Archive for August, 2006

Picasa 2- A Google Wonder!

Posted on August 25, 2006. Filed under: Google Picasa, Google Toys, Image Editing, journalistic, Photo Editing, The Gimp, XP Toys | Tags: , , , |

For those of you looking to make your digital photography easier and less time consuming, I have some good news for you. There are easy to use and free programs out there! Personally, I never seemed to find the time to go through the myriad of images and re-size them so that I could send them to family and friends or put them up on the blog. Long has been my search for a free tool that would allow me to easily re-size multiple images at one time.

While looking for something to resize images I ran across Google’s free photo Organizer, Picasa. So, I thought, what the heck? It’s free and by Google, why not give it a try? I was impressed. Google has made it very easy to find and modify my pictures, although it does not have the capability to re-size multiple images at one time. Keep in mind that I am still exploring all of Picasa’s capabilities. Please see my upcoming post on XP Toys for more information on multiple image resizing.

Picasa Screenshot

First off, Picasa asks you if you would like it to scan your hardrive or a particular folder for any photos. After it’s done you will have access to these folders and photos every time you open Picasa and will not have to re-go the scanning process. It does however, update each time you open Picasa and adds any new pictures found on your hardrive.Then you can move, rename, and label your photos for easier identification and location. All of the features I mention can be done with ease and without extensive knowledge of the program.

One of my favorite functions of Picasa is it’s star rating system. When you are viewing your pictures and find one that you especially like, but may not have the time to edit, label, and organize it at the time, you can just click the star icon which is easily located within Picasa. This marks the image with a star within your folder for easy location of the pictures you would like to revisit, edit, share, or print. You can even search your folders, by stars, to located them quickly. It also has a hold button that places the held images in a picture tray for later editing. You can also email, print, export, make a collage, and it even has a Blog this! feature for those using Blogger (unfortunately I don’t). You can create webpages, slideshows, and much more.

While viewing individual photos it gives you all of the photo information at the bottom. The folder/file name, the date it was taken, and the pixel and file size. If you choose to email a photo, Picasa automatically re-sizes the image for you. The printing feature allows you to choose from many options and makes it easy to print multiple images on one page in standard sizes (3×5, wallets, 4×6,etc.)

Picasa’s editing tools are very easy to use. You have your basic fixes that most programs come with (crop, contrast, red eye, straighten, etc.). Then you have a tab for Tuning which allows you to control the fill light, highlights, shadows, and color temperature.

Lastly, you have the Effects tab. You can apply a soft focus to concentrate on an adorable face or object, without the background images distracting the viewer. You can add a glow or tint, sharpen the image, warmify it, or turn it in to a black & white or sepia. You can apply a color tint to the entire picture or you can just add a graduated tint. This feature I found wonderful for landscape photos. There is also a filtered b&w feature that creates neat possibilities.

Here is a demo web page I made using Picasa. It includes edited photo samples using the different techniques discussed above.

Collage Feature

All in all, I give Google a A+ for their effort put in to making a free and user friendly tool to manage your images.

Please also read my upcoming posts on XP Toys (simplifies multi-image resizing and slideshows) and The Gimp, which is for users looking for more in depth editing and image creation (similar to Photoshop). Both of which are FREE

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Blogging Idiocy

Posted on August 14, 2006. Filed under: Blogroll, journalistic, Life Experiences |

There are some real pieces of work out there in the blogging community, and that is putting it nicely…

For someone who has just recently started blogging, I am all hyped. After getting my blogg set up I started to network myself on sites such as NowPublic and reddit, trying to bring traffic to my blog. I’ve been like a little kid anticpating Christmas and presents. I have been patient and excited, but unfortunately the first comment I got was the Christmas equivalent of getting a bag of switches….

A commenter who named himself Xiol had this to say about my blog:

“You suck. Spamming your shitty blog on Reddit.”

Hmm, this makes me think. What kind of intelligence do we have out there in the blogging community that we resort to such pettiness. I mean, come on, is there nothing better to do with your time than trash someone’s blog, probably before you even read it. Secondly, just how old are you?

Despite my first comment coming in the form of idiocy, I am undeterred in my efforts. So what, if Xiol, thinks my blog is shit. I don’t and I’m sure there are others that agree.

I recently read an article titled “How NOT to Comment on Comments” that I think every blogger should read. If you are going to make a comment, put some thought and effort in to it. Don’t be like Xiol and spew the first thing that comes from your mouth, because like any spew it’s a close relative of shit.

That being said, thank you Xiol, for your wonderful insite in to the Blogging idiocy out there in the community. Despite your effort to dishearten me you have only ignited my passion and please, do look forward to my future “spamming of my shitty blog on reddit”. I hope to get more intelligible comments from you. What insight your provide…Here is a gift for your efforts…

Flickr Picture

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HDR Photos

Posted on August 13, 2006. Filed under: Creative Vibe, HDR, HDR Photos, Uncategorized |

A recent discovery of HDR (High Dynamic Range Imaging) photos has sparked a creative vibe in me. There are some truly amazing photos out there, such as this one that I found on flickr.

Beautiful Iceland

This sense of capturing reality and unreality in all variances and then combining them is a wonderful new form of art. This is what Wikipedia says on HDR photos:

high dynamic range imaging (HDRI) is a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention of HDRI is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows.

Hot in the City

All said, I plan to spend some time with my camera and see if I can’t come up with some HDR photos of my own…More to come


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Writing and Stereotypes

Posted on August 10, 2006. Filed under: journalistic |

I’ve always loved to write and everyone knows that most inspiration comes from personal experiences. One of my greatest fears when sharing my writing, is that a label will be attached to me based on my writing. My writing usually isn’t all roses and sunshine and usually flows like a roller coaster, building tension to find a release. Most of your entertaining arts, poetry, music, science fiction, and such are all based the same way.

A writer’s initial inspiration could be their current emotion that leads down many avenues of fiction and embellishment. Sometimes, it may just be a thought that is taken to many infinite possibilities and develops in to a brainstorm of the imagination.

Many writers face a stereotypical assault on their being based solely on their imagination. Some learn how to use it to their advantage, but others balk at the thought of settling in to one category or genre.

Just as well, writing can be based purely on non-fiction and may be completely valid of your life and emotions at the time. It can be hard to tell, but just to be on the safe side…..Never judge a person by their imagination.

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