Chris Guld, of Geeks on Tour, writes a Picasa Tip of the Week. She’s been doing this nearly every week since mid 2008, and you can see them all in our PicasaTutorials.com website. If you subscribe to the email for Picasa Tip of the Week, then you’ve already seen these, but it’s nice to review. Here are the top ten articles from PIcasa Tutorials this year:
After an extremely busy August and September, we had time to catch our breath, take a few naps, and do some sightseeing in October! We stayed at some beautiful campgrounds in Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida. We visited the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama – something that’s been on our to-do list for quite some time.
Our last night on the road was spent at the gorgeous Anastasia Island State Park in Florida. Keep reading this newsletter and you’ll see some pretty nice pictures! Oh … and you can click on the map to see the full web page of our travel map. Then you can click on any of the little green tents to open up a dialog box that includes links to our personal blog about those places.
We are constantly learning new things, so we add new seminars. Al three of these new titles will be offered at the Good Sam rally in Daytona and, of course at our own TechnoGeek Rally on Dec 2-8.
Geeks on Tour: Using Technology to Plan, Preserve and Share Your Travels
If you can only fit one of our seminars into your rally schedule, we wanted you to have an overview. This seminar touches on all the devices, software and apps we use and how our videos can teach you more.
Trip Planning with MS Streets and Trips, Google Maps and Websites
We used to cover Trip Planning and GPS Navigation in one seminar and it was too much, they are really two separate topics.
Picasa: Organizing your Pictures – a Seminar for Intermediate Users
Picasa can do so much with your pictures, it does you no good if you don’t know where your pictures are! This seminar teaches you tools and techniques for organizing, moving, locating, and generally managing your photo library using Picasa.
The Q&A Forums on the Geeks on Tour website are a great place to discuss the topics we cover. This is where we answer our members’ questions. Anyone can read the forums, you need to be a member to post. Here are some topics of interest:
Yes! We’re doing it again. Phil and Tracey from TechnoRV and Jim and Chris from Geeks on Tour are teaming up to deliver the most learning, the best food, and the most fun of any RV rally you can imagine. Watch the video of the first TechnoGeek Learning Rally to see what I mean!
You will learn about cameras, computers, smartphones and more at this week-long event in Bushnell, Florida December 2-8. See the Rally Page for all the details.
The rally registration fee includes 9 meals! All homemade by Tracey and Phil – feast your eyes on this menu for the week. We are limiting registrations to 35 RVs – Register Today!
“Going There?” or “Being There?”
Which do you like best about traveling? The journey or the destination? Read Chuck Woodbury’s thoughts on the subject and get a little insight why we think that RVing gives you the best of both!
Our Take on Windows 8
You’ll be hearing a lot about Windows 8 since it was launched on October 25. We don’t want to deluge you with even more, but thought you might want our take on the topic. When someone asks us “What do you think of Windows 8, should I get it?” We have 4 points we think you should know:
Pictures of Anastasia Island State Park in Florida
It’s places like this that give me joy in using my good digital SLR camera, and then viewing and editing the pictures later in Picasa. The picture of the two of us is of particular interest since we were all alone on this beach, and we didn’t have a tripod. How did we get that picture? The answer is at the bottom of this post. Anastasia Island is a Florida State park on the beach at St. Augustine. We only stayed there one night, but we made our way to the beach at those all-important photography times of sunset and sunrise. I can’t stop looking at these pictures and just feeling love for the world of beauty that we live in. I took over 250 pictures! With help from Picasa’s Side-by-Side editing feature, I chose the 49 best and then edited them so they look even better.
Use your computer to mark places using Google Maps, and you’ll see them on your smartphone! I love this feature of Google Maps – this is the appeal of ‘cloud computing.’ Use whatever device is most practical and see the results on any other device.
Let’s say I’m researching where to stay as we travel from Fort Lauderdale to Bowling Green, Kentucky. I will use lots of different resources to do this: Streets and Trips with the POI Megafile is my first choice, then I’ll supplement that with websites for RV Park Reviews, Georgia State Parks, Passport America etc. Google Maps may or may not be part of the tools we use to find places to stay, but it’s definitely a good idea to mark the places once we’ve made our decisions.
Become a Geeks on Tour Member!
And learn from our online library of Tutorial Videos Facebook, Picasa, Photo Story 3, Smartphones, Streets & Trips, Google Earth/Maps, Blogging, Boot Camp Class, Vista/Windows 7, Internet on the Road, Safe Computing
only $7/monthly $58/yearly or $68 one year = access to ALL videos plus the Forums. Click here to Join
That’s all for now. We hope you learned something. Your next issue will be next month. Any questions, please visit our forum. 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. To see the archives of past newsletters, go to https://geeksontour.com/category/newsletter/.
It’s places like this that give me joy in using my good digital SLR camera, and then viewing and editing the pictures later in Picasa. The picture of the two of us is of particular interest since we were all alone on this beach, and we didn’t have a tripod. How did we get that picture? The answer is at the bottom of this post.
Anastasia Island is a Florida State park on the beach at St. Augustine. We only stayed there one night, but we made our way to the beach at those all-important photography times of sunset and sunrise. I can’t stop looking at these pictures and just feeling love for the world of beauty that we live in. I took over 250 pictures! With help from Picasa’s Side-by-Side editing feature, I chose the 49 best and then edited them so they look even better. I hope you enjoy them!
Just one example of Before and After editing in Picasa. I hope you agree … the one on the right is better!
Crop: most all of my pictures need a crop
I’m Feeling Lucky: I always click on I’m Feeling Lucky. Sometimes – especially with sunsets – I don’t like what it does so I click on Undo
Straighten: my horizon always seems a bit crooked when taking ocean pictures!
Graduated Tint: to make blue skies bluer, or sunsets redder
Increase shadows: for a richer look on some photos
Sharpen: when my picture looks a little soft, clicking on Sharpen gives you more defined edges
HDRish: when sharpen doesn’t do enough, HDRish will make my images pop! I usually move settings to lessen the effect, it can be very dramatic.
Mulitiple Exposure Collage in Picasa
That’s how we got the picture of the two of us. It’s actually 2 pictures and I put them together using the Collage feature of Picasa and choosing Multiple Exposure. Rarely do 2 pictures work so well in a double exposure – but these two sure did! To see exactly how it was done, members can watch the Collage Short Course of tutorial videos. Multiple Exposures is the 8th video in the series.
by Chris Guld, www.GeeksOnTour.com Aren’t digital cameras great?! Just snap away to your heart’s content, no worries about wasting film, or costing more money, or taking up more space. You can see right away if you captured the image you wanted, and take more shots if you didn’t. I’ve been known to take over 100 pictures in any given day when we’re traveling thru beautiful countryside. For RVers, like us, you can quickly rack up thousands of pictures!
If you put your pictures onto your computer, which we think you should, then you have lots of choices for what software to use for managing and editing them. At Geeks on Tour, we’ve been evangelists for Picasa over 7 years now. It’s a free program that you download to your computer from Google. We teach several seminars on it, produced over 60 tutorial videos, have a website dedicated to Picasa, and wrote a book on it! But, we know it’s not the only game in town. Many people with Macintosh computers are very happy with iPhoto which comes preinstalled on their Macs – even though Picasa does have a fully compatible Macintosh version. On Windows computers, the gold standard photo editing program is Adobe Photoshop ($700!) or Photoshop Elements ($99.) There are also several free programs, including Microsoft’s offering – Windows Live Photo Gallery, and a full featured, Photoshop workalike called GIMP.
Why we Still Like Picasa the Best
As you can see from the crowd of over 700 people in one of our Picasa Seminars for FMCA, Picasa is very popular. The free price certainly has something to do with that, but Picasa also gives you the greatest capability for the least effort. When we started teaching Picasa about 7 years ago, it was drop-dead easy. Over the years, Google has added more and more features. Some areas have now become a bit complex, but it’s still pretty darned easy, especially compared to the full-featured image editors like Photoshop or GIMP. Before Picasa, I used a program called Fireworks – generally in the same class as Photoshop. It would take me 1 – 2 hours every time I went thru my process with the day’s 50 or so photos, when I switched to Picasa, the time shortened to about 15 minutes!
The closest competitors to Picasa in ease of use are iPhoto and Photo Gallery. They even have some features that are an improvement over Picasa. iPhoto gives you multiple ways to view your pictures in location on a map, better slideshow features, and built in ways to make cards and books. Photo Gallery has that cool photo fuse feature where you can replace one person in a group shot, it has a Panorama feature that Picasa lacks, and I like the way tags are handled better in Photo Gallery. I actually considered switching to Photo Gallery but then realized that I simply could not live without Picasa’s features of Text on photos, or combining pictures in a Collage. And Photo Gallery as well as iPhoto only have a fraction of Picasa’s photo editing features. I have so much fun just trying all the different single-click effects, then undoing them if I don’t like it.
What about Flickr, or Snapfish, or SmugMug?
I talk to many people who say, ‘Oh, I don’t use Picasa, I use Snapfish.’ They don’t understand. Picasa is software on your computer for working with pictures on your computer. No Internet involved. Flickr, Snapfish and SmugMug are photo sharing websites. Google also offers a photo-sharing website called Picasa Web Albums, but Picasa and Picasa Web Albums each can stand on their own without the other. So, “I don’t use Picasa Web Albums because I use Snapfish.” would make sense, but I would still ask them what they use to edit their pictures on their computer. Maybe they use nothing – just copying the pictures from the camera to their computer, then uploading them directly to Snapfish. Oh what they’re missing!
Is Picasa going Away?
Google is going thru a lot of transition these days, with their social network – Google + – leading the pack. They made an announcement a few months back that Picnik is closing on April 19. Picnik was an online photo editing website that Google bought last year. They linked it to Picasa with a button along with Picasa’s main editing tools. Now they’re taking it away, and that is starting a lot of rumors about the future of Picasa. Many of the cool photo editing tools that were developed at Picnik are now incorporated directly into Picasa 3.9, and many more have become part of the online photo editing available thru Google Plus. The Picasa desktop product is still very strong at Google. Google is certainly not above killing product lines, but they do it with failures, not stars.
That said, Picasa may very well be renamed to Google Photos. It’s certainly appropriate that a star product be recognized by the company’s brand – and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they used the April 19 date to make that happen. If that happens, I sure hope they do something to distinguish between the online photo-sharing software and the desktop photo management software. Over and over again, I ‘ve had to explain the difference between Picasa (desktop software) and Picasa Web Albums (online photo-sharing.) It would be even worse to have Google Photos (desktop software) and Google Plus Photos (online photo-sharing) !!
The Best Software is the One you Know How to Use!
The bottom line with any computer software is knowing how to use it. You’ll accomplish a lot more with a half-good program that you understand, than with the cream of the crop that you can’t figure out. I’ll keep using – and teaching – Picasa because I understand it inside and out. Whenever they come out with new features, like the side-by-side editing introduced in version 3.9, you can count on new videos like the one -below from GeeksOnTour. Sign up for our free Picasa Tip-of-the-Week if you want to stay on top of all things Picasa!
Geeks On Tour is Jim and Chris Guld. They have been traveling the US in their RV since 2003. They teach fellow travelers how to use computers and technology to plan, preserve, and share their travels. They have both been involved in professional computer support and training since the early 80s. They maintain a family of websites including www.picasatutorials.com containing hundreds of articles, and www.geeksontour.com where members can watch tutorial videos on all their topics.
I’ve covered this feature before … but I don’t think I used a very good example in that article, so I’m going to revisit it. We’ve recently traveled through Montana … you know the tagline right? Big Sky Country. We had beautiful weather with clear blue skies, but my pictures did not do the sky justice at all. Here is a sample:
Before Graduated Tint
After Graduated Tint
So, what is ‘Graduated Tint’?’ It’s on the Effects tab, and it has a few options.
When you first click on Graduated Tint, it automatically applies a light blue color to the top half of your picture. In the example above, I increased the Shade a bit to make the sky even bluer … withOUT making the clouds blue! Just drag the ‘Shade’ slider to the right and watch the color deepen while it leaves the white areas alone. Notice, you can also increase, or decrease the amount of the picture that is covered by dragging the crosshair (right on the picture) up or down.
Here’s another example.
I’m Feeling Lucky and Graduated Tint
I almost deleted that picture, it was so bland and washed out. But after just a couple clicks, it is now one of my favorite road shots.
Show-Me-How Videos on Picasa that apply to this article:
You’d think I see my pictures enough on my computer since I’m sitting at my computer at least 10 hours/day and I almost always have Picasa open. I also upload pictures to my Web Album and post them to my Blog every few days as well. We travel all the time, I LOVE pictures, I never get tired of looking at them.
With all the above ways to view my pictures, it never occurred to me to buy a digital picture frame, so I was not that excited when last year, a friend gave us a frame as a gift.
What a surprise! We put a thousand pictures on it, set it on the dinette table, and now I often find myself glancing at the picture frame and dreaming wonderful memories. And, they look SO good the way the slideshow is displayed! That picture frame quickly became one of my most treasured possessions (thanks John!)
How to Transfer Photos to the Frame
For me, it was easy, most all of my good photos I have uploaded to a Web Album. So, in Picasa, I just filtered to those pictures which had been uploaded, then I use the Export command to send the pictures to the CF Card for the Photo Frame. If you have a Photo Frame, it may have different devices to store the photos. Some frames can even connect to the Internet and get its photos there.
Connect your camera to the computer by whatever method is provided with your camera – usually a USB cable, maybe a card reader. A popup menu with options should appear, and you can select ‘Copy pictures and view them using Picasa3.’ The Picasa Import screen has several options – this video will explain them and show you how to use it:
This video shows you how to download and install Picasa 3 for free from Google. Once it’s installed, you will need to answer a couple of questions. This video will answer those questions and briefly explain the Picasa Photo Viewer as well.