Happy New Year

Wishing you a very Happy New Year … may all your photos be fab.  🙂


Making your own Xmas e-card

Hi everyone,
I covered this topic about a year ago, so I won’t say much more except to give you a link to a PDF I created on this subject …
I’ve put a full-size blue background on my Flickr site, which you’re welcome to download, and add your own Xmas photo to. The thin border I put around this year’s photo is only one pixel in width. You can obviously vary the text for family members, distant relatives and for friends or neighbours.

Here is a reduced-sized version of my current e-card ….


Making a colourful banner for a website or a slideshow

Hi there,

Some of you might like to know how to make a banner like this one … without all the clutter. 🙂


You can use Gimp (which is a free photo-editor) or Photoshop Elements / CC.
The following is for Photoshop Elements 11 in Windows 7.  In Macs, use the Command key instead of the Control key.

First of all, make a white background for yourself – Ctrl + the letter N. Chose a white colour and a resolution of 72 px/ins.
Save this for future use … Shift + Ctrl + the letter S … at maximum quality (12).
Next: click on each colour box on the left hand side, and choose colours you like.
Select the Gradient tool, set as above, and make a sloping swipe across the lower half of your image.
If you’d like to try again, get up the History menu (via Windows on the top toolbar), and go back in time. 

Perhaps now you’d like to change the lightness / darkness of what you’ve done, or have a play with the colours on the
image. Select “Enhance” on the top toolbar, and adjust the lighting or colours to your taste. Save your work again,
with a different title, for future re-use. 

Time now to add some text. Click on T for text in the left hand toolbox, and have a go with a font type, size and colour
to your liking. I like Segoe Script and Print, which is less formal than Arial / Tahoma / Times New Roman. You can
move your text around, and re-size it afterwards. To embed the text in your banner, use Ctrl + the letter E to merge
the text layer with the background. Save your work with a different title – Shift + Ctrl + the letter S. (In Gimp, I think
you have to use the letter E instead – E for export, and I’ve found adding text more fiddly in Gimp than in PE).

Another simple method I use is to create a pale rectangular strip across the middle of one of my reduced-sized photos
(1024px across). To reduce photo size, use Ctrl + Alt + the letter I, to get up the image re-size menu. You just have to
enter the 1024 px value in the width box, and PE will automatically add the height value for you.

Use the Rectangular Marquee tool to create the strip, and then go to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Levels.
Shift the centre small triangle below the histogram to your right, to lighten the strip to your liking. To remove the
“marching ants” around your selection, use the keys: Ctrl + the letter D  (D for deselect).  Add some text as above,
and repeat the embedding and saving process as above. To try again, use the History menu to go back in time.

For your website, you will probably have to reduce the image size down further. The size for this WordPress theme is
768 px across, but if you’re thinking of making your website mobile-friendly, you should use a lower width, say about
450 px across, to fit a mobile phone screen. On Flickr, I use 1024 px width, so I can share better quality pics with
everyone (well those of you with computer monitors of this size and upwards).

Hope you got all that, as there will be a short test next period!  🙂

The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire

Last weekend we visited The National Memorial Arboretum for the second time, this time on a day trip from Nottingham to Shrewsbury with our walking group, The Nottingham Wayfarers. Last time we were here, we were told by one of the guides that the vertical holes in the walls of the central memorial were aligned with the sun’s position at 11:00 hours on every Armistice Day (11 November).

I thought I’d check this out using Google Maps and The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which allows you to see where the sun and moon are, at any time and place – if you’d like to have a look yourself, the postcode is DE13 7AR.

The centre walls of the National Memorial Arboretum

The centre walls of the National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum

... as seen on The Photographer's Ephemeris.

… as seen on The Photographer’s Ephemeris.

Post-Crop Vignetting in Lightroom

Another really easy thing to do, to add drama to your images, is to slightly darken or lighten the edges of your photos, using the Vignetting menu box in LR.  I’m using LR 5 at present, by the way.  Just have a play with the sliders inside the box, to get the look you like …


Next up, a sequence of images, showing my original one, one tarted up in LR, and the final one cropped slightly and slight vignetting added also …

My original RAW image

My original RAW image

After editing in LR

After editing in LR

After cropping and adding a vignette

After cropping and adding a vignette

Tidying & backing up my images

Hi everyone,

At the moment, I’m tidying and then backing up my photos. I usually do a back-up every two months or so, but I’m embarrassed to say that my last back-up was nearly two years ago.  I started using Lightroom 5 in July 2014, when I edited a large batch of photos I took while on holiday in Austria. I was very pleased with the results (and how fast I was able to do the work using LR).

So at present, I’m going through some older sets of photos from July 2013 to July 2014, re-editing them with LR, before I delete all my RAW images.  I’ll keep the JPG versions on both DVDs and external hard drives.

To show you another example of how good LR is, here’s a horse photo I took back in March 2014 on one of our walks with The Nottingham Wayfarers. I used Photoshop Elements to process this RAW image, and LR to do most of the editing for the photo just below it (using the same RAW image).

Before editing in Lightroom 5

Before editing in Lightroom 5

After editing in Lightroom 5

After editing in Lightroom 5

Creating a preset in Lightroom

It’s easy-peasy to create your own presets in Lightroom – you can save loads of time by saving your LR settings for future re-use.

In LR’s Develop mode, get up the left hand dark grey panel. Click on the plus sign alongside the title: “Presets”. This brings up the preset menu. Give your preset a name. Toggle off any tick signs for filters you’ve used. Click on “Create”. 

Your new preset will appear in the dark grey panel, under “User Presets”. When you wish to use it on a new image, open up the grey panel and just click on your preset. It’s amazingly simple to use.

Creating a preset in Lightroom

Creating a preset in Lightroom

Creating a preset in Lightroom

Creating a preset in Lightroom