Sharing an image (or album) from Google Photos

To finish off this series of posts on using Google Photos, this post complements the email that I sent out to the Cardiff U3A Computer Group which encouraged them to do some “homework” and share a photo stored in Google Photos with me.

This post uses a couple of photos which I took this week of some toadstools that had appeared in our garden after the heavy rains we’ve had this month and which Jenny was worried might be Honey Fungus. I took them to achieve an identification – which I hope I’ve got right!
From my  Google Photos desktop I can see this …

 

… I need to select Create, then Album and click on the photos I want to put in the Album …

 

… and click on Create and give the Album a name …

 

… in this case I’m calling the album “Common Inkcap” and then click on the Tick in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
Now I can Share the album using the ShareShare icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and clicking on Get link

… and after clicking on COPY I can email the link to the album to anyone, or if you’re a Google+, Facebook or Twitter user I can share a link to any of those social media sites.

 

At another time, you can change the Sharing options from the More options  Moremenu in the top right hand corner of the screen …

 

… and click on the slider to let others if they have the link to see the album, and you’ll see a screen like this …

 

… and you can choose how others will interact with your album, but that’s for another day.

 

In case you’re interested here’s a link to the album

More Google Photos – some simple image manipulation

Following up from my earlier post which covered uploading images from your mobile device, or camera, to Google Photos; this post picks up from the point where the images have been uploaded and gives you an idea of what simple editing you can do to your photos. This Google article  with separate tabs to follow for Computer (browser-based), Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad) sets out the scope of the things that you can do. For this post I’m only looking at what you can do on a Computer, from your browser.

What I’m going to do is to take the “featured” image from the earlier post and show a few screenshots of things that I have done to it, perhaps to improve it – although that might be rather difficult as it’s a rather boring subject. So here’s the original photo (unedited), taken with my Sony NEX-6 camera and stored onto its SD-card and then uploaded into Google Photos, using the SD-card reader on my computer.

Let’s crop it a bit to get rid of the spade handle. First I double-clicked on the image in my Google Photos pictures at https://photos.google.com and this menu appeared …

The first icon  Share allows you to Share the Image, the second icon  Edit to Edit the Image, the third to Enlarge (or Zoom) the Image, the fourth to get Info on the Image, the fifth to Delete the Image and the sixth  More gives you More Options. I clicked on Edit to Edit the Image.

Another window opens to show you this …

… you’re being offered a range of filters  Photo filters which you can apply to change the appearance of your image. I’m not going to use this option preferring to do it manually, but I’d encourage you to have a quick peak at what automatic enhancements can be made to an image from this selection of effects. For the moment I want to do a crop (change the viewing window of the image), so I’m going to click on the  Crop & rotate icon to Crop and Rotate.

On this screen, the first icon allows you to  select the Aspect ratio of the image you want (as shown above). Selecting one of these will apply an automatic crop. The second icon allows you to Rotate the Image. You can then drag the corners or edges of the image now to crop to exactly the form of the image that you want to keep. The third icon allows you to Reset your edits to start again, and Done is clicked when you’ve finished editing. So in this case, I want to keep the Original aspect ratio and just get rid of the spade handle manually …

… so I drag up from the bottom right-hand corner, and down from the top left-hand corner to get the cropped window on the image above. I can move the crop window around the image by clicking and dragging on it until I have it just the way I want it. I could also finely rotate the image if I thought I’d not got it completely straight by clicking and dragging on the slider on the right-hand side of the image. So, having done this, I have an image I want to work with so I click on Done and I get returned to the Edit window …

… you can see I have the choice of changing the Light, Colour and Pop (sharpness) of the image. By adjusting these sliders I could arrive at something like this …

… but even finer changes can be made by clicking on the arrow against each of these elements and adjusting individual components, so I could end up with changing the Light a little and adding a Vignette to the corners with some Warmth from the Colour slider to give me this …

Now I know I’m biased, but I think that this almost becomes a reasonable picture. All you need to do is to select Save Copy from the More Options  Moremenu, return to the Photos by pressing on the Return arrow in the top left-hand corner of the screen and you can see the new processed image next to the original.

What do you think?

 

 

 

A replacement for iTunes?

This post starts from this paragraph in an earlier post on my personal blog

“How might I integrate my digital music in a better way than I was currently doing it via the Apple TV, and iTunes on the MacMini? The answer … a Sonos Connect system with RCA output to the Marantz amp connected to the iTunes Media folder and a copy of the iTunes Library hosted on a USB-3 disk connected to an AirPort Extreme router. [The master iTunes Library is shared (using Dropbox) around the other 3 Macs in the house – a brilliant solution to avoid maintaining different iTunes Libraries.] I can now listen to the digital music in all three rooms.  Of course, now I have a Sonos Connect, I can stream to other Sonos Play speakers … but that’s for another day, which may actually come sooner rather than later.”

… which formed the subject of my discussion with the Cardiff U3A Digital Group on the 4th January. But I digress … what is the problem with iTunes?

iTunes was introduced shortly after the first iPods as the way/means by which you could store/search for your music on your brand-new revolutionary personal digital music device. And there you have the problem almost defined in a nutshell. It was “enhanced” to add other media to it – video, TV, film, podcasts; and you could synchronise your device to a computer so that the database work could be done on a more friendly device; and with the introduction of the iTunes Store – the focus has switched to selling music and storing it in Apple’s iCloud. But it’s huge problem is that it’s old, and it’s personal – tied and linked to single portable devices. You have more than one device – you have to synchronise them separately unless you rely on playing from iCloud – and the options here are very confusing; you have more than one playlist – you have to copy them to different devices; you want to have all your media in one place – you have to make sure you have your iTunes settings correct otherwise you’ll never know where the media your playing is actually stored.

So the link in the quote above provides an ingenious solution if you want to create a shared iTunes Library when you have more than one device you want to reference a single iTunes Library from. It really does work, and I’ve used this solution for a few words, and until recently I had little trouble from using this method, using my MacMini as the main computer for doing the sync’ing with my iPhone etc. However, after that episode I began to think there must be a better way.

I really didn’t want to use Spotify because that would only serve me music, and in any case most of the music I wanted to listen to, I already had and had transferred from CD to digital.

I researched whether I needed to buy more hardware, decided I didn’t, and opted to install Plex on my MacMini, with the media stored on an external USB-Disk. Doing this meant that I could continue using iTunes as well as the Plex Media Server as it looks at the same disk and media folders. And the advantages?

Well the most remarkable is that after purchasing a Plex Pass (the server itself is free) I can access any of my purchased and stored media – films, videos, music, photographs – from anywhere – wherever I am, on any device I have installed the Plex player app – including my Apple TV. It can operate over wired, WiFi and cell connections (if enabled). Isn’t that amazing? Plex is also moving towards streaming its own, or licenced content and offering a LiveTV service. Please read the Wikipedia article for more information.

It really is very easy to setup!