Posts Tagged ‘Picasa’

A Cool Photo Capability

13 June 2012

I bought a new camera a couple months ago. It’s a Sony Cybershot DSC-W690. Very light, but with a 16MP sensor, amazing low-light capability, video, and a 10x optical zoom. All for $170. Amazing. And very easy on the battery also.

I took a lot of photos on a backpacking trip this past weekend. A number of the photos I took were “sideways”: I turned the camera 90 degrees on some of the photos. I did this because the camera field of view is wider than it is tall, and I wanted to show more up and down for some photos than left and right. This is an example.

I dumped the photos to Picasa, which I have previously written about in admiring terms. It was a quick and easy upload as before.

First, I used the camera to take a couple auto-panoramas. This is a cool feature itself. I screwed up a couple of the panos, and had left the right side of the panos blank (they were black). I would usually have used the GIMP to crop out the black part of the photo, and then uploaded it again. But I realized that a crop function was available right on the Picasa site, and it was just as easy to use as the crop-to-selection function in GIMP. So that was cool.

But I knew that I had taken the rotated photos with the camera, and when I looked for them on the upload, there were none. Hmmm, I thought.

I looked at the directory of photos on my hard drive. In thumbnail mode, I saw there were about six of them that were rotated as expected. I double-clicked one to preview it, and… it came up “properly” oriented, in other words, the same way I had rotated the camera to take the photo.

This took me off to look at the EXIF metadata stored with each photo, and sure enough, there is a flag in there that shows the camera rotation. So far, Paint and Windows Picture and Fax Viewer don’t rotate the photo. GIMP 2.6 notes the rotation and asks me if I want to auto-rotate it. Picasa (both local and online) auto-rotate it without asking.

So this is pretty cool. My camera apparently has a tilt sensor or accelerometer in it. I like it, it’s a pretty amazing camera.

Picasa – Pretty Cool

18 September 2011

After the Yosemite backpacking trip, I wanted a way to share all of the photos I took on the trip. I also wanted to be able to have the other guys on the trip be able to upload their photos if they wanted. I was vaguely aware of Picasa, and so I checked it out.

Turns out Picasa is both a photo sharing site, and an associated app to perform photo manipulation. I downloaded the app, and it automagically spent some time finding and indexing image files on my computer, including the batch of Yosemite photos. I haven’t played with the Picasa app yet. I usually use Paint (either the Windows or Linux versions) or The GIMP when I have to manipulate images.

I uploaded the Yosemite photos. I created a Picasa web account (and since I already had a Google account, that was pretty straightforward), pointed it at the directory where the pictures were, added a title and some other info, and then the photos uploaded. It was fast and easy.

Once the pictures were there, it was trivial to enable sharing. I added email addresses for the other five guys, added some geolocation data to show where Yosemite is on the map, and then looked at the presentation. It was pretty simple, medium-sized previews, which could be clicked to bring up larger, or even full-resolution images.

One thing I had been dreading was captioning, since I had 200+ photos. I have looked at packages that required a lot of keystrokes to caption a picture. Usually the sequence is click the photo, then click a button to caption, type in the caption, then click save or whatever, then go back and repeat.

Not so. I clicked Actions, then Captions, and got 50 pictures arranged with caption space next to them. The process is such that when adding or changing a caption in a field, moving off the field changes the caption automagically (via Javascript, I would imagine). Since the photos were arranged by time, I got into a rhythm of typing in a general caption for a major section (for example, “Day 2, Hiking.”), and pasting it into picture after picture. So the process was click mouse in next the field, Ctrl-V, repeat, unless I wanted to add some additional text like “Boy, were we dirty!”. So captioning everything took about 20 minutes.

Another thing that was pretty cool. If there are people in the picture, Picasa does a decent job of identifying faces, and prompts you to name the people when the mouse crosses the face. It’s optional to actually name.

I noticed that one of the other guys uploaded photos into the album at some point. One thing that I would gripe about, when the album is updated, the people that you have authorized to upload to the album all get notified when someone uploads new photos. The owner of the album apparently does not by default. So I will look and see if there is some option I need to enable for that. Note several hours later: It turns out that I got an email from Picasa, while I was writing this post, that let me know that the photos had been uploaded. So, gripe > /dev/null.

Overall, Picasa on the web is a pretty cool site. I posted a link to the full site from the blog post I wrote for the Yosemite trip, and I think I can recommend Picasa when you have pictures that you want the world to see.