Monday, December 08, 2014



Bugs me when settings change in programs without notice.   Case in point: I remember someone asking in a comment awhile back about why did I change to ‘word verification’ in my comment section.  I hadn’t!!  Today I remembered that question (I have a slow mind) so went & had me a look see.  Sure enough there it was wanting readers to punch in a number to leave a comment.  Went to my ‘Posts & Comments’ section & where it says ‘Show word verification’ the box still said no just as I had originally set it.  I switched it back & forth a couple times then with the word NO definitely in the box again I pressed ‘Save Settings’.  Did it work?  Nope, now why is that!!!!  I do not want that annoying ‘word verification’ thingy but it’s still asking that readers punch in a number to prove they are not a robot.  Really!!!!!!  And I just noticed after writing this that Gypsy is having the same problem.  What’s going on????  Update:: Thanks to an email from Gypsy this morning I changed my ‘Pop Up’ comment format to an ‘Embedded’ format & that seems to have solved that PITA word verification thing.  Well so far anyway.



And no point in me telling you how my day went because it just didn’t seem to went anywhere & an all day cloud cover didn’t help.  I’m guessing we’re going to end up not traveling too much this winter so I’m going to have to try & find myself something else to occupy my time besides sitting around watching television & plunking away on my computer. 


A reader in our Shout Box left this comment, “You said today that it is very rare for you to enhance colors in your photos . In many previous blogs about Picasa you have always said you use these Picasa tools frequently: Auto Color-Color Temperature-Saturation. Each of these tools enhances color doesn't it? -- The commenter is mostly correct of course but the comment also tells me I have not explained things well enough or the commenter would not have had to ask the question.  I’ll try again.  It’s true I have previously said, ‘I use these Picasa 3.9 tools frequently’ & it is also true I said in Sunday’s post, ‘it is rare for me to enhance colors in my photos.  A contradiction in terms it seems but here’s the key to what I said, “I always try to present my photos as I saw the scene & not necessarily how the camera recorded the scene.  The human eye is better at seeing light & dark as well as color than the camera is’'.  Under perfect lighting conditions cameras do well in accurately recording the scene as it is.  No adjustments necessary.  So what constitutes imperfect lighting conditions??  Two extremes…..bright sunny days & cloudy days.  Light & dark if you will.  So this is where I’ll start.


First let me explain the 3 tools the commenter mentioned.  First is ‘Auto Color’.  Photos taken on cloudy days or deep shadows on bright sunny days can have a bluish cast to them.  This is not what the human eye sees but it is what the mechanical camera defaults to.  If you like the bluish cast in the photo that’s up to you.  I don’t so I will first try ‘Auto Color’ to see if that will subtly shift the color balance to warm the photo & make it appear as nature sees it & as I truly saw it.  If Auto Color doesn’t work I will then go to my ‘Light & Color’ (Color Temperature) tool & gently slide my ‘Color Temperature’ bar to the right which adds yellow into the blue cast returning the photo closer to it’s natural color.  Depending on lighting conditions I may have to use this tool a lot or not at all.  This is an example of where I think my words ‘rarely & frequently’ were confusing to the commenter.


The ‘Saturation’ tool is the one I mistakenly overused in many of my photos years ago when first starting out with Picasa. (as well as I’m Feeling Lucky)  My greens were too green, my reds too red, my yellows to yellow & my blues to blue.  Saturation saturates your colors with color.  If not to be used on bright sunny days but where then to use the ‘Saturation’ tool??  Cloudy days when the lighting has a flat look to it.  Your photos may appear dull & drab without a lot of color.  The colors are there of course & they just need to be brought out a tad.  Your eye saw them well enough but the camera not so much.  Click your ‘Saturation’ tool & see if you can bring out the colors that you know are there in the first place.  Again I may have to use this tool a lot or not at all.  Depends on the lighting so let’s talk about lighting for a minute.



Lighting is probably one of the most single most important things in photography & photography has often been referred to as. ‘Painting with light’.  Eyes can see vivid detail in dark shadows but cameras have a big struggle with this.  If you have a dark shadow area in your photo you can lighten that shadow to find some detail by using your ‘Fill Light’ or Highlight’ slider bar in the Light & Color tool.  Just below those 2 slider bars is another bar allowing you to darken down areas that are way to bright in your photo.  The slider bar is simply called, ‘Shadow.’  These bars in a way allow you to kinda paint with light.


The human eye can look out on a bright sunny day & see detail in both sunlight & shadow at the same time.  Light sensors in cameras cannot do that accurately.  In other words they cannot take the place of the human eye.  Not yet anyway.  The sensors are confused by the extremes of light & dark.  Sensors will prioritize either the light area or the dark area of a scene depending on which is dominate in the sensors view so sometimes your photos are too dark or too light depending on the cameras sensors.  Of course this is not how your eye saw the scene but with a photo editing program you at least have some options to help you return your improperly exposed photo back to the natural setting you saw.  And remember, exposure radically affects color.  Years ago in the old film days the vast majority of people never had these options.  If your photos came back from the photofinishers too dark, too light, or the color was off there was very little one could do about it.  That has all changed now with the digital age & there is something we can do about it & it’s called photo editing.  We can now improve our own photos……if we want to that is.



DSC_2064 DSC_2075

Now, having said all the above I have either made things more confusing for everyone, bored all the rest, or I have added some understanding to my words ‘rarely & frequently’.  So to answer my commenter I say, yes it’s true I rarely enhance colors in my photos & yes I often use these Picasa tools frequently.  In a nutshell….if & when lighting is perfect I rarely have to use any editing tools but when conditions are less than perfect which is the norm I do have to frequently use various editing tools to try & return that photo to a natural state of color & exposure.  And that is that natural state I prefer.DSC_2100


And a quick word about the basic photo editing program I use.  I’m thinking Picasa 3.9 could be referred to as an entry level editing program because it’s not nearly as sophisticated (or complicated) as the professional Adobe Photo Shop programs & others out there.  Picasa gives the user enough tools for advanced amateur hobbyists like myself to at least make some realistic improvements to their photos.  I like Picasa because it is easy for me to use.  I tried a Photo Shop program once & I might as well have tried to flap my arms & fly to the Moon.  There, that’s more than enough out of me tonight again………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzConfused smile


GROANER’S CORNER:(( Yesterday, I had a near death experience that has changed me forever.  I went horseback riding. Everything was going fine until the horse started bouncing out of control. I tried with all my might to hang on, but was thrown off.  Just when things could not possibly get worse, my foot got caught in the stirrup. When this happened, I fell head first to the ground.  With foot caught in the stirrup my head continued to bounce harder as the horse did not stop or even slow down. Just as I was giving up hope and losing consciousness, the Walmart manager rushed over and unplugged the machine.


  1. I've notice quite a few blogs that suddenly have word verification. Bloggers probably don't know that's happened unless a commenter tells them. I liked Picasa as a step up from Live Gallery and now I'm trying to learn LightRoom which I really like. PhotoShop is over my present learning curve. Have to be careful not to over do in any of them.

  2. I think it looks like you've fixed the problem with verification. It's the Pop-up comment block vs. the comment area embedded in the blog itself.

    I really love the bird photos - can't even pick a favorite because they are all so good!

  3. I've had a lot of reading to catch up...thanks for the cleaning tip Al.
    I invested in Lightroom and am so ashamed to say that I have not taken the time to become familiar with it. Shame on me! I use auto focus and either keep the picture or lazy is that?

  4. Thanks for the mini lesson on picasa - with careful attention I am learning bit by bit - I love 2 crop & have played with the diddle daddles u spoke about. I have just learnt to save & upload so I can add them into blogger. Now I have to master side by side pics...? Trial & error seems to be my way of learning plus google searching. ? LOL Still enjoy your bird pics - must take patience & time 2 capture them. Cheers..

  5. And...........One of the reasons your photos pop so much is that you put them on a black background.

  6. I knew exactly what you were saying when you said you only wanted to enhance your photos to share with the reader what you saw when you took the photo. I take a lot of pictures with a great camera and I am still amazed at how much better my eyes are than the camera. I enjoy your daily comments.

  7. This is new for your blog - having the comment box at the bottom without going to a secondary page. Love those mid-air photos - amazing!
    When you were ranch-sitting you went to a photography workshop with a small local group. Maybe there would be interest in the community if you started one there......even at the Escapee park maybe. I don't see you standing in front of a "classroom" but walks in the desert with cameras (like you did in Borrego) might be something you'd enjoy sharing with others a couple times a month?

  8. Yep, lots of people have had that number verification thing pop up lately, aggravating!

  9. I like reading your photo hints... and camera tips.... a while back you wrote about a camera strap that was kind of like a sling (if I remember correctly). I didn't record that info then but now am in the market for a new strap for my camera. I'll try to find that in your past blogs.

  10. I for one am glad that you had the verification problem. It apparently 'forced' you to include the Comments on the same web page as the blog. The separate pop up for Comments has always bugged me.
    Good explanation/justification for using the Picasa editing tools to enhance/return a photo to a natural state of color & exposure. One persons enhancement is another persons returning the photo to a natural state of color & exposure. One person believes that the camera captures the photo correctly whereas the other person does not believe that and attempts to make it appear as they saw it.
    Different philosophies of photography. Or as it has been said:
    Great photography is simple.
    It is merely to discover, collect, arrange, create, anticipate or provoke exquisite subject matter; and then to choose, invent, or patiently wait for that properly illuminating and perfectly enhancing light, in order to utilize the proper electronic and mechanical equipment, and the optical and chemical principles and processes, which will isolate, immobilize, and capture the combination forever in a visually meaningful and aesthetically interesting way. It takes only a camera and film - or a digital camera and a photo editing program.

  11. Great photos - the ones of the Cardinals are breathtaking!

  12. Thank you, Al for your Picasa explanations. I love to take photos, lots of them, but I am many times disappointed in the outcome in my blog. I am trying to learn how to make them as I see them, but difficult to do.

    I am going to keep working with the camera and Picasa until I can place a photo out there that I can be proud of.

    Your photos give me something to strive for.