David Chandler's Journal of Java Web and Mobile Development

  • David M. Chandler

    Web app developer since 1994 and Google Cloud Platform Instructor now residing in Colorado. Besides tech, I enjoy landscape photography and share my work at ColoradoPhoto.gallery.

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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

And the best digital photo frame is…

Posted by David Chandler on September 20, 2021

…your Smart TV. I recently bought a digital photo frame only to discover that the app (Frameo) only allows you to send 10 photos at a time. Yuck, returned it.

Then I bought a Google Nest Home Hub Max, which is a really sweet device. It has great sound including bass (which you can tweak via Settings in the Google Home app), home control on screen as well as via Google Assistant (voice), a built-in camera which can be used as a Nest security cam or for video calling with Google or Zoom, the ability to play various music services, YouTube videos or Nextflix, and even cast to a Roku or Chromecast (Android TV). But I mainly bought it as a digital photo frame. Whenever you’re not interacting with it, Max cycles through your selected Google Photos album. You can create and choose a “live album” like Friends and Family, which automatically shows new photos containing the faces you’ve selected. And the photo show goes on while playing music in the background. My wife can now finally see all the photos of our kids we’ve been taking for the last 20 years… AND turn off the lights in Google Home without having me around.

I definitely plan to keep the Max. It’s a beautiful device with a lot of useful features. But after I set it up, I realized that with respect to photos, I could have done the same thing with the Sony Android TV already in my living room, which for the last year has been displaying beautiful, curated nature photos from around the world (the default setting). I forgot that once you add the TV (or Chromecast device) to the Google Home app, you can select an album to display in “ambient mode”, including a live album. Now that I think about it, I’m just guessing that devices from Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick have the same capability, which might explain why the dedicated photo frame apps are so limited in functionality. The market has moved on, and I’m just now getting the message đŸ™‚


Posted in Android, PC Tech, Photography | Leave a Comment »

How to backup or move Picasa albums

Posted by David Chandler on November 7, 2009

Update Aug 13, 2012: as of Picasa 3.9, it is no longer necessary to backup Picasa albums separately using the technique discussed here. They are stored in the same folders as your photos, so you can simply copy all your photo folders to a new machine and you’re all set.

I’ve been very happily managing my photos with Picasa since version 2. Many machines ago, I began storing photos along with all my other portable data in a directory separate from the normal Windows user folder to make it easy to back up and move files between machines with an external hard drive. So far so good.

The problem is how to back up and/or move Picasa albums to a new machine, as these are not stored with your photo files like Picasa edits and captions are. Picasa 3 now offers a way to export the entire photo database; however, it is very slow and results in a very large file (multi-GB) when you have 10 years’ worth of digital photos. It’s not practical to export the entire database to make a weekly backup, so I was delighted to find this technique on a forum which allows you to move just your album data:

Restore Picasa albums

I’ve done it many times and it works. This way, you can continue to use an incremental backup solution for photo files and backup the tiny amount of data in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2Albums\ to save your albums. The only catch is that when you rebuild the Picasa database as instructed in the link above, the photos referenced in the album must be in the same directory location as they were when the album was created.

In order to ensure that my photos stay in the same directory structure even when Microsoft changes the location of the Users folder between, say, XP and Vista, I keep all my photos in a directory outside the Windows user directory (I use C:\@My\Photos). When I get a new machine, all I have to do is:

  1. Copy the whole C:\@My directory to the new machine
  2. Install Picasa
  3. Copy the Picasa2Albums directory into place under the Users folder (C:\Users\David\AppData\Local\Google\Picasa2Albums\ in Vista)
  4. Rebuild the Picasa database as instructed above using the Shift+Ctrl+Alt combination.

Of course, this technique may not be supported forever, and hopefully won’t be needed as Google continues to improve Picasa. But for now, it allows me to backup my albums on a regular basis and know that I’ll be able to move my photos, albums and all, to a new machine when needed.

Posted in PC Tech, Photography | 6 Comments »

How to clean up muddy water

Posted by David Chandler on October 29, 2009

in Photoshop, that is…

  1. Select the muddy water using the quick selection tool.
  2. Create a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer using the selection as the mask.
  3. In the Hue/Saturation dialog, select the Yellow channel.
  4. Set saturation way down and luminance way up.
  5. Now people will think your photo was taken in the pristine waters of the Rockies instead of Georgia…




Posted in Photography | Leave a Comment »

“Secret” lighting correction technique in Photoshop

Posted by David Chandler on October 14, 2009

Java folks, permit me an off topic post for fellow photography fans…

An instructor recently shared  a technique for correcting lighting that does not seem to be well known, but which I’ve found to be incredibly useful. It is much easier than making corrections to individual areas of the photo. Try it and be amazed.

  1. Starting with the original photo, create a duplicate layer (Layer | Duplicate Layer…).
  2. In the Layers panel, click on the icon box for the new layer. Desaturate (Ctrl+Shift+U) and invert (Ctrl+I) it to make a black & white negative.
  3. Select “Overlay” blending mode for the new layer. Powerful, huh?
  4. Reduce the layer opacity and fill percentages to taste.
  5. With the desaturated layer selected (click the desaturated layer’s icon box), do a Gaussian Blur filter (Filter | Blur | Gaussian Blur…). The larger the pixel radius, the more apparent sharpening you will get, but watch out for ghosting around edges if you go too large.

The desaturated negative also makes a great mask for other types of adjustment layers, like Brightness / Contrast and Exposure. It is not intuitive how to create a mask from a layer, but I found instructions here.


Posted in Photography | 4 Comments »

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