Monday, August 24, 2015

GOOGLE PHOTOS ... I'm kind of digging this app.

For the record, I still love Google Picasa with its easy interface for basic photo tweaking and I'll continue to use it, even if Google doesn't update it anymore.

This new Google Photos app has really won me over also.
It automatically uploads my newest photos and videos, from my phone or my computer, (unless I say no), and then... it "messes" with them.

Photos cruises my pictures and then woos me with "creations".
Some of these "creations" are not worth saving, but often, the software has done a pretty nice job of creating a collage, artistically tweaking a photo, or making a short animation or photo story based on some related photos.
(Okay ... when Photos makes a story of your trip using your pictures and includes a map of your travels ... that's a wee bit creepy...)

Here's a small sample of "creations" made by the Photos app and then submitted to me for approval.

Today, it sent the collage below based on the date.
The photos are all from PureFlorida posts I made in 2009 using Google's product Blogger.

It's a pretty little collage for a bit of software to have created.
It made me realize how much my timber bamboo have expanded. The bamboo "sticks" in the photo have expanded to a healthy, young grove.

It also does this ...

This anole is an example of the "animations" that Photos comes up with based on related sequential photos.
I get a lot of these submitted for my approval, since the Canon shoots 7 frames per second and I'm usually shooting on full auto trying to get that one good shot.

And then there's the "stylized photos" where Photos takes a shot and softens it, enhances it, ages it, or in this case, turns it into a  ... a water colory sketch?
I like it.

And not just because these are the steps where my Emma will marry her Kyle in December.

Google Photos ... it's free and it keeps on giving.

I'm a fan.

Friday, August 14, 2015


When Emma called and said, "Hey do you think we could get the dogs together for a play day?",  I immediately said agreed.

"The dogs" = Bear, Coquina, Peanut, and Bandit, one of the funniest canine packs I've ever hung with.
It was August, hot and steamy as August should be, and the pond was freshly filled after 2 weeks of near tropical rains.
(This is the same pond that I feared would dry up completely back in early July.)

Coquina was the first in as usual. She is part otter after all.
You'll notice in this picture and the ones to follow that the pond surface is covered in green.

This was a little disconcerting to some of my Facebook pals when I posted a pic of Coquina and I there. The green is just duckweed, a tiny 2-leaved floating plant. It's not a noxious algae or anything icky ... in fact, right now the duckweed is doing me a bodacious favor by shading out the pond and light-starving the bad guy algae from growing.
So no more dissing my duckweed!

This smiling wonderdog is Peanut and he is Coquina's biological sister. Like Coquina, he's a little bit cray-cray.

Peanut was definitely the best "getter of things tossed". His sister gave him a run for his money, but he consistently got to the old boat fender first.

In the background, THE BEAR has finally entered the water. He held back at first while the pups crashed and splashed, but after about 10 minutes of his black fur soaking up that Florida sun, he came in to play.

This is Bear "half-cocked" and about to launch an ambush on Coquina and crew. I love that intent look, ... but I love all his looks, so that statement probably doesn't carry much weight.

I love to see Bear run like a puppy.
He wasn't always the "ambusher" on this day, sometimes he was the "ambushee".

Yin Yang.
Forces that seem in opposition that are actually complimentary to each other.
That's Peanut and Coquina.

A few things come to mind when I look at this picture of Peanut erupting from the pond to snatch the boat fender.

One: Peanut is awesome!
Two: Jurassic World.
Three: I am instantly transported back to the Homosassa Springs attraction of my childhood. The handlers there had trained these big alligators to leap vertically out of the water for a piece of chicken. It was pretty impressive.

Peanut on the edge ...
Not seen in this picture is Emma pushing on Peanut's hindquarters.
He's staring at the boat fender toy which is just out of reach and he wants it bad.
But he's never jumped off the dock before, so he's having second thoughts.
Emma helped him make a decision by giving him a little nudge... um, it may have been a shove.

(Note: Even though this was just last week, the pond water has risen now to a point where Peanut's nose would be just touching the surface today.)

Here's Coquina getting the same decision making help from Emma.
Little did Coquina know that I was lurking nearby in "Duckweed Stealth Mode".

As soon as she hit the water, I emerged and snatched her up.

Or did I?
The hat in this pic seems dry and unweeded.

After watching Peanut and Coquina get tossed off the dock, Bear strolled out onto the planks and did his best impression of a REAL BEAR, as if to say, " Yeah, just try that dog tossing thing on me."

We did not.

So what about the 4th dog, the one who shows up in the previous photo collection only as a headless body?

This is the guy.
He played just as hard that day ... maybe harder since he is closer to the ground with shorter legs than the rest of his pack.
He's just as happy,sweet, and lovable as this photo makes him out to be.

Bandit's cute mug seems like a great way to end this photo essay and so I will.