Tag Archives: digital photos

Digital photo effects: Tilt-shift photography

a.k.a. the Diorama effect, Diorama illusion, or miniature faking

A friend – Kelly Stewart (Nashville Hiking Meetup group) – showed me some photos of downtown Nashville last year that he had Photoshopped so as to make the buildings, cars, people, etc. appear in miniature – just as though you were standing tall over a complex, well-lit, miniature scale model train set city.

Here’s a before and after example:

before tilt-shift photo effects

after tilt-shift photo effects

Creatively thinking, I realized this is how downtown Nashville might appear to Godzilla or King Kong on a magic mushroom trip.

At the time, I thought this was one of the coolest photo effects I’d ever seen — and this “diorama faking” digital photo effect remains my favorite of all digital photo enhancements and effects. There are plenty of tutorials for creating this effect using Photoshop, GIMP, etc. Some of the most popular resources currently available are listed below.

before tilt-shift photo effects

after tilt-shift photo effects

I was told by my photographer buddy Steve Dieringer that the tilt-shift digital photography effect can also be achieved by using Lensbaby. From their home page:

Lensbaby is a system of creative effects lenses, optics, and accessories. Start exploring with any one of our lenses to begin your Lensbaby journey today. When you’re ready for more options, check out our line of interchangeable optics and accessories.

(NOTE: Nashville photographer Steve Dieringer operates Action Sports Photo and is also an expert in nature photography; Steve works in the Nashville, TN area.)

Resources: Tilt-shift photography, Photoshop instructions

Resources: Creating the Tilt-Shift Photo Effect in GIMP

This was originally written on Monday, April 18, 2011.

How to view compressed (zipped) photos

Pixie, the wonderful Dale doggie, on Christmas morning 2011I recently emailed a batch of digital Christmas photos to my sister. As usual, I zipped them up. That is, I compressed the photos into a smaller package – the standard, efficient way to send sets of images as email attachments.

My assumption – that she had previously encountered zipped (compressed) files, knew how to work with them, or that Windows would open the compressed photos for her automatically – was wrong. :O (It is easy to take such things for granted – and making assumptions is not a good habit…)

This short post was converted from the instructions I quickly compiled and emailed to my sister. I hope this content clearly explains the simple steps that even a computing noob (i.e., a beginner) can follow in order to handle zipped/compressed files successfully – on a Windows machine, at least.

Quick and easy instructions for handling compressed files:

Pixie, the wonderful Dale doggie, on Christmas morning 2011

  1. Open the email to which the ZIP archive (collection of digital photos) is attached
  2. Save the ZIP file to the specific folder where you prefer to store your photos (My Pictures, for instance)
  3. Use Windows Explorer [1] to navigate to the My Pictures folder
  4. Right-click on the zipped file
  5. Choose Extract (or Unzip or Decompress – it varies depending on what your default compression software is)
  6. Windows will go about unzipping (decompressing) the collection of images, which can then be viewed however you prefer to view pictures on your computer

[1] Right-click on the Windows Start button, choose Explore (or Windows Explorer, or something similar – depends on Windows version)

The doggie photos

The subject of both photos on this page is dear, sweet little Pixie, the beloved, five-pound micro-dog of my sister’s family – the Dales – as she appeared and behaved on Christmas morning of 2011! NOTE: As with most posts on my blogs, if you click your browser’s Refresh button, you may see different images – in this case, of the dear, petit canine!

This post is closely related to another entitled Using the context menu to view details on Windows PCs.

How to quickly create photo galleries in WordPress

Photoblogging basics & techniques

LindsleyThis morning, I attended a church service – a somewhat rare event for me, actually – at Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ where Steve Garrett preaches every Sunday. I’ve known Steve since college; we both attended Lipscomb University, graduating around 1989. Lindsley Avenue is a tiny little congregation in downtown Nashville, Tennessee – at least as far as Nashville churches go; but the catch is, the old church building is a classic, beautiful, turn-of-the-century brick sanctuary which has managed to retain most of its original stained glass windows of the sort one just doesn’t see much anymore. The Lindsley Avenue church building is listed on the Nashville Historic Register.

May 15, 1984 saw several churches added to the National Register by way of a thematic resources listing, Nineteenth Century Churches of South Nashville, including St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Rectory, Primitive Baptist Church, Elm Street Methodist Church, and the Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ. (Source: Metropolitan Nashville Historical Commission Newsletter, May 2011)

We had been discussing the design of a new website, blog, events app, and so forth, so I brought along my trusty Olympus Stylus and took a couple hundred photos.

When I returned home, I began to dread the hours of my time that would be demanded by my usual process of image editing, digital photo organization, file uploading, and finally, website implementation of these hundreds of images, despite saving lots of time by taking advantage of FastStone Photo Resizer’s impressive and efficient batch photo processing capabilities. (If my blog had any regular readers, they’d know I like to use a PHP image rotation script which displays images at random each time a given blog post is loaded into a visitor’s web browser. It’s a rather simple but very effective technique which keeps the pages and posts on my sites and blogs looking as though they’re updated quite frequently, or even daily – even though this is rarely the case.)

I wanted to find a much speedier method of posting large numbers of photos into my various WordPress blogs. I began to wonder what techniques real photographers might use when they need to post a new photo gallery to their WordPress blogs efficiently and professionally in time to meet a looming deadline. During the course of this research, I started to become personally interested in photoblogging.

The timing is just perfect; a client and partner of mine is currently growing at least two Nashville photography websites, and I have been planning to start my own photography website and perhaps also sell stock photos in order to create at least a trickle of new revenue…

What’s a photoblog?

A photoblog is different than a typical content-centric blog, which emphasizes the textual content and perhaps features only the occasional image; photoblogs focus almost entirely on images. Often, just about the only textual content within a photoblog post would be the photo captions.

Many more photoblogging basics on the way… still researching, testing… in the meantime, here are a few notable photoblogging resources

Resources: Photoblogging in general

Resources: Photoblogging with WordPress

Photo gallery scripts that work with WordPress

There are many PHP and Javascripts available that will allow you to create and manage online galleries on your WordPress site. Here are just a few that have been successfully integrated with WordPress. As of Version 2.5, WordPress has included a gallery function using the shortcode.

ANIga gallery
AWSOM Pixgallery Art/Webcomic plugin
Build Your Own CSS-based Gallery
Duh Gallery
fMoblog – Upload and display images from your cell phone.
Gallery 2 embedded in WordPress using the WPG2 Plugin
GRAND Flash Album Gallery – multi category flash skin based photo gallery with powerful admin. CodEasily.com
Lazyest Gallery Automatically includes galleries uploaded by ftp
NextGEN Gallery
PhotoJAR – Adds numerous features to the built-in WordPress gallery
PhotoSmash Galleries – User contributable galleries that add images to the WordPress Media Gallery. More info atplugin homepage
Page Flip Image Gallery – 90 day trialware–other versions require payment. GPL Version
Piwigo with PiwigoMedia to insert photos in your posts and PiwigoPress to display thumbnails in your sidebar
eSPG: enhanced Simple PHP Gallery
WordPress Include Page Plugin
w3images gallery – add an useful and costumizable Images Gallery to your WordPress
Zenphoto – +WP plugin

Resources: Lindsley Avenue Church

Free sources for great photos to use in your blog posts

Selling stock photography

Started on Sunday, November 20, 2011