Wednesday, August 12, 2009



Spent a couple pleasurable hours on the motorcycle this morning cruising around the local countryside enjoying a mighty fine southwestern Ontario morning. Took a few photos from the bike which I will use to show some things you can do with a certain photo program. That yellow bandana tied to the handlebars is my WSI. (wind speed indicator) When that bandana is ramrod straight out pointing back that tells me I'm approaching 750 MPH & it's time to shift into third gear:)) THIS IS THE SAME PHOTO WITH NOTHING DONE TO IT. NOT A GREAT EXAMPLE OF DIFFERENCE BUT THERE ARE SUBTLE CHANGES IN COLOR & SHARPNESS...COMPARE THE INDICATOR BUTTONS & SPEEDOMETER....GRASS IS GREENER & RED BUTTON ON HANDLEBAR STANDS OUT MORE.

Noticed on RICK'S blog this afternoon he was talking about Google's excellent digital photo program Picasa 3. I have been using this program for the past 3 to 5 years now & would recommend it to anyone out there looking for an easy to use free photo program. I see many photos on blogs that are good but could be made a lot better if folks would just take that extra few minutes to work on them a little bit in the Picasa program. Rick explains & gives examples in his blog how to start off with the. "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. That alone can make quite a difference in a photo. "FOCAL BLACK & WHITE"....NOTICE THE YELLOW BANDANA IN THE OTHERWISE B&W PHOTO

Here is basically how I handle a photo in Picasa 3. I get the photo up on the screen & then under Basic Fixes hit that "Lucky" button Rick talks about. I then decide if the picture looks better & it usually does. I then sometimes click the "Auto Color" button next to see if it will adjust the color the way I want. Then I go to Effects & click on "Saturation" & see if I like the way it punches out the colors more vibrantly or not. Then I'll slip up to the "Sharpen" button & stretch the slider bar to sharpen the picture a bit. Then I might go to Tuning & add some "Contrast" to the picture to darken it down a bit maybe or I might use the "Color Temperature" to warm up a sunset. You can also lighten your photo if it's too dark by using the "Fill Light" slider bar under Basic Fixes. Also under Basic Fixes you will find the word, "Crop" & this is where you can really make or break your photo. I do a lot of cropping in my photos & it all has to do with composition. If you don't get the composition right when you take the picture then you have a second chance to re-do the shot in the Picasa photo program by cropping it the way you want. I ADDED "SATURATION" TO MAKE THE YELLOW BANDANA COLOR STAND OUT

There are a bunch of other creative buttons for working on your photos & the best way to learn is just to get a photo up on the Picasa screen & start pressing buttons to see what happens. Everything can be undone very easily so you are not going to ruin your photos. Try the Sepia button for an old time look or turn your color to black & white. Soft focus is very creative & you have slider bars to adjust your softness. I use my "Straighten" button a lot because I have a tendency to get my horizon's crooked. That button alone has saved many a photo for me. Try Focal B&W for another really neat effect. I HAVE TOTALLY EXAGGERATED THE SKY TO SHOW HOW EFFECTS CAN BE ADDED IN "GRADUATED TINT."
And don't worry.......if you don't like what you create, just undo the changes you made & take the photo back to the way it was. Only takes a few seconds. "SEPIA TONE" GIVES PHOTOS THAT OLD TIME LOOK
I have a professional Photoshop program in our laptop but have never used it simply because I've never been able to understand it. Maybe if I understood it I would still come back to Picasa 3......who knows. You can download the free PICASA 3 here. From there it's just a few more easy steps to download Picasa's sister program, PICASA WEB ALBUMS. ""SOFT FOCUS" LETS YOU PLACE THE SOFTNESS WHERE YOU WANT IT. THIS IS NICE FOR PORTRAITS.

Like I said earlier........I see a lot of OK photos in blogs that could be made better if folks just took the time to make them better with a simple easy to use photo program called Picasa 3. And like, I do not work for Picasa or have anything to gain by recommending it, except.............your photos are going to look a whole lot nicer & that is going to make YOU feel a whole lot better........:)))))) BLACK & WHITE
P.S. And I used the "Straighten" button on all these motorcycle photos to get my horizons level!!

GROANER'S CORNER:)) Why is it called Alcoholics Anonymous when the first thing you do is stand up and say, '*My name is Bob, and I am an alcoholic'?

The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...AL.


  1. Al, it was great to read your blog tonight and see your examples about how to use Picasa 3 to improve the quality of digital pictures. As you say, this is basic stuff and I hope it will encourage others to experiment a bit with these simple techniques if only to 'brighten up' some of the images I see. The more I use Picasa 3, the more impressed I am with its capabilities. I too have Photoshop but seldom use it anymore. Well done!

  2. Love the pictures...I can see the difference

  3. I used Photoshop Elements for quite some time, then switched to Picasa 2, and upgraded to Picasa 3 when it was available. As you say, it only take a couple of minutes to make a good photo better. I just wish it would fix my totally out of focus pictures, but that's hopeless. I guess if I'd check whether my camera is set on "autofocue" or "manual focus" I'd have better luck!

    Thanks for sharing a great program. Now all those blogs we follow will have better pictures.

  4. Good Morning Al, I came over to visit you because Rick mentioned your article on Picasa... Glad I did! We are full time RVers and have been for 5 years. We love this style of life and enjoy everyday looking for new adventures. I will be adding you to my list of favorites and hope that you'll come over to visit me too. Thanks for all the great information on Picasa. I have it downloaded but really don't use it much but after your tutorial I'll be playing with it more. Thanks

    Have Fun & Travel Safe
    Donna & Ralph