Category Archives: Enjoy

A Quick Look at flickr

 view_photo

If you have been taking photos for a while you have most likely heard of flickr. Put simply flickr is an online photo sharing website where users can upload their photos and short videos to share with the rest of the world. Flickr is the largest and most active photo sharing site at this time and is the most accepted by armatures as well as pro photographers.

Uploading your sports photos is fairly strait forward. Once you have logged in you click the down arrow next to the “You” menu item at the top of the screen and then select upload photos and videos from the drop-down menu. Once you are there you click the Choose photo text which brings up a new window of what is on your local computer. Some of the photo organizers such as Windows Live Photo Gallery include a button that enables you to upload your selected photos within that application so you don’t have to login to your flickr account in your browser. Others such as Picasa have third party plug-ins you can install to give similar functionality. I would actually recommend using one of these options over the online offering flickr has built in.

plublish_to_flickr

Flickr offers many of the basic features of most other photo sharing sites such as organization, tags and ordering prints but it also goes beyond this allowing you to do a fair amount of editing of your photos online. You can do your normal crop, rotate, and resize that others might offer but you can also adjust the color, sharpen and fix red-eye. In addition to fixing your photos you can also use their create feature.

In the create tool box you are given a plethora of filters and options you can use to modify and play with your photos. You can add a number of shapes to your photo or add a variety of frames and text. It’s just like having a photo editing program running in your browser.

photo_editing

Unfortunately this editing service is provided by Picnik and not all of the features are free. If you want full access to all of the options you will have to pay a $24.95 a year fee. This also brings up the point that flickr itself has a basic plan which is absolutely free but they also provide a premium plan which costs $24.95 a year note that even though this is the same price as the picnic service it does not include the premium options available through picnic. If you do decide to upgrade your flickr account you get unlimited storage and you can also able to upload videos. If you just want to stick with the free account you are allowed to upload 100 MB worth of photos each month. Keep in mind this is calculated by uploaded data and not storage. For example say you uploaded 50 photos and that used 50 MB of your transfer limit. So if you then delete 25 of your photos off of flickr you do not get 25 MB of your monthly limit back because it is the transfer amount and not the storage amount. If you are just a casual user and don’t want to store your entire photo library on flickr you should be just fine with the free account they provide.

Flickr comes with a great way of organizing you photos but it can be a little confusing at first. You organize your photos into sets. These are what you would probably think of as folders on your computer. The only difference that I can tell is that you cannot create a new set inside of another set. You can add photos to your sets easily by just dragging and dropping the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen into the big box they provide above.

Another great feature flickr has to offer is called groups. This feature lets you send certain types of photos to the same group as other people. An example might be you and your family members setup a group for the 2008 family reunion. Now everyone with a flickr account can submit photos that they took at the family reunion to that same group. This makes it very easy for everyone to get their photos collected into one location.

Overall flickr is a cool way to share your sports photos with the rest of the photography world. There is a bit of a learning curve to get through at the beginning but once you do surpass it you will be a flickr pro in not time.

Terance

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

Use Photoshop Elements to Create a Collage

Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 is the best sports photography image editing software I have used for someone who wants a little more control over editing their sports photos than the most basic features offered in most photo organizers and don’t want to pay the insanely high price that Adobe Photoshop CS4 costs. I won’t go into the details of the overall program in this article, but rather focus on one feature that many may find useful when they are feeling creative.

The collage feature lets you place a number of photos onto a single page in a variety of designs. You are given the options to rearrange and size each photo individually to your preference. After creating your collage you are can then save or print the final output. This is a great way to send a family member or friend the shots from last weeks soccer game in a fun and unique way.

The first thing you need to do is find the photos you want to use for your collage. You can either grab your photos from the organizer or just drag and drop them from your file folder to the Photoshop Express workspace.

gathering_photos

If you are in the organizer you can simply select the photos, click the create tab and select Photo Collage. If you have dragged the photos directly into Photoshop Express, you can click the create tab as well and select Photo Collage as well.

Now you have a variety of templates you can choose from. You will want to click the template you want to use and then click the done button near the bottom right of the window.

Collage_Tab

Photoshop Express will now place the photos you had selected into one template file. If you happened to have selected more photos than would fit on one template, it will give you multiple pages you can select from at the bottom of the window. Now that you have a basic layout, you can start working on arranging and resizing the individual photos.

building_collage

To move a photo to a different place, you just click and drag it around the window. To resize the photo you click on the photo you want to work with and click and drag a corner of the photo until it’s the size you would like. You may also notice a circle icon underneath the photos as well. If you click and drag this icon it will rotate your photo depending on which direction you drag your mouse. Alternatively you can simply click and drag your mouse outside of the photo boundaries to rotate your photo as well. You may also want to note that after doing your adjustments you may need to click the green check mark that appears or press the Enter key on your keyboard. This will finalize your adjustments and let you continue editing other photos.

There are a number of other options you can use found under a menu accessed by right clicking on the photo you want to use them on. For example to send a photo behind another one, right click on the front photo and select “Send Backward”. You can also resize the photo to fill more of the frame that it is constrained to through the same menu. It’s also worth noting that your photos are simply different layers on your one file. This means that if you go back to the edit tab, you can do all the adjustments you would normally have access to.

edit_menu

Once you are happy with your final creation, you can simply save it, print it, or do whatever other tasks you would do to any other file created in Photoshop Express.

Terance

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

What is a Tag

 tagging

If you have been working with a photo organizing application in the past couple of years you may have heard the word “tag”. Put simply tags are a way for you to find your photos more quickly and easier than manually searching through thousands and thousands of individual photos.

Technically a tag is just descriptive words that are saved into the photo file itself. This means that whenever you add a tag to your photo that information will stay with that photo. You will be able to copy it to a CD or upload it to your favorite online photo sharing site and the tag information will still be there.

There are a number of tag types you can add to your photos. For example you can add a title tag, descriptive tags, an author, and a number of other types. What tags you are able to add will depend on the software you are using. Some applications will let you add more types of tags than others. For example one application may allow you to add a GPS tag while another may not. This also brings up the point of compatibility.

Some applications may use a non standard way of adding the tag information to your file. This can be a major problem if you decide to use another program that doesn’t support the way that the other program added the tag information. The best way to find out is to try adding some tags in one application and then try to see that information in another application. If the other application can see the tag information than most likely you are safe. You should also be able to find out by either searching around on the applications website or just do a search on the Internet. I have found that all the programs I’ve used in the past year or so have all at least implemented the common tag types in a standard way. If you are still not sure or don’t trust the photo organizer you are using, you can always get a tool dedicated to adding tags such as Microsoft Pro Photo Tools or iTag. Both these solutions will allow you to tag all of your family photos without worrying about not being able to read that information later.

Before we go any further let’s look at an example of what kinds of tags we would typically want to apply to our photos.

soccer player

As you can see from the image above there are a couple tags that have already been entered in for me. This includes the date the photo was taken, the camera that took the photo and a few other technical details. You can also see that there are a number of these tags that I can not change such as what settings I had the camera set to when taking the photo. The tags I am interested in adding are the descriptive tags and the caption. The descriptive tags should be something like soccer game and soccer tournament. The descriptive tag should be a quick summary of the photo. Something like State Cup Soccer Tournament would do just fine for this photo. All I do to add these tags is click just underneath the headings, where it says to add a caption or description. It then allows me to type in what information I want. Below is the same photo with the tags added.

soccer_tags_added

Depending on the program you are using it will vary where and how you add tags to your photos, but most of them will have a dedicated box just for this purpose. They may not call it a tag but rather something like “Add a description”.

Now that we have learned a little about tagging and how to add them, let’s talk about the benefits of doing all this work. The number one reason for tagging your photos in my opinion is to be able to find the photos you want quickly and easily. Let’s say you took photos at Grandpas birthday a couple years back and now Grandma is putting together a scrapbook and she needs some photos from the event. If you tagged these photos with birthday and grandpa it should be a snap to find them. Again depending on how your application does search this may vary, but let’s take a look at how we can find the cow photo above.

gallery

In the picture above it shows my main gallery with a total number of photos at 5539. Now on the left side you can see I can sort these by folder, date taken, people, or descriptive tags. To find my photo of the cow I can just click the “Cow” tag under descriptive tags. This Windows Live Gallery also provides me with a search box at the top in which I could also type in the word cow to bring up all the photos that contained the tag cow. In addition to sorting with one tag, you can select multiple tags at one time to fine tune your results. This would be perfect for finding that photo of Grandpa as you could find all the photos that contained both Grandpa and Birthday.

As you can see adding tags to your photos can be extremely helpful and if you add your tags each time you copy your photos from your camera to your computer it really doesn’t take much time at all.

Terance

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

Emailing Your Photos

 attach_photos

You always want to share those great sports photos.  It may seem like a simple thing to do, but there are a number of things to remember and be watchful for when planning to email your photos.

When sending your photos through email you may not want to send the full high resolution file. Many email services don’t let you send more than 10 MB each email. With the ever growing megapixel cameras this limit can be reached with just a few photos. Windows Live/Hotmail actually provides a great feature specifically designed for attaching photos. You can rotate, crop, adjust brightness and do a few other small adjustments right in your browser. Be careful with this feature as it doesn’t give you an option to change the resolution of the photo you are sending. The default size that it will send is a fairly low resolution version of the file. If the recipient isn’t go to print the photo then it’s not a big deal.

If your email service doesn’t provide this feature you may want to resize your photos before you send them to your family and friends. When resizing your photos make sure that you don’t resize your originals. I would suggest copying the photos you want to email to a separate folder first and then go into your favorite photo organizer/editor and do the resizing on the photos you just copied.

Speaking of photo organizers, many of them now include the option to email photos directly in the program. Some may just open up your default mail application, but at least it includes all the photos you had selected in the email automatically.

Email_With_Windows_Live

Whatever your preference may be keep the above suggestions in mind and your friends and family members will be enjoying your photos in no time.

Terance

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

I Can’t or I Won’t

 

Children are drawn to sports like geeks to the newest iPhone; they can’t help themselves. Even the shy ones, the overweight ones, the ones who are all elbows and thumbs, the ones who hate sweat, all still possess the restless energy that yearns to run and shriek and jump. And when you can run and shriek and jump with friends, it’s even better. Sports channels that energy, gives it focus. Rather than aimlessly running around on the playground, everyone has a place and a job to do, with defined rules and understandable goals. It’s sandbox sharing on a grand scale, as each member of the team learns to support everyone else.  When you capture that emotion in a photograph, that is when you have become a real sports photographer.

“But my child is more of a scholastic,” parents may worry. “I just can’t see her running around in the mud.” Maybe not, but sport is not just for the natural athlete. The bookworm not only can, but should, get out there, too. Parents focused on getting their child into Harvard would do well to remember that schools look at more than academics. The coveted Rhodes Scholarship, which has launched so many careers in business, politics, science, and statesmanship, goes only to college students who not only score high academically, but are athletes as well. Cecil Rhodes knew that a well-rounded individual is one who has learned on the sports field many crucial life lessons that books alone cannot teach.

What lessons? What does playing baseball have to offer that a good chess club cannot? You mean, aside from vigorous physical activity to tone up the body, strengthen the heart, and get our increasingly sedentary children out of their chairs?

The chess match requires mental discipline, knowledge of the game, strategic thinking, and a desire to win. A race, a tennis match, a football game, a skating routine, all require mental focus, physical stamina, the ability to “read” the opposition, and the willpower to keep going hard enough, fast enough, and long enough to at least finish, if not win. Showing up for the chess match or for the local Key Club project demonstrates responsibility, but acquiring willpower of the type required for sports is a matter of self-discipline, of physical effort, of step-by-step progress that can be measured and appreciated: “Today I ran an extra quarter mile. Next time I’ll try for another.” Every day that a child sticks to a training routine builds a habit of self-discipline that produces not only heightened self-esteem, but the confidence that comes with achieving a goal. That feeling and those habits instill, at very deep levels, the knowledge that “I can!”

Barack Obama famously used “Yes, we can” to win the White House. It is probably not a coincidence that the 44th president is an accomplished basketball player who played on his high school team and enjoys pickup games whenever he can find one. For him, it was not organized league sports that taught him the most valuable lessons, but those impromptu games against a variety of players who cared only about how well you could play, not who or what you were. Sports has the power to reduce life to its essentials, erasing differences in skin color, national origin, social background, and other artificial barriers. It comes down to “show me what you got,” a game any child can play.

And what if your child doesn’t “have it”? So what? Does that mean he can’t improve? Should she trudge home in defeat, convinced she can never fit in because she can’t sink that basket or beat that girl to the finish line? It is not the quitters we admire, but the people who take defeat as a challenge to do better.  These lessons and memories are what can be captured in a photograph and which helps these lessons to be remembered.

Can’t or won’t—sports helps us discover how to turn “I don’t want to” into “Look what I did!”

Sync your Photos

Sync your photos

sync_your_photos

Ever wanted to show your friend a great sports photo from last weeks event? You pull out your laptop, boot it up, and then realize it’s back on the desktop computer at home. Don’t let this frustration ever happen again.

There is an easy way to avoid this situation and it’s called Windows Live Sync. This small application basically takes all your photos from one computer and keeps them synced up with your other computers. Anytime you add some photos to one machine it sends those same photos to all the other computers you specified.

The great part is if you use Windows Live Gallery, Sync is already set to be used. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have Windows Live Gallery installed on each computer you would like to keep synced. Now just open up Windows Live Gallery, click file, then select Setup gallery sync. It will guide you through a simple wizard to get you going.

setup_sync

Once it’s setup you don’t have to worry about it. All of the syncing takes place in the background so you can keep on viewing or editing your photos like normal, you don’t even need to keep Windows Live Gallery open for things to keep up to date.

Windows Live Sync doesn’t have to be limited to your sports photos either, you can have it sync any folder you want with your other computers. So if you ever find yourself wishing you had your other computer with the photos you need, you may want to take a look at Windows Live Sync.

Terance

ProPix Photography

The Sports Photography Professionals

Tapping the Power Inside

 

Can you capture the character of adversity and the power of the mind over the physical body in your sports photos.  Conventional wisdom tells us that character is built through adversity. When faced with life or death, people tend to quickly discover either their worst or their best traits. Sports allows a less drastic means of finding out whether we are winners or whiners. Better yet—it provides us continuous opportunities to change from one to the other. One-on-one with that alarm clock demanding we get up and go work out, we can either roll over and pretend not to hear it, or get up and claim a small victory. Having turned that small victory into that extra quarter mile today, we arrive at work or school smiling and a little fitter, a little stronger, a little more confident in our own power to control and change our lives—all by ourselves!

Any success in sports comes down in large measure to the self-discipline of the individual. That does not mean just sticking to a workout program, or working hard to improve game skills. Establishing a routine can build life-long habits of eating better and exercising; children who must get themselves up to work out before school, or get from Point A to Point B in time for the practice or game, learn responsibility as well. Disappointing the whole team because you were late is a powerful lesson in consequences, one that will stick even longer because it was self-taught. Self-discipline also encompasses learning to let teammates work in their own way, even if you don’t agree with it; or refraining from going out of your assigned zone to chase the ball. How many times have we seen a point lost because a zealous player interfered with someone who was actually getting the job done? Sticking to the job is the mark of the professional; it can be learned in fifth grade hockey as easily as at your first paid employment.

The relationship between success at sports and success in life has long been proven. The notion that sports and academics are somehow for separate “types” of people is a stereotype that puts up artificial social barriers. All children have the urge to run and play, yet when some start to display superior running, jumping, or throwing abilities, others may want to hang back, sparing themselves the humiliation of losing. Or, just as damaging, they tell themselves they’re above all that silliness; that sports, and those other kids who focus their energies on making baskets instead of grades, are a waste of their time. Of course, the sports-minded kids think the “brains” are snooty, and both sides miss the mark.

Any coach can tell you that half the victory is achieved in the mind; races are as much about strategy as about pure athletic effort. “Work smarter, not harder,” applies equally to the playing field as to the work place. That toned body is important, but being able to spot the pattern in an opponent’s game might give your bookworm an edge over a fitter or more naturally talented player. The sheer diversity of champions should teach us all that victory is not as much about native ability as it is about determination.

Consider Olympic gold medal wrestler Rulon Gardner. The youngest of nine children, he continually lost at games and wrestling matches to his older brothers. "In high school, I didn’t get the chance to wrestle varsity until my senior year because I had an older brother who was better than me,” he says. He was told he wasn’t good enough to wrestle at the international level. He was gently discouraged from college because it was thought he wouldn’t make it through. He did, in fact, graduate from college. Though wrestling against more talented opponents, his determination got him onto the United States wrestling squad. His dedication to fitness training left his “better” adversaries panting and defeated. When told he would face a world champion who had not lost a match in 13 years, Rulon studied every detail of his opponent’s career—and produced the “Miracle on the Mat” at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. No one thought he could win. No one except Rulon, who simply refused to give up.  Is he extraordinary? Perhaps. But sports gave him a venue to prove himself to be more than what people assumed he was.

Understanding this character and emotion that is created with sports will encourage you to take close ups of athletes faces.  There are moments during half-time, at the end of competitions or lulls in the action or even during the action where you will want to zoom in just on the athletes face to capture that imagery.  These will become some of your most beloved and remembered sports photos.