More Metadata Woes

I’ve mentioned before that managing my digital photos is not exactly problem free. I’ve just noticed the latest little problem.

For some reason, Microsoft’s Vista insists on lying to me about the time when a photo is taken. It tells me that the photo was taken one hour later than it actually was. Let me illustrate this. I have a photo that I know was taken at 08:16 am on the 23rd September 2007. I know this a) because I took the photo at that time and b) the EXIF information created by the camera and attached to the file says it was taken at 08:16am.

OK, so then I review my photos within Windows Live Photo Gallery, and I notice something odd. WLPG swears blind that the photo was taken at 09:16 am. Here’s the evidence:

test image 1

Except it wasn’t. It was taken at 08:16 am. OK, so then I look at it with Vista’s Windows Explorer. This seems to have come down with schizophrenia: while the details pane at the bottom shows the incorrect time of 09:16 am, the cursor pop-up shows the correct time of 08:16am…

Test image 2

What on earth is going on here? Well, it turns out that I have installed Microsoft’s own Photo Info plugin onto my Vista. And Photo Info replaces Windows Explorer’s own cursor pop-up with its own more detailed pop-up. So Photo Info gets it right, but Windows Explorer gets it wrong? It certainly seems that way…

Test image 4

So, Microsoft’s Photo Info tells the truth, while Microsoft’s Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Explorer lie through their teeth. Wonderful. My suspicion is that the fact that we are currently in European summertime has something to do with all this. I wonder what I will find next month when we are back to wintertime?

The moral of the story is that bug-free software is as rare as hen’s teeth.

Update 6th October 2007: I think the cause has been tracked down. Photo Info seems to display the value of the EXIF metadata field for the date/time when the photo was taken. However, Vista’s Windows Explorer and Windows Live Photo Gallery doesn’t use this. Instead, they look at the XMP metadata field for the date/timestamp. Now, EXIF has a single absolute value, whereas XMP uses GMT plus a timezone offset. The XMP value had been written by IDimager – and the developer has acknowledged that Daylight Savings Time wasn’t being accounted for. That’s now been fixed, but I’ll wait to see what happens when we revert to Wintertime at the end of the month before I conclude that the issue has been resolved…

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
This entry was posted in Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to More Metadata Woes

  1. Pingback: Managing Photo Libraries – Part 5 | Geoff Coupe's Blog

  2. Pingback: Managing Photo Libraries – Part 6 | Geoff Coupe's Blog

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