Photography for Creative Explorers

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Another freebie foto editor

Thanks to, on Dec 27, 2006, I've found yet another photo editor to try out with my next Creative Explorer's Digital Photography group. And she wrote:

Link: Snipshot: Edit pictures online.

I'm researching bookmarklets for this week's edition of the Friday 5 and I stumbled upon this very cool, very basic, and free web based photo editor. If you just need something quick to edit a photo, this might do in a pinch. Installing the bookmarklet is key. This doodad that you install in your browser's toolbar allows you additional functionality in that you can import a picture directly from Flickr, edit it, and then add the edited version to your Flickr account. It's a very painless process.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Lights in Pictures

In our class we will cover taking night time photos, but I am beginning to hear questions about how to get good shots of Chrismas lights at night. So here is my research in the form of a few links:
From Lifehacker

From "Strobist"

Some general rules are as follows:
Close-ups, like a homemade ornament on the tree or your favorite elves, will need a flash.
The tree all lit up will require the use of the night time setting (yeah, the dial you almost never use) or for the "flash" to be turned off. The drawback to the night time setting is that camera's shutter is slowed down, and the result is camera shake (resulting in blurry pictures.) To make-up for that possibility use a tripod.
Take oudoor pictures of lights (i.e. the amazing Christmas extravaganza down the street!!) should be done at dusk, where you can reasonably use a little of the remaining daytime light, but still see the Christmas lights.

Apologies for the dual postings. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More Photo Opportuniies

I know we are not in session right now, and our next Creative Explorers Session begins in January, but I thought I'd share this list as potential "photo opportunities" for our next session. Check them out!
BubbleShare (we did use this once already)
Zoho Show

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Recap of our six week study!

Things to remember from our Creative Explorers Digital Photography Class:

Getting a Digital Camera

  • The higher the megapixel (mp), the better the quality
  • Look for OPTICAL zoom, not digital. Digital zoom is the same a “cropping” using the computer. All that does is “pixelate” the picture. It will not look that good.
  • The newer easy-to-use “point and shoot” digital cameras today range from 5 – 8 mp, most with a 3X optical zoom. Cameras with 3 mp will give you decent pictures, so don’t feel like you need the highest mp available. Your BEST buy, especially at the “beginner” stage, is a camera b/w 3-5 Mp with a 3X Optical zoom in the price range of $85 - $139.
  • Here is a table that shows you the “best” you can expect to print from the various cameras based on megapixels:
    Megapixels - Largest “quality” picture printed
    2.0 - 4x6 inches
    3.0 - 5x7 inches
    4.0 - 8x10 inches
    5.0 - 9x12 inches
    6.0 - 11x14 inches
    8.0 - 12x16 inches
    This table shows approximately how many pictures a memory card for a 5 megapixel camera will hold.
    Memory Card - Number of typical pictures for a 5 megapixel camera
    128 MB - 48
    256 MB - 95
    512 MB - 195
    1 GB - 395
    2 GB - 800

Taking Pictures:

  • Frame your shot
  • Press shutter halfway to auto-balance image before taking pictures
  • Law of Thirds – there should be something interesting in each third of the picture you are framing.
  • Set up posed shots
  • Avoid boring pictures
  • Delete unwanted pictures before the download
  • Use your camera’s settings for Action, Landscape, Close ups, flash for more light

Downloading Pictures:

  • Use the USB cord and camera to download
  • Windows Picture/Scanner wizard and the automatic download feature
  • Use folders with names (to help you remember who, what, where, when, and why)
  • Clear the camera after the download
  • Consider purchasing a memory card reader---the USB method of downloading eats up the battery power of your camera.
  • If you will be downloading a lot of pictures, consider an external hard drive to save pictures, or having them burned to CDs. Pictures will use a lot of memory, and will slow down your computer.
    You might even consider an “online” virtual storage place, such as “ or “Flickr.”

Share your pictures on your computer

  • Right click --Open With Windows Picture & Fax Viewer
  • Play as a slide show right from your desktop
  • Select pictures to print here too - wizard helps you select the size and number of pictures to print.

Editing Pictures

  • Free Editing Tools
  • Picasa (from or Adobe Photo Album
  • Autofix features
  • Crop features
  • Remove red-eye
  • Brighten/Darken
  • Export to a smaller size (for email or web)

Having Fun with Pictures:

  • Bubbleshare
    Visit; set up a free account; upload selected pictures; add transitions and bubbles with text; add music.
  • Windows Moviemaker (WMM)
    WMM is a free editing tool found on all Windows XP operating system computers for images and video
    Start--Programs-- WMM; If not there, Start--Programs--Accessories
    Import your pictures, and edit away.
    When you are finished, save your file as a movie (.wmv file). NOTE—You will need a DVD Burner to save it as a video you can share using a DVD player. WMV files will not play in a DVD player.
  • Windows Photo Story 3 Create slideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Free music can be found at, though there are some copyright restrictions—read the fine print. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.

Our Last Meeting - PhotoStory

Monday, October 30 will be our last Creative Explorers Session for Digital Photography. Students will be introduced to Windows PhotoStory, a free download. It will remind students of Windows Movie Maker, but there is not quite as much creative freedom. There are some online tutorials that help if needed, but I think it is fairly simple. I will provide some screenshots of the steps too, and walk you through making a simple movie.

My music that I use will be from Free Play Music, and you can get LOST for days here trying to find the "just right" music for your PhotoStory! We will cover saving a selection of music too. I would avoid using commercially produced music (from current artists on the radio) since that could be a copyright violation. There are also restrictions on using Free Play Music, so don't plan to sell your story or make any money off of it, or you'll be misusing the music here.

Last, I am going to post in a day or two a recap of everything we have learned in our six week study. I have enjoyed teaching this class, and I hope you have learned a lot too. Please fill out the end of course survey/evaluation before you leave Monday.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Havana and Mom's Bubbleshare!

I finished it a little, but Havana needs to go back and add her bubbles. And I still havent figured out adding music. I do see the voice over narration element though. Too late!

Bubbleshare and our afterschool group today

Today in our Creative Explorers session, we were introduced to Bubbleshare. Only one student successfully posted his Bubbleshare presentation...and I have a theory on why the others were not successful. For the class, I made an account (based on my email address) and gave that information (my email address and a generic Bubbleshare password) for my kids to use. I have to wonder now if the reason only one was successfully posted was because we were all working off of one account at the same time? Even the sample one I was doing was slow and never did finish...I suppose I will see if I can make additional accounts to see if this helps. IF it will allow me to have multiple accounts. I'll have to see. BUT everyone was shown how to make accounts, and shown that the final products could be emailed too.

My other problem....if students create their own Bubbleshare accounts, they will have to email their final product (or worse, give me their login and password for Bubbleshare so that I can copy the html into my Blogger account)...Also, I was under the impression that the Bubbleshare files would have music too. Perhaps I missed where that is added.

I have also learned one more thing about this class and the way I like to do presentations. Previously, I have made a website and weblinks to match the content, and make it easy for participants to get to the links I use. Since I made this blog, I did not do that. What I failed to do though was include weblinks in the blog. Plus it's a good bit of reading, and some of my participants are just too young to deal with my "waxing rhetorical" at times... So for the next Monday class, I will make a website with links to our content to help the participants get to those links quickly. Perhaps I'll get brave and make a wiki--something tells me that would be a suitable use.

There are two more topics I plan to cover in the Creative Explorers class--using Flickr and using Windows Movie Maker to create a movie from their pictures. If I have a really advanced group, we'll consider setting them up in blogger and see if the flickr photos can be listed there. (I'm still trying to figure out Flickr myself.) Remember, I consider myself a beginner too. If anyone knows more about Bubbleshare or Flickr then I seem to, feel free to notify me.

Walker's Pets

Sunday, October 15, 2006


We are going to play wih Bubbleshare today!! Check this one out. I will give you a generic account login, but parents, it is recommended that you and your student create your own account eventually. I hope we have fun today.

We will review the following:
1) downloading pictures to our computer
2) editing pictures for color, size, rotation
3) we will "resize" some selected pictures to use in Bubbleshare

New today:
1) What is Bbbleshare?
2) Creating a Bubbleshare presentation

Monday, October 02, 2006


Today in our Photography Creative Explorers Group, we introduced the concept of taking our own pictures by setting the timer and then posing for the camera. The camera gives about fifteen seconds to get your pose "just right" but most of the kids were too impatient to wait for their camera to take their picture. We got some pretty laughable shots. We then put our pictures into the free image editor from Google--Picasa2. Picasa2 is a free download from Google. It was fun to see them playing around with their photos. I let them check-out their cameras to take home today. My hope is they will take some family photos that they want to share next week. I also plan to let them check out their camera next week to take outside at recess, and then one school day to have all day in class. I want them to make a picture diary of a typical day at school. I'm not sure my first graders will be able to handle it, but I think the others will be fine. We'll see. If you want to download Picasa2 here is a link that will take you directly there. Picasa2.
For a free editor its pretty powerful.
Oh and here's one of my favorite pix from today: