The further confessions of a happy snapper

coverYou can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and you can’t turn a poorly composed, badly lit, out of focus photo into an award-winning photo. That doesn’t mean I don’t try.

The libraries‘ computers have Picasa. This free download is so easy to use, and is designed to be a photo sharing tool, however I use its photo editing capabilties as well. These are divided into three categories: ‘Basic fixes’,’ Tuning’ and ‘Effects’.

‘Basic fixes’ allow me to do things like crop, correct red-eye and straighten the horizon. ‘Tuning’ is for changing the amount of shadow and highlight. ‘Effects’ allow me to be a little bit creative. I like using Soft Focus, which blurs the background, while keeping the main focus of the photo sharp. I also enjoy using  Focal B&W. It retains the colour in the centre of the photo, and the background fades to black and white. Picasa is something that you can click around and experiment with. If you need help, find books on Picasa at your library.

If you want a whole lot more than what Picasa has to offer, you might like Photoshop. I had Photoshop on my old computer. I would spend ages cropping and colour correcting my old photos. Then I would turn them into oil paintings.  To get the most of Photoshop, you need a manual. The library has quite a large selection; just make sure you choose one that matches your version.

Remember one thing, you can improve your photo to a certain extent with photo editing and you can have fun with special effects, but sometimes the best thing to do is use delete.

Confessions of a happy snapper

CoverThey say you can learn a lot about a woman by looking in her handbag. I don’t know what you would learn about me – I have a wallet,  a pink pen that is not mine, and a digital camera in there.

I take photos all the time. The great thing about digital photography is that you can delete the bad photos and crop or edit the rest. The problem was, some of my photos didn’t look good and I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, help was only a click or two away.

The library has photography books for beginners that can help you improve your composition and fix problems with lighting. There is one book I have found very useful.

Digital compact cameras is ideal for the novice photographer. It explains the rule of thirds, how to use a flash to prevent harsh shadows and has a glossary.  There are days when a book just won’t do, but once again, help is a click or two away:

A photographic treasure trove of Canterbury’s past!

The Christ Church Cathedral under construction, looking at the east arch from Worcester Street, Christchurch (circa 1880)

At your library, we’ve taken great care and time to capture our province’s past. Browse our fine collection of online photographs – they show just how far we have come – and might serve as inspiration for the future.

Our website contains a vast collection of material on Caterbury’s history – did you know the Christ Church Cathedral lost its spire three times in separate earthquakes between 1881 and 1901?