Last fall, I purchased an Olympus Tough waterproof camera for our trip to Niagara Falls. For myself, the one-time cost was preferable to spending $8-10 for a disposable waterproof camera and we woulve needed several of these. And, a huge downside to the disposable ones is they offered no preview so photos would not be seen until processed -- too late to get a better shot. Besides, the Olympus could be used for future trips, in all types of bad weather, and Amazon had refurbished ones; mine is also red.
AND, this camera also has built-in "magic" filters including fish-eye, pencil sketch, soft focus, reflection and my favorite, a cross-screen effect called sparkle. On our recent road trip to Roanoke, VA, I used this effect at the Norfolk & Southern RR yard at sunset. Then, I had fun with special effects in Picasa. These are only a few of what's available and I've included a brief description of each
First is "HDR-ish" or high-dynamic-range imaging, a set of techniques used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range (luminosity) than possible using standard digital imaging or photographic techniques. HDR images can represent more accurately the range of intensity levels found in scenes.
The "orton-ish" effect comes from a slide-sandwich technique devised by photographer Michael Orton in the mid-1980s. This photo technique blends two completely different photos of the same scene, resulting in a distinctive mix of high and low detail areas within the same photo and adds depth and richness to the photo.
This is the "soften" effect which softens the focus around a center point by using sliders to control the size of the focused area and also the amount of softness applied.
This is "B&W" (black and white) which gives the original color image a historic or nostalgic effect. Stark contrasts can enhance the subject matter.
Next is "focal B&W" which converts a photo to black and white, while keeping one circular area of color intact. Using sliders lets you define size and sharpness of the colored spot.
This last effect, "graduated tint" is similar to using a graduated color filter on a camera. It allows you to apply a colored tint to the top half of a photo. You can adjust the shade of the tint and the degree at which it feathers into the rest of the photo. This is useful for enhancing a sunset (as shown below) or making gray skies blue.
It was fun playing around with these special effects. These are just a very small sampling of the countless effects possible in this easy and FREE photo editing program. If you don't like a particular effect, it can be undone. I kept the original photo, then did alterations saving each with a different file name.
Have you ever tried Picasa special effects? AND
Which of these effects did you find the most effective or dramatic?