Holiday Photo Planning

Holidays bring new photo opportunities, but finding those opportunities isn’t always easy.

A bit of research can be a good idea to start you off, before trying to find that unique take on a beauty spot.

Click here for a tool that combines the Google maps interface with various photo sharing sites to give you a start on planning your next trip.

Be aware that the accuracy of the tool relies on the GPS data that comes from the image and may not always be spot on.


Post Instagram from your computer

Regardless of whether you are new to Instagram or an old hand, you probably wish it was possible to upload images directly from your computer. Well, it is now. Here’s how:

  1. Open Google Chrome (install if needed)
  2. Use the following shortcut; either Ctrl+Shift+i (Windows), or Command+Shift+(Mac) . This opens the developer window that can be resized so it doesn’t dominate your screen.
  3. Use the following shortcut; either Ctrl+Shift+m (Windows) or Command+Shift+m (Mac)  You are now in Mobile simulation mode.
  4. Login to your Instagram account, hopefully things will appear the same as viewing Instagram on a mobile device.

Note: Instagram appears to be ignoring #hashtags when posting them with the image itself. However, posting #hashtags in a separate comment will work correctly.



Editing Photos with Snapseed

More and more cameras have built-in WiFi, and there are a number of manufacturers producing SD cards that are WiFi enabled. For $30/40 most digital cameras can be WiFi enabled.

When matching this functionality with smart phones, it becomes easy to edit and share images without the need for a computer. This comes into it’s own when away for the weekend or longer and you wish to travel light.

There are many image editing applications, some of them free. One such free application is Google’s Snapseed.  A new version of Snapseed was released late last year and as well as a revamp to the appearance, two important tools have been included; an adjustment brush and a spot healing tool.

Other apps have spot healing built in, but they lack the usability or effectiveness of Snapseed, you end up having to use two applications to edit a single photo. Now it is possible to remove unwanted specs of dust, lens flare, or even the odd person within Snapseed.

An adjustment brush gives flexibility to selectively adjust areas of an image for exposure, dodge/burn, and white balance.

The image below was taken on a recent impromptu DPS visit to Lawrence.

Note the presence of a histogram


The 7 stages of the edit using the various features of Snapseed:

Details: added some contrast, lowered the highlights, and raised the shadows a small amount.

Tune Image: added structure and sharpened a small amount.

Brush: reduced the exposure on the clouds by a 0.3 of a stop, using my finger to paint.

Healing: removed a bottle halfway down the bridge.

The healing tool uses a content aware approach

Vignette: added a darkening vignette. Unlike Lightroom, you can easily position the center of the vignette where you want  to be.

Brush: burned the outside planks, dodged the middle plank ,painting with my finger.

Tune Image: added more contrast.

You can view all the stages of editing that you performed (as shown below), and you can also delete stages. It is also possible to go back and fine tune the edits.

The 7 edits are listed in chronological order


The saved image after the edits.

Note the presence of a histogram

There are also a range of filters and effects that can be applied in various degrees of intensity depending on your taste.

After the edits plus a grunge filter.

Snapseed does claim RAW editing functionality with DNG compatibility. I was unable to use this functionality as my phone is limited in power. This function will no doubt become a significant factor that will make editing on a mobile device more than just an on-the-go option, and could replace PC based editing altogether.

Snapseed is available for Android and iOS and can be downloaded from their respective app stores.

A host of tutorials on using Snapseed are available here.