I have been more than just a little disappointed and frustrated with the Microsoft supplied Windows Store Photo App for Windows 8 because I have tons of digital images stored on networked drives that are nearly impossible to view in the Microsoft default app. The MS Photos app is great if your digital photos are stored on the local computer in the default location and/or somewhere on one of the supported cloud providers, SkyDrive, Facebook, Flickr, etc.
The problem for people like me who are hobbyist photographers is the non feasibility of putting everything in the cloud (even if I desired to do this, multi terabytes of storage would cost me dearly). Coupled with the weak functionality of the MS Photos App for someone who wants to view EXIF information, etc. on individual images, caching issues on the Photos App live tile (delete something in Pictures and unless you delete personal info from ALL LIVE TILES from the Start Screen using Charms, Settings, Tiles, clear personal information, the deleted content refuses to disappear) have frustrated me to a fare thee well.
So I’ve been looking around for a Windows Store App that fit my needs. I found an app called Gallery HD from Frozen Volcano that solves a lot of my problems. In a lot of ways, it’s what the MS App should have been.
I’ve added 10 folders so far. You drill down in a Windows Media Center like manner and more functionality is revealed.
Swipe up or right click to reveal a menu of options as shown above.
Select Properties, and if EXIF info is available, it is displayed.
You can share with other apps easily as well.
Initial setup is pretty easy, your default Pictures library will be auto-populated, but the file picker easily lets you add other local locations, including removable media.
Adding networked resources is a little more difficult if you do not use a Homegroup, as you need to know the UNC path (the format is \\computername\foldername), which is the same issue as found on the default Microsoft Photos App, but at least an interface is provided for you to enter this information.
Gallery HD has a Live Tile which cycles through mini collages of your digital images (this is one area where I prefer the method used by the Microsoft app).
You will only get one day to try this app, but after two hours, I spent the $2.99 to get the ad free version. I figure the $2.99 versus the extreme frustration with the MS App speaks for itself. I wish Microsoft would have provided a better free solution for such a high profile application, but I certainly appreciate what the folks at Frozen Volcano have done to put me out of my misery.
I note that the Gallery HD app is also supposed to handle Video, but I have not experimented with that aspect of the app yet.
Yesterday (see previous post) I wrote a little about the newly released Microsoft RAW Codec. One of the first things I did was try my latest batch of Nikon RAW NEF files from a balloon festival earlier this month. I had so-so results, especially inside Windows Media Center, where thumbnails appeared, but after selecting an individual image file, WMC could not display it. This set of images was shot with a D7000 DX camera, in order to take advantage of the longer reach of FX lenses used with it. I normally carry both a D700 and a D7000.
As it turns out, for whatever reason, the Microsoft RAW Codec does not support the D7000. I’m not sure why, since Adobe and others now support it, and the D7000 has been available since mid October 2010.
Anyway, if you have a supported camera, the new codec most definitely is supported inside Windows Media Center if you want to view your RAW images there. You won’t get detailed EXIF info in View Details, but you certainly can display your images on a large screen. The screen capture below shows one of the folders (highlighted) from an Orchid Show I attended in 2009 where I shot with my D700 and the Nikon 105mm Macro lens. Thumbnails appear as expected.