Category Archives: Blog

Computer Tips for Travelers and anything else that these Geeks feel like writing about will show up here! For additional articles on Picasa, see our separate site
. For additional articles on Internet Connections on the Road, see our separate site

before and after photos

From trash to treasure – improve your photos with Google Photos editing tools

If you didn’t know how easy it is to use editing tools for improving photos, you would probably just delete this photo of a deer because it is so dark. In this article, I’ll use two example photos and give instructions how to edit them. It’s always much easier to show you than to explain so I’ve included a YouTube video at the end.

Just one click rescues this photo

If you open it using Google Photos on a computer, you’ll see the edit button at the top right. Click that, and you’ll see a button labeled “Auto.” One click on that button and you will see a much better picture! Now all you have to do is save by clicking the button labeled “Done.”

If you’re viewing the same photo using a mobile device, either an iPhone or an Android device, you’ll see the edit button at the bottom. Once you tap that, the first option you’ll see is “Enhance.” Tap that and, voila! Let there be light! Now just tap the Save button and you’re done.

Just one tap on the “Auto” or the “Enhance” button rescues this deer from the trash heap.

More editing features offer simple, yet powerful improvements

I cherish this photo of me and 2 of my best friends in one of my favorite places, that’s Morro Rock in the background. The problem is that the backlit sky makes our faces so dark you don’t even recognize the people.

I’ll always try the “Auto” or “Enhance” option, but for this photo, it doesn’t do enough. I know I can manually adjust the lighting for the photo, but the problem is I don’t want to lighten the sky or wash out the rock. I just want to lighten our faces – get rid of the shadows. Here’s how you do that:

Computer/Web version

Open the photo and click the edit button

  1. Choose the middle tool, called Adjustments
  2. Click the down arrow to the right of Light to see all the options
  3. Drag the marker for “Shadows” to the right

You should see the faces get lighter, without washing out the sky. When you like the way it looks, click the dropdown (#2) again, then Done.

To add a bit of sharpness and detail to the photos, use the “Pop” option. You’ll find it on the bottom of the Adjustments tab.

That’s better!

Using the mobile app for Google Photos

iOS: on your iPhone you will use the same features, but they’re in different places. As soon as you tap the edit button, you will see a bottom row with 4 options: Suggestions, Crop, Adjust, and Filters. When you select an option from that bottom row, you get a corresponding top row of further choices.

The menus are laid out horizontally on mobile devices. The bottom row is the main menu.

For the picture of 3 friends:

  • Choose Adjust from the main (bottom) menu
  • Scroll over and select Shadows from the upper row
  • Drag the slider that appears to see the shadows get lighter, tap Done
  • Still using “Adjust” scroll all the way to the end until you see Pop, select it and drag the slider to increase, Done
  • Save

Android: Follow the same instructions as for iOS, but notice that there are many more options available on the Android platform. When you see an option with a multicolored 1 badge, that means you must be a Google One subscriber to unlock that premium editing feature. If you have a Pixel (made by Google) phone, then all the premium features are already unlocked.

Let me show you how

Here is a 50 minute YouTube show that demonstrates the editing features in this article plus lots more. Chris was a guest on Michael Daniels “Tinkering with Tech” and her topic was Editing photos with Google Photos.

218.How to Make Movies from Your Photos Quick and Easy Using Google Photos

  • 0:0 Beginning
  • 0:41 Quick Tip Screen Shots on iPhone and Android
  • 6:31 Our location at
  • 11:29 Google Photos – an instant movie maker tutorial
  • 13:57 Live demo – make a movie
  • 20:34 Tutorial on editing movies
  • 29:25 Problems with Google Photos movie maker
  • 30:45 Making titles
  • 32:21 Motion photos put video into your Android-made movie
  • 36:52 Finding your movies
  • 39:22 Sharing movies
  • 40:28 What about computers?
  • 43:43 Review

Everyone can view any episode for free. Just click on the play button above, or the link to any ‘chapter’ in the video.

Scroll down to see the show notes, these will be available for Members Only.

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great way to learn.

Not a member? Join here.

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Samsung Gallery can add fun stickers to your photos

I felt this picture needed a better sun, a happier sun, a fun sun! So, I used Samsung Gallery and added a sticker.

It’s extremely easy to do. Just open the Samsung Gallery app and find the photo you want to use. Tap the edit button, then the sticker button. Browse thru all the stickers to find one you like, tap on it and it gets placed on the photo, you can resize it and move it around before saving. Once it’s saved you can view it using either Gallery or Google Photos.

Here’s your video

Apple Photos: a soft waterfall effect

You won’t believe how easy it is to create this effect

First take a live photo of running water

On an iPhone, open the camera and make sure the “Live Photo” button is on. It’s the bullseye circles in the upper left corner. Tap it to see “Live On.” Now take a photo of some running water. When you view that photo, using Apple photos, you can long press and see the movement of the water. To make the soft waterfall effect, just swipe up on the photo and then choose “Long Exposure.” Watch the video below to see exactly how to do it.

Beautify your photos with just a couple steps in the free Snapseed App

When you look at the first picture, that rock is pretty impressive, but then when you see the second one you realize how much detail is missing in the first. I call that getting detail in the shadows. Most photo editing programs have a feature to brighten shadows and get more detail. People say, “that looks like a painting” because painters don’t have to have shadows. Snapseed has an option called “Ambiance” that gets you detail in the shadow AND more color in the rest of the photo. I love the Ambiance feature. I try it on all my good scenic shots.

Install Snapseed app on iOS or Android

If you’ve never used Snapseed before, you will need to install it on your mobile device. It is only available on mobile devices, not computers. On Android, get it from your Play store, on iOS get it from your App store. It can be used as a standalone editing program, or it can be accessed from within Google Photos:

  • Android: open a photo in Google Photos, tap the edit button and scroll over to more… you should see Snapseed there
  • iOS: open a photo in Google Photos, swipe up on the photo and you should see “open in Snapseed”
  • For more detail see Android and iOS

Using the Snapseed Tools

In the Snapseed app, there is a tool called “Tuning” with several options. Once you have your photo open in Snapseed, you can tap on Tools and choose the Tuning Tool. Now you swipe up or down on the photo to see the list of tuning options and select one – such as Ambiance. Once an option is selected, you swipe right or left to increase or decrease the intensity of that option. It’s a lot easier to show than to explain, so please watch this video.

The text was added using the Text tool in Snapseed. See this video.

Another Example of “Beautifying” with Snapseed

This photo was mainly enhanced with Ambiance, but did you notice the car in the background of the first photo? To get rid of that, I used the “Heal” tool in Snapseed. Just open your photo in Snapseed, choose the tool called Heal, and touch the photo at the spot where you want something to disappear. See this video.

How to make this photo

Improve your photos with simple steps in Google Photos

We been traveling in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Beauty has surrounded us and we’ve tried to capture it with photos using our smartphones. These are great cameras even in the most amateur of hands, and with just a couple of clicks with a photo editor, you might be surprised at the quality of the photo you can make.

If you’ve never used Google Photos to enhance your photos, then you need to learn how to get in to edit mode and to navigate amongst the different tools (see this video). If you already know that, then try the two features that made the difference in the photo above:

  1. Adjustments: Shadows – slide to increase light in the shadows
  2. Pop: Scroll to the right until you find More…, choose Pop and slide to increase
  3. Done and Save

The original photo above was a bit crooked. That is so easy to fix using the crop and rotate tool in Google Photos. Then, I wanted to get rid of the windshield bug splatter that messed up the tree, so I cropped it. Last, I applied the Palma filter to enhance the colors a bit. Three taps on the phone, or 3 clicks on the computer and you have a worthwhile photo. See this video.

This picture with Jim by a river is the easiest edit yet! It’s just a little dark – one click on the “Auto” filter on the computer, or the “Enhance” button on the phone and it’s a great photo.

Try it! You’ll like it. Just bring up a photo that you like but think could be better. Try the first button – Enhance, or Auto – and see how much better it looks. If there are dark areas, try selecting “Shadows” and move the slider to get more light. Last, try the Pop slider.

What do you think?

July 2021 News: Google Maps trick, Kindle, Emailing photos, Google Calendar and time zones


  July 2021 | Issue 167  | Archives
What’s up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks

On the road and visiting friends along the way

On the Road Again
RVing is such a wonderful way to visit friends. Through Florida, Alabama, and Texas we “driveway camped” at several friends and were able to catch up on each others’ lives. Being on the road reminds us of important smartphone skills when you’re traveling. Below you will find articles on Google Maps, managing time zones, emailing photos, and reading Kindle books.
Upcoming RV Rallies
We are currently in Wyoming where there are 2 major RV Rallies happening. We will be presenting several seminars at each one. Whether you’ll be joining us in person or not, you can access the class materials for all of these seminars on the web pages we’ve made.
The Escapade is already sold out, but if you’re registered, there is still room in our pre-rally Smartphone Photography workshop.
What Does This Button Do? (YouTube shows)
June 27 #215 Trouble with Time Zones
June 22 Learn Google Photos open Q&A (make sure to use the chapter links in the description – they link to 27 separate questions!)
New Tutorial Videos

Geeks on Tour Member

  • Thank you to our premium members for supporting us and making this newsletter possible! If you learn something from us, and you’re not a member, consider joining us now.

What’s coming up – Our Calendar July/August 2021
We’re Presenting LIVE – online and in person!

View the Geeks' online Calendar

Lots of content on our calendar this month!
  • July 7-10 FMCA 103rd International Convention in Gillette, WY.
    • Wed at 2:30 MDT – Smartphone Photography
    • Thur at 1 MDT – Remember & Share your Travels: Photos, Maps, Blogs
    • Fri at 9am MDT – Google Photos
    • Sat  2:30 MDT – Maps & Apps
We’ll have a table in the FMCA Information Center for Books and Memberships
  • July 11, 2pm MDT Episode 216 of What Does This Button Do?
  • July 11, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • July 16-17 Camp Reboot – Smartphone Photography & Google Photos
  • July 18-23 60th Escapade  in Rock Springs, WY
    • Mon at 3pm MDT Smartphone Photography
    • Tue at 8:30am MDT Maps and Blogs
    • Wed at 10:30am MDT RV Trip Planning
We’ll have a booth (63) in the Escapade vendor area for Books and Memberships
  • July 25, 2pm MDT Episode 217 of What Does This Button Do?
  • July 25, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • July 30, 7pm ET Members Only Orientation and Q&A Live.
August is a travel month. Pay close attention to time zones.
  • Aug 8, 2pm MDT- 2pm MDT Episode 218 of What Does This Button Do?
  • Aug 8, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • Aug 16, 7pm ET- Google Photos: Ask Chris Anything Live
  • Aug 22 2pm MDT- 2pm MDT Episode 219 of What Does This Button Do?
  • Aug 22, 3pm MDT Backstage Pass for Members Only Zoom meeting
  • Aug 27, 7pm ET- Members Only Orientation and Q&A Live
Live YouTube Shows Sundays at 2pm OUR LOCAL time “The Button Show” 
We are traveling. Our local time may be MDT, CDT, or EDT. Make a note.
July 11th and 25th
August 8th and 22nd
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Get vaccinated.

Ask the Geeks

Ask the Geeks Q&A forum. Anyone can read the forum, only members can ask questions. This is a valuable benefit of membership. Join Today! Here are some recent discussions

  1. Uploading Folders and Duplicates?
  2. Photo Scan
  3. Creating an album cover for a video
  4. Mirror Google Photos on iPhone?
  5. Best way to save storage in Google Photos

Google Maps Quick Tip: How to see your destination when it’s in navigation mode

We use Google Maps to navigate all time. Sometimes, I need to remind myself exactly where it is navigating to. If you don’t know this trick, you need to stop navigating and back out to see what you entered for a destination, then start navigating again.
The trick? Just swipe up on the map, tap Directions, then scroll to the bottom. Here’s a 30 second video that shows how.

You don’t need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book


The free Kindle app for both iOS and Android, gives us all the ability to read books using our smartphones and tablets. We can take our entire library of books with us everywhere we go.
Extra benefits of Kindle books is the ability to look up words, identify characters, and follow links.
For example, if you get the Kindle version of Learn Google Photos, when you come across a link to watch a tutorial video, you can click it and watch right from your phone. 

Emailing photos using Google Photos

emailing photos

Emailing sounds simple right? But there are actually several different ways to accomplish sharing photos using Google Photos. Many people use the first way of sharing photos “Send in Google Photos” and they are distressed when their intended recipient does not receive an email. This article explains the problem and specifies ways of sharing that DO send an email.

Google Calendar and Time Zones


With just a little bit of effort, Google Calendar can keep track of those pesky time zones!
This article shows you exactly how to do it and why it’s important to do it right!

Learn Google Photos 2021 now available at Amazon

Learn Google Photos 2021 Kindle

Google Photos is changing all the time, and we have several ways of alerting you to the changes, but sometimes the changes are significant enough that we need to reprint the book. The Learn Google Photos book has been updated to reflect the changes that took place on and before June 1, 2021. If you click the image at right, you will go
to the Amazon page to look inside the book at the first several pages of the Kindle edition of the book.

Buy from Amazon: Kindle version 7.95 | Paperback 24.95


Make sure to tune in to Episode 214 of our YouTube show. We will be using the Learn Google Photos 2021 book to demonstrate how to use the Kindle app.

Leave us a Review


Have you learned something from Geeks on Tour?

If so, we’d love to get a review from you. Click the link below and you should see a right sidebar with all Geeks on Tour stuff, scroll down a bit and you should see Reviews and Write a Review.


 If you like this newsletter, please forward it on to your friends! If you received this issue forwarded by a friend you can subscribe to get your own copy delivered to your in box – it’s free. You can also visit the archives of past newsletters. If you’ve learned something from us along the way, we’d love a Google Review from you!


How to use Google Calendar in multiple time zones

by Chris Guld,

Create calendar events using the time AND the time zone.

Scenario: you are planning a visit to Buenos Aires and you’ve arranged to meet your friend Lisa for dinner at 6pm. You’re still in Denver when you make this date and you want to enter it in your calendar.

So, what’s the problem?

As you can see with the instructions above, it’s very clear how to enter an appointment in a different time zone. The problem is that, when you look at the calendar right after you create the entry, it won’t say 6pm because I’m not in Buenos Aires yet. On my calendar it says I’m having dinner with Lisa at 3pm! Don’t be confused. The calendar is displaying time according to where I am, the current time for my calendar is Mountain Time Zone. How do you see, and/or change, the calendar’s time zone? In the settings:

This is working exactly as intended. Think about it – if you weren’t physically traveling to Buenos Aires, but Lisa asked if you could join her on a Zoom call at 6p her time, you would want your calendar to alert you at 3 because there is 3 hours difference between your locations.

For even more about managing time zones, see Episode 215 of What Does This Button Do?

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at She and her husband, Jim, produce a free YouTube show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been in the technology training industry since the 80s. Now, as semi-retired travelers, they specialize in teaching technology of interest to other travelers.

Tech Tip: The Benefits of reading books with the Kindle app

How to control Kindle books on your smartphone
Episode 214 - Kindle

In Episode 214 of What Does This Button Do? we go into detail on using the Kindle app on mobile devices.




You don’t need to own a Kindle device in order to read Kindle books. The free app for Android or iOS is perfectly capable. Using the app on your phone means you have your entire library of books in your pocket wherever you go. If you want a bigger screen, you can use the app on your iPad or Android tablet.
And, there’s more …

Words are defined

When you’re reading in the Kindle app and you see a word you don’t understand, just long-press on it and a dictionary definition pops up! The first time you try this, you will be prompted to download the dictionary.

Characters are explained

When you’re reading and see a character’s name that you don’t remember, you can long press on the name and a “X-Ray” box pops up that quotes a passage where that character was referenced earlier in the book. If that one reference doesn’t spark your memory, you tap the “Go to X-Ray” button to see all the references to that character. Not all books have the X-Ray feature. To see if your book does, open it in the Kindle app, then tap the 3-dot menu in the upper right – you should see X-Ray in the menu. If it’s not there, the book does not support it.

Bookmark and highlight places you want to revisit

To bookmark any page, just tap in the upper right corner. You should see a blue ribbon appear. Tap again and it will disappear. To see, and go to, a previous bookmark, tap the middle of the screen, then the notebook icon at top. You should now see all the bookmarks you’ve already created and you can tap on the one you want to visit. You will also see highlights you’ve made by dragging across text. You can see just the bookmarks by tapping on the filter button at
the top right and select Bookmarks.

Share passages with friends

Let’s say you learn something about using Google Photos by reading our book in Kindle version and you’d like to share this thing you learned with a friend who uses Google Photos. All you need to do is drag your finger across the passage in the book to highlight it. Then you tap the share button, choose your method of sharing – e.g. email or text message, and send to your friend.
We covered all these features and more in Episode 214 of our YouTube show, What Does this button Do? If you are a premium member of Geeks on Tour, you will also see the detailed show notes there.
Kindle version of Learn Google Photos 2021

Learn Google Photos 2021 Kindle

Because of the major change in Google Photos on June 1, we’ve published a new version of the Learn Google Photos book. 
If you use Google Photos and you haven’t bought the book yet, now is a great time. Even if you have already bought the book, we recommend now getting the Kindle version at just $7.95 it is a real bargain.
Because you can read it on your smartphone or tablet, it’s easy to bookmark and highlight important passages so you can easily return. I also means that the links will be live and they will take you tutorial videos and other resources. 

214. Using the Kindle App on smartphones

Everyone can view any episode for free. Just click on the play button above.

Scroll down to see the show notes, after 2 weeks, these will be available for Members Only.

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great way to learn.

Not a member? Join here. This episode covers:

You’ll learn how to read, control, and annotate Kindle Books on your phone. We’ll use the new Learn Google Photos 2021 Kindle Edition to demonstrate the Kindle app on your smartphone.

  • 0:00 Beginning
  • 2:38 Quick tip: A home screen widget for your Kindle book
  • 8:08 Kindle vs Phone
  • 9:36 How to buy Kindle books on the iPhone
  • 14:21 Demo on Android: Highlighting, Search, Page Flip, X-ray look up person or word
  • 23:08 Adjusting text for readability on phones
  • 27:24 Lock rotation, turn pages with volume controls
  • 31:33 Learn Google Photos in Kindle version, search, bookmarks, links
  • 48:45 Review Questions – Look up words, people, and places while you read.
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