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Before you import your stills, you can set the default duration in the preferences.
You can only use one transition between clips or stills. If you use automate to sequence, you can use the default transition between all clips or stills. Be aware of handles however. You may want to read up on that in the help file or manual.
I imported into the project resources many still photos. The defaut time for each seems to be 5.1 second. If I drag them into the timeline, select them all and change the duration there are time gaps between images...how can I scrunch them together easily OR how can I change the default time duration before I drag them to the timeline?
When you've selected your still and used the Speed/Duration command, be sure to tick the "Ripple Edit, Shifting Trailing Clips" option in the panel. That will remove any empty space between clips that would otherwise be generated when decreasing the duration of your clips.
Second...if I have all my photos on a timeline can I set the transition effect on more than two at a time? Can I set the transition for all of them at once (a different query)
Yes, though there are two preliminary steps. First, in the Effects panel click the flyout button (that stack of pancakes with the little downward facing arrow) or go to Edit > Preferences > General and select the Default Transition Duration option and change it to your desired setting. Second, in the Effects panel, select the transition you want and right-click it and select "Set Selected as Default Transition".
Now, select your clips/stills in the timeline and go to Sequence > Apply Default Transitions to Selection; the transition you just set up will be applied to all of your clips. Note that, by default, this will add audio transitions as well, if you're using combined video/audio clips (probably not a worry in your case as you're using stills), but you can hold down the Alt key to select just the video or just the audio portions of your clips, if you only want one transition type or the other. You can also temporarily lock any tracks where you don't want transitions before you use the command.
Also, since you're working with stills, you don't have to worry about handles; if you import a still into Premiere, even if its duration is only a single frame, you have an indefinite/infinite amount of frames to use for editing and transition purposes. Video/audio clips are a different story, of course...