RAW files instead of any generated jpg files.

lightroom gallery3 plugin associate images

lightroom gallery3 plugin associate images settings

One thing I really appreciate in this plugin is the ability to set the number of albums the plugin accesses at a time, and set a throttled response rate. This probably doesn’t apply to everyone – but since I run my site on a Amazon EC2 Micro instance with only bursting CPU it really helps.

gallery3 publish service server options

I enthusiastically recommend this plugin if you have Gallery3 and Lightroom. The plugin is not free, but at $15 it is more than worth it for me in the sheer amount of time it has saved me by streamlining my workflow. One of the main reasons I get so behind in publishing my photos is the large amount of work that I had to do previously – Now everything I’m working on is controlled via Lightroom and that takes all of the headache out of maintaining multiple sets of data.

Lightroom Gallery Publish Plugin home page
Gallery Plug-in at Adobe Exchange

Features

  • Supports Export operations
  • Supports Publish Services in Lightroom 3 and above
  • Supports multiple hosting servers and multiple accounts
  • Supports nested album structures
  • Supports custom sorting in published albums
  • Allows you to import the album structure from the hosting environment into your Lightroom catalog
  • Allows you to associate existing photos with photos in your Lightroom catalog
  • Supports photo keywords (tags) and comments
  • The plug-in automatically checks if a new version is available and updates itself with one click

Requirements

  • Lightroom 2 (2.4 – 2.7): Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X
  • Lightroom 3 (3.3 – 3.6): Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X
  • Lightroom 4 (4.0 – 4.4): Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X
  • Lightroom 5 (5.0): Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac OS X
  • Gallery 3.0.1 (and above) hosting service with the following modules enabled:
    • Comments
    • Exif Data
    • Exif GPS Data (if you want your Gallery show map locations for geoencoded photos)
    • REST API
    • Tags
    • Lightroom Plugin Helper – see the download link on the side bar on the right