Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Playing With Picasa

Larry, one of my readers, recently turned me on to Picasa after reading about my need to better utilize white balance and my struggles with tech support at Adobe, re: their acursed Photoshop program. I uploaded Picasa from Google, and low and behold it worked right away. Here are the results of a few recent shots with some tweaking via Picasa.

Blue Bottle Coffee at Equator Books in Venice. Yes, Matt. I still think it is the best coffee on the planet after back-to-back taste testings at Equator and Intelligentsia last weekend. No more cuppings at Intelligentsia, sadly. That was solely a grand opening event.

Below hot chocolate, espresso and a drip from Intelligentsia, Venice. Picasa allows me to make a watermark on my photos. I never really thought this was necessary, after all who would steal the photos of a lowly blogger with a day job? Corby Kummer for one, that's who. And me. I took one of Caroline on Crack's twitter photos the other day in an insomniac haze and didn't credit her til she reminded me. Taking someone's image without proper credit is a huge issue in internet publishing. HUGE! Do I like this watermark? Maybe I do. It's small, it's subtle, and it's fairly effortless.

And a beautiful peach dessert from Ludobites...when originally posted was quite dark with few highlights and an inability to make out the curry on and under the mascarpone.

This is actually much truer to the color of the dessert. It is going to take some playing with in order to make sure the edits really represent what I saw, and don't end up looking artificial. I see strange highlights and a slightly alien cast to the photos of some of my peers that I want to be sure to avoid.

A ridiculously delicious slider from an otherwise challenging dinner at One Sunset. This was previously way too dark to even consider publishing. At a blogger dinner hosted by the One Group, we barely had candlelight to aid in shot making.

Thank you, Larry. You have done me a solid.


weezermonkey said...

Very nice!

I'm a terrible photo editor, so I just use the foolproof Picnik program that is free with Flickr. My computer doesn't have enough memory for Photoshop! :)

SinoSoul said...

I'm sorry to say it sucks that you can't return Photoshop. At least I don't think you can return Photoshop.

But I'll one-up "Larry" with more W/B advice. Use a Grey/White card + the Custom Color temperature setting on your D90. See video here. While I don't know how to execute this on the D90, it's far easier to tweak color temp setting BEFORE you shoot.

MGS Photography said...

much better! keep practicing and you'll get it to where you can edit pretty quickly...

Food, she thought. said...

Thank you, Weezer! To hades with Photoshop.

This is precisely the tutoring I need. Thanks!!!

I was actually taught, back in my Canon AE-1 days long before digital, to figure out what I wanted from my shots before taking them. It may be a purist or OG approach, but that is what I am striving for in the long haul. It's a fun journey.

Carrie said...

Beautiful shots! You can tell Photoshop to take a hike. Or a long walk off a short pier.

glutster said...


not to shabby yourself!

I unfortunately don't use any of this stuff, although its looking like I will pretty soon thanks to these two weeks I've spent with photo genious Mattatouille.

He has Picassa and was constantly souping up pics through out the in to blogger pressure I guess :)

Food, she thought. said...


Photoshop can suck it.


You are in good hands. And Picasa is free, perfect for the students budget!

Andee (Runtolive) said...

Hi! So nice meeting you tonight at the Grove event. Here's my blog address:
And my examiner site:
Keep in touch! Your website looks amazing

Larry said...

These look great! Glad you jumped right in with Picasa. The more you play with it the easier it becomes. While I have a gray card, sometimes it's more fuss than you have time for. The Neutral Color Picker function is really remarkable and hasn't let me down yet.

mattatouille said...


Agree with Tony that you should definitely use your custom white balance setting, it will do you must better than wrangling with your colors in post production. I don't bother with carrying a grey card around. Most places have white napkins or menus that work more than fine with setting with your balance.

RE: blue bottle...that stuff is seriously overroasted, but if that's to your liking, then so be it :) i've converted now to the lighter roasts, it really shows more flavors to me. Also, regarding cuppings, it was not just a grand opening event. I did one a few months after it opened, but then again, maybe it was because I was there with Tonx, who's basically the resident twitter/blogger at intelligentsia. I think if we go together I could arrange one for you, but I won't be back until early November.

Oh a word on Picasa. I've actually started using it a lot more since my tiny netbook won't let me use lightroom (actually it might be able to, but i think the resolution is just too small). I still prefer iPhoto, it's a much more powerful photo management software (that's also free), but it requires a mac, which I sadly don't have anymore, at least in laptop form. Picasa is just fine for simple edits, but it's not ideal for me. I do like that it's fast though, it's faster than iPhoto to my experience.

Food, she thought. said...


Yes, when you return let us do a cupping at Intelligentsia Venice. I love the atmosphere over there...Also, funny that you should mention iPhoto as being a better editing tool than Picasa, because I do all my blogging (99.9% from my iMac at home with iPhoto. Maybe I am simply not using my tools to their fullest extent. This bears further exploration.

mattatouille said... should most definitely use iPhoto. The newest version of iPhoto is pretty powerful for a consumer product. The export abilities directly to Flickr make it very convenient as well. I should really be using Lightroom and Photoshop (well I use the latter for more serious work), but iPhoto is my preferred software for photos. Not sure about Apple's Aperture though I'm sure it's also quite good.