What Focal Lengths do I take photos at? Part 2 – Charting

So in my previous post I showed how you can leverage PowerShell and the .NET framework to analyse your photo collection and get some meaningful statistics from them, in my example figuring out the frequency distribution of the focal lengths at which you take your photographs. 

The results are presented in a simple hash table, which does the job but doesn’t make it very easy to visualise the results, presenting the data in a chart would make the output a lot easier to understand.  You could just copy past the output into Excel and create a chart from the data, but I thought there must be a way to do this within PowerShell; so after a quick dig and a very helpful blog post later this is what I came up with:

Changes

Once your script grows over a 100 lines it starts to get really hard to keep track of what’s going on, so whilst functions are great at wrapping up bits of repeatable and reusable code, I find they are good for breaking your script down into easy to manage sections of code.  Finally I coordinate the script via control logic in the ‘main’ at the end of the script, which is around 15 line of code including comments, but very readable!

The two functions (and parameters) I have added are:

  • get-FocalLengths <files>
    • returns the frequency distribution in a hashtable
  • createChart <hashtable of values> <title> <x-axis title> <y-axis title>
    • Takes a hashtable (which doesn’t have to be focal lengths) and creates a chart, prints it to screen and writes it to a file

Part of the createChart function requires that you load some additional .NET assemblies, these are not part of the standard .NET 3.5 SP1 package, but are a Microsoft add-on, if you don’t have them installed on your machine when you run the code we need to handle that error.

When the script loads assembly the output of that operation is captured in the $assembly variable, if $assembly equals null, then nothing was loaded i.e. you don’t have the “System.Windows.Forms.DataVisualization” assembly on you pc.  In this case my error handling code launches an internet explorer to the download page for the assembly and exits the script.

$assembly = [Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("System.Windows.Forms.DataVisualization") if($assembly -eq $null) { Write-Host "Charting module not installed, please install it" # launch IE and navigate to the correct page $ie = New-Object -ComObject InternetExplorer.Application $ie.Navigate("http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=14422") $ie.Visible = $true break }

Source

I’ve moved the source code for this project into GitHub and you can down load the source code here:

https://github.com/stevenaskwith/Focal-Lengths/blob/master/get-FocalLengths.ps1 click the “RAW” button and save as to grab a copy of the ps1.

Usage

Call the script in the same way as the previous version:

.\get-Focallengths –Path “c:\images” –fileType “.png” –model “Canon EOS 7D”

or drop the parameters you don’t need and let the script use it’s defaults e.g.

.\get-Focallengths –Path “c:\images”

Summary

Firing the script against my personal photo collection resulted in a nice graph shown below.  It’s quite obvious to see now that I either take my zoomed all the way in or out.  Now I’ve just got to pick where to spend my money…

THIS POSTING IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND INFERS NO WARRANTIES OR RIGHTS, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK

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What Focal Lengths do I take photos at?

I’ve been working with PowerShell for sometime and I have recently been encouraged to share some of the work that I’ve been doing.  So I thought I’d start out with a fun one. 

I have a SLR camera and I’m considering buying a new Lens, but what I’d like to know before I go and purchase one is: What Focal Lengths do I take my Photos at?  More importantly what focal length do I take most of my photos at; so I can focus my money on a lens that I’m going to use a lot!  Here’s what I came up with:

What the script will do:

  • Find all the files in a directory structure with a given file extension
  • Load each image and gather up it’s focal length and the type of camera that took it
  • If the camera type matches what we are looking for, add the focal length to the running score
  • Print the frequency distribution on focal length to screen

Script

# setup default parameters if none were specified param([string]$path = (get-location), # current path [string]$fileType = ".jpg", # search for .jpg [string]$model = "Canon EOS 550D") # default camera type # Clear the Screen clear ##### Assemblies # load the .NET Assembly we will be using Add-Type -AssemblyName System.Drawing ##### Constants $filter = "*" + $fileType # clean up the search filter $Encode = new-object System.Text.ASCIIEncoding # find all the image files we are interested in $files = get-childitem -recurse $path -filter $filter # and how many we found $totalFiles = $files.count ##### Varibles $image = $null $imageHash = @{} $i = 0 $focalLength = $null ##### Main # if some files were returned if ($files -ne $null) { foreach ($file in $files) { # load image by statically calling a method from .NET $image = [System.Drawing.Imaging.Metafile]::FromFile($file.FullName) # try to get the ExIf data (silently fail if the data can't be found) # http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/TagNames/EXIF.html try { # get the Focal Length from the Metadata code 37386 $focalLength = $image.GetPropertyItem(37386).Value[0] # get model data from the Metadata code 272 $modelByte = $image.GetPropertyItem(272) # convert the model data to a String from a Byte Array $imageModel = $Encode.GetString($modelByte.Value) # unload image $image.Dispose() } catch { #do nothing with the catch } # if the file contained both focalLength and A modelName if(($focalLength -ne $null) -and ($imageModel -eq $model)) { if($imageHash.containsKey($focalLength)) { # incriment count by 1 if focal length is already in hash table $count = $imageHash.Get_Item($focalLength) $count++ $imageHash.Set_Item($focalLength,$count) } else { # Add focal length to Hash Table if it doesn't exist $imageHash.add($focalLength,1) } } # Calculate the current percentage complete $i++ $percentComplete = [math]::round((($i/$totalFiles) * 100), 0) # Update that lovely percentage bar... Write-Progress -Activity:"Loading Focal Lengths" -status "$i of $totalFiles Complete:" -PercentComplete $percentComplete } # print results in ascending order of focal length $imageHash.GetEnumerator() | Sort-Object Name } else { Write-Host "No files found" }

Usage

Copy the script into a ps1 file and call it like so:

.\get-Focallengths –Path “c:\images” –fileType “.png” –model “Canon EOS 7D”

or drop the parameters you don’t need and let the script use it’s defaults e.g.

.\get-Focallengths –Path “c:\images”

Summary

I started out thinking this script was going to be trivial, but it’s turned into quite a good demonstration project of a lot of PowerShell’s abilities, specifically it’s ability to access the .NET framework.

THIS POSTING IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND INFERS NO WARRANTIES OR RIGHTS, USE AT YOUR OWN RISK