Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Black and White Photos with Google Photos

“Tag, you’re IT!” That’s what it’s like in today’s world on Facebook. Its called a “Challenge” and the latest one is about Black and White photography.
Seven days, seven black and white photos of your life. No people, no pets, no explanations.
I usually ignore challenges, I’m a party pooper, I don’t want to play. But, I liked this, I wanted to play. Here are my 7 pictures:
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#1 Dolphin carving, black and white with vignette
#2 WWII Museum in New Orleans - just black and white with a little Pop

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#2 Lighthouse: Vogue filter with a little Pop!
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#3 Jackalope
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#4 Roadtrek
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#5 Union Station Kansas City
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#7 Bridge over Missouri river in Kansas City. Also added some "Drama" using Snapseed

I Cheated

I did not use Black and White film! I didn’t set my digital camera to take black and white photos. I didn’t even use my phone’s capability to take photos in black and white  mode. I took color pictures. A few of these, like the lighthouse,  are even old color pictures I chose, then I used very simple editing tools to create the B&W images.
Here’s the lighthouse photo that I took back in September 2016, it’s in my Google Photos library.
lighthouse
To turn this into a Black and White photo, all I had to do was click to open it, then click the Edit tool: image Now I see a number of “filters”, including 3 different black and white filters: Eiffel, Vogue, and Vista. Just try clicking on each one and see what it does. I like the Vogue the best, but then I also add a little Pop to sharpen the lines a bit.
image
The filter does the trick, but there’s another way I think I like even better. You can click on the Adjustments button: image Yes, I know, it looks just like the Edit button above. Don’t ask me why, I liked the old pencil for the edit button personally! Anyway, once you’re in the adjustments, you’ll see a slider for color. If you drag that all the way to the left, you’ll remove all the color … that makes it black and white! Then, you can also add a little “Pop!” If you add more pop, you’ll get some of the color back, but in a special, muted way. Watch this quick video and I'll show you exactly how to do it.


Partial Black and White

If you watch the video, you'll see how Jim made this image of  our musician friends, Victor and Penny, performing at Cafe Paradiso in Fairfield, Iowa. Notice how the photo is not completely black and white, but it's not really color either.

Want to give it a try?

Don’t wait for a challenge, just do it. You can post them on Facebook, or you can even leave a link here in the comments where we can see your black and white masterpieces. To get a link:
  1. Select the pictures you want to share
  2. Click the share button: 56shareX2
  3. Get Link, Copy
  4. Start a comment here, then paste the link
Leave a comment about which photo above that you like the best.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

How to show your phone's photos on the big screen TV


We had company over for dinner last night and, invariably, there came a time where they started showing us pictures from their last trip. They opened the photos on their phone, then we would pass the phone around. 
Wait a minute! 
We can do better than that. 
Let's have a real slideshow using the big screen TV. We have a TV with several HDMI ports. In HDMI 2 we have plugged in a Chromecast device. The phone in question is an iPhone. The Chromecast device works just fine with either iPhone or Android. You can purchase them for about $35 at Amazon, or any electronics store like Best Buy. 
Here's what you do:

  1. Set the TV source to HDMI2 (whatever port has the Chromecast device plugged in)
  2. Connect the phone to the same WiFi hotspot that the TV/Chromecast is connected to. Our household hotspot is "Geeks Hotspot" When we first installed the Chromecast, we followed the instructions to connect it to that hotspot.
    I told our friends to go to the WiFi settings on their iPhone and connect to Geeks Hostpot. I gave them the password.
  3. Open Google Photos and open the first photos you want to show, then tap the chromecast button in the upper right. 
  4. You should now be seeing that photo on the TV. On an iPhone, you will need to swipe left to see the next photo. On Android, you can tap the 3-dot menu and choose Play Slideshow to have the photos progress automatically.
To learn lots more about displaying your pictures and other things on your TV, see episode 108 of What Does this Button Do.


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.