February 10th, 2007
I have a hard time keeping up with all the free network-centric software that Google is acquiring and creating. It’s been a while since I’d looked at Picasa. Picasa is a photo-editing and management that Google acquired several years ago. Back when I used blogger.com for this blog I used an older version of Picasa because it had a pretty easy way to post photos to blogger.com.
Recently I took a trip to Phoenix and Mexico. While staying at my sister-n-law, Jeanne’s house I shot some photos of her home in Anthem, AZ so she would have some marketing photos to use when she starts renting part of her home. I wanted to put them on a online gallery for her to use. Since I had all the photos in Lightroom I decided to try the Web module of Lightroom to create a flash gallery. I didn’t like the layout of the galleries that the Lightroom beta version created because if you make the photos 800×600 the thumbnails are off the screen. I hope this is improved in version 1.0.
While looking around for a better format that was quick and easy I stumbled across the new feature that was added to Picasa2 that links the Picasa2 application with a free online photo sharing feature of Google at www.picasaweb.google.com . You need a Google account, but that’s free too. Everything at Google is free! Someday after everyone gets hooked on this stuff they are going to start charging then what? Anyway, the desktop Picasa application seems remarkably like a light-weight, free Lightroom. I don’t know what came first. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to give up Lightroom 1.0 for Picasa. Once you get a Picasa album like you want it on your desktop you just upload it to an online gallery on picasaweb.google.com with one click (here is my gallery). This could be a easy and free way to deliver photos to clients or to just have clients review your work. The files on picasaweb are downsized significantly but that’s to be expected. However, I like the way the slideshow feature works and you can jump into the slideshow at any slide with a link like this. You get the first 250 megabytes of picasaweb storage free.
Now before you start criticizing my photos, these were done with my CoolPix-4300, no external flash and no tripod, just using the “Best shot Selector” CoolPix feature. That’s why some are not as sharp as you might like. I did use a WC-E63 wide-angle converter. The downside of the converter is it creates significant barrel distortion (requires -8 lens correction in PS) that I took out in Photoshop CS2 (you could also remove barrel distortion with PTlens).
Now for the killer feature for RE photographers and Realtors. With any desktop Picasa2 album you can create a CD with the slide show on it to give or sell to clients with two clicks. You just click on the “GiftCD” button at the top right and then click “burn CD”. The resulting CD will auto-start the slide show when you load it. Very cool! This is significantly easier than other methods I’ve described for creating Slideshow CDs.