Adventures with Templater for Obsidian

I've been experimenting more with how I can handle managing my small side projects in Obsidian. More on that another time, but one piece I wanted was the ability to quickly and easily scaffold out a new project—which for me is multiple directories with some default notes.

I found that Templater can run scripts when the file is created. This post was very helpful in getting me started, and helping me understand what might be possible. I was able to make a script that will create multiple folders and notes at once. Since Templater's move and create_new functions cannot handle missing folders in a path, I needed to find a way to create folders. Luckily the Obsidian app is exposed and there is an API for that1.

Here's the final script in my template file:

 let projectName = await tp.system.prompt("Project Name")
 let projectPath = `Projects/${projectName}`
 let tasksPath = `Projects/${projectName}/Tasks`
 await app.vault.createFolder(projectPath)
 await app.vault.createFolder(tasksPath)
 let tasksFolder = app.vault.getAbstractFileByPath(tasksPath)
 await tp.file.move(`${projectPath}/${projectName}`)
 let tasksTemplate = await tp.file.find_tfile("Project Tasks (Template)")
 let tasks = tp.file.create_new(tasksTemplate, "Tasks", false, tasksFolder)

Here's how it works:

  1. I run the Templater: Create new note from template command and select my new project template.
  2. New note created.
  3. Asks for project name.
  4. Creates necessary folders.
  5. Moves new note to /Projects/Project Name, and renames it.
  6. Creates a new tasks note in /Projects/Project Name/Tasks.

In short, the newly created note creates a new home for itself and moves itself in.

There might be an easier way to do this, but this seems like a pretty good way to start off. Templater seems pretty powerful and I'm going to keep looking into it and see how it can help in other areas.

  1. There is a request to add this functionality into Templater itself. ↩︎

My Photography Workflow

I'm a casual photographer; hobbyist at best. A little over a year ago, in preparation for our second daughter arriving, I got a Sony A7C. I wanted a nice camera that wasn't too big, and that I knew could take better photos than my iPhone. The A7C fits the bill perfectly in my opinion. The lens it comes with feels impossibly small, which is great when I need to save space. I have since upgraded to a Sony FE 24–70 mm f/2.8 GM. It's more than I need, and is much, much larger, but I'm loving it.

I take a few hundred photos a month on the A7C. This isn’t a ton, but I still don’t want all the photos I take on my nice camera to bloat my iCloud Photos Library—most shots I get are not that good. I also want to make sure I have plenty of backups. After consuming dozens of YouTube videos and articles about photography workflows, I've come up with the following (somewhat simple) workflow that has served me quite well over the last year or so.

1. Take photo on camera

I shoot in RAW.

2. Import all photos into Lightroom

I have the Creative Cloud version. It's fine. I don't love having to use their cloud service to store the photos. I've tried Lightroom Classic and RAW Power, which both support local libraries, but I've found the interface in CC to work best for me. I might reconsider when I run out of cloud storage.

I tried keeping the Lightroom library on my Synology, but it really slowed imports down. For now, I have plenty of room on my MacBook Pro, and I'm keeping as much local as I can.

3. Flag photos as picked and rejected

This is one feature I quite like about Lightroom. As soon as I import photos, I go through them and flag the ones I want to edit and reject the ones that are obviously out of focus. The rest stay around mostly for good measure. I delete the rejected ones every few months—I go through them once more to make sure I didn't make any mistakes.

4. Edit

I'm still learning about editing. I have a preset (based on a preset that came with Lightroom that I found pleasing) that does some small adjustments. I apply that to most photos and spend special attention to ones I especially like. I try to edit the photos when I import them, otherwise, I'll procrastinate, and perhaps never edit them.

5. Export and Backup

I only export the edited photos. I export them to a folder on my MacBook as full-sized JPEGs at 100% quality. I then have a Hazel rule that watches that folder and does two things:

  1. It imports the exported photos into my iCloud Photos library.
  2. It moves them my Synology, sorting them automatically into folders based on the year and month they were taken1.

Now I have a copy of the edited photo in iCloud, and my Synology (which also backs up to Backblaze.) The RAW file remains in Lightroom, in their cloud. Right now, I have enough space on my laptop for there to also be another copy of the RAW file locally—which gets backed up to Time Machine and Backblaze as well. Long term, I'm not sure how to handle backups of the RAW files. Still looking into that.

That's it. The key points for me are editing at the same time I import, and being able to automatically import and backup my favorite shots with Hazel. I like keeping my iCloud and Lightroom libraries separate, and only adding my favorites from my good camera to iCloud—which is where I view them and share from. This process has been working pretty solidly (except for when my MacBook decides to not be connected to the Synology,) but I’m sure I’ll find something to change eventually, because that’s what I do—“fix” things that aren’t broken.

  1. I have Synology Photos pointed at the directory, but I rarely use it. I mainly setup because I could. ↩︎

An Itch to Blog

For whatever reason, about once a year, I get an itch to blog. I'm feeling it now. Maybe it's because there's more light in the day and I feel like I have more energy. Maybe I just want a new thing to tinker with. I'm not totally sure. But I'm just going with it.

I've got a list of things I'd like to write about—yes, some of them are left over from when I tried blogging last year. Nothing I have to say is very important or profound. I wholly expect that I will be the only person to read whatever I write. And that's okay with me.

I've lowered my expectations and simplified my process1. So, I'm setup for success 😀.

  1. TL;DR Micropub. Gonna give this process a go for a few posts before I write about it. ↩︎

This is my first Micropub post

I'm sure there are lots of bugs I need to work out.

Kid thumbs up and nodding head
Kid thumbs up and nodding head

Father's Day

I love being a dad. I even like being a dad most of the time. After 4 years though, I sometimes still wonder what in the world I have gotten myself into. It's really hard. I'm tired. All the time. My 4 year-old often reminds me that I'm just a tired dad. It can even be terrifying, knowing that I'm responsible for a couple actual, real-life human beings. That's a lot of responsibility! Being a dad is very humbling.

I try my hardest to be a good dad, but some days are just not that great. Sometimes I don't want to play with my kids. Sometimes I want to go to the bathroom without anyone watching me. Sometimes I get mad and yell. I know I shouldn't, but after long days of listening to stomping, slamming doors, "No," "I won't," "I refuse," and crying about not being able to use the clear tape, the rational part of my brain shuts down. I always feel bad when I shout, but I'm also amazed at how easily my daughter forgives and forgets1.

"There is no quiet anymore"
"There is no quiet anymore"

As cliché as it sounds, in the quiet moments when the kids smile at me or come give me unsolicited hugs, it all seems worth it. A former coworker said that kids are 51% worth it. I think mine are at least 52% worth it. Despite the exhaustion and everything else that comes with being a parent, I love my kids. And I love my wife. Without her, I would probably spend most of my days hiding under the bed.

Now I'm off to get cheese out the carpet.

  1. One afternoon, I apologized for yelling at her that morning. She responded, "You did? Hmm, okay. I don't remember that." This is coming from the girl who often reminds us of the time my wife and I went on a trip and left her with grandma a few years ago, when she wasn't even 2 yet. ↩︎