Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Night Markets, Hong Kong

I really did not enjoy the experience of the Temple Street night markets in Hong Kong. Before I went there, I’d spent two days looking around Hong Kong at what I thought would be fun to see. And it was.

The guide book gave a wrap to the night markets, but as a place to hang out, it sucked – big time. The worst part were the hawkers spruiking knock off handbags and custom tailoring – I wasn’t sure that this was a lack of insight on their part – I don’t wear custom tailored stuff – or a “not so subtle” comment on my sloppy dress standards. Suffice to day, it didn’t wash.

However, there were some good photo ops and this was one of them, taken looking up a crowded street. The lights, neon signs and all the activity was wonderful if you were prepared to look only superficially at it. Under the surface were too many junky souvenirs and way too many tourists!

Helen Bradley

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Can we say Hong Kong?

In late December, I got a chance to savour the delights of Hong Kong for a few days. I have to say, I totally fell in love with the place. I loved the less touristy areas and this is one of them. These too cute trams run along a few miles of track on Hong Kong Island. They’re double decker trams and they are so fun to ride. This photo was taken along the route and it’s very typical of what you see – lots of breathtaking colour and busy streetscapes but also it’s all about a slower and more simple pace of life. It’s the complexity and contrast that is so captivating about travelling in Asia.

The photo is straightened out of the camera and it is also colour corrected to bring back the colour. My new Pentax K10D – which I absolutely love – takes photos which lack saturation particularly when I use a polarizing filter on it. I have yet to get a real handle on its behaviour but, for now, just shoot away and rely on Photoshop to fix the results.

One aspect of this photo and some others I took is the contrast between the saturated colours in the ligths and trams and the delicious pastel colours of the roadway.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Word 2007 – Building Blocks

Whenever you type the same thing in Word more than once, ask yourself if there isn’t a smarter way to work. The new Building Blocks feature in Word 2007 lets you create and save frequently used content so that it can be easily inserted into your document.

So, for example if you repeatedly add a disclaimer or a bio to your documents, create it as a building block and insert it into the document when required. To do this, type the text to create as a building block and select it. Choose Insert, Quick Parts and choose Save Selection To Quick Part Gallery. Type a name for the block, select the gallery to attach it to and the category and description of the Building Block. It’s best to save the building block to buildingblocks.dotx as building blocks saved to this file are available regardless of which template is currently in use. Choose the options for the content and click Ok.

In future, to add a Building Block to a document, click the Insert tab and then Quick Parts and select the block to add.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Color that rocks! Autumn in Paris

Ok, this post is Color that Rocks not Color that Pops.. I am really really sick of hearing the word POPS, it is officially Over, Out, Done, Finished – Gone!

I have to hold myself back from screaming “No! No! No! can’t you find another word” whenever someone uses it. Seriously, we need something different, it is so overused.

Ok, Rant [officially] over.

This photo is yummy.

I shot it in Paris in, duh! Autumn. The colors took a lot of work to bring out but they are dazzling. Next work I do on it will be to remove the people. I love them… it gives the image a sense of life … but a friend doesn’t – so they are going.

I have used this image as an example for the color change tool in Photoshop. Open an image to change colors in and choose Image > Adjustments > Selective Color. Now you can select colors in the image – yellows for example and add red or green or blue to them. Select any color and add more of something else to it.

This photo turns from Autumn into Spring in a few minutes – bypassing Winter entirely!

If you make your changes on a duplicate of the image then you can blend and control the effect with a layer mask. So simple and so effective.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

At The Opera

This beautiful photo was taken at The Opera in Paris. It was early morning and I was walking past as I saw this beautiful statue. There were bars between me and it and the photo isn’t actually in very good focus. But there, a bit of work in LAB and it looks just fantastic.

BTW, as I was working on this image, I encountered a problem – I couldn’t save a copy as a JPEG. Yikes! what is happening here? I thought about it for quite a while, then discovered I hadn’t moved back to RGB from LAB color – can’t save a JPEG image using the LAB color space – so now you know. Switch back to RGB when you’re done and you can save it.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

Color gone wild

This is one of my UK images – it is of the lock area at Camden Town. Right in the middle of London there are waterways and locks, this is one of them. I took a trip in a long boat from here up the waterways and it was just wonderful. This photo, however is taken before the boat trip and it was just after a rain shower.

Often rainy days don’t look great for photography but they can rock like this photo shows. The fact that everything is wet helps boost the color and, with a flash of blue sky behind the buildings, it makes for a great shot of color.

Camden markets are a great place to visit, lots of cute shops selling lots of wonderful stuff. Worth putting on your “must visit” list – but while you’re there, don’t forget to add a trip on Jason’s long boats to the list. Those folk run even at off times of the year, the boats are old and cool and the trip, well, has to be experienced to be believed.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Selecting chart elements in Excel 2007

It used to be easy to know what part of a chart you had selected in Excel 2003 – you just read the name off the left hand side of the Formula Bar.

Look in vain for this same feature in Excel 2007. Click anything on the chart and the formula bar just says Chart 1 – like duh! I know I have the chart selected it’s the element on it that I’m interested in.

The solution is the new Chart Element tool. Click the chart to select it, choose Chart Tools > Format on the ribbon and in the top left corner is the Chart Element list. Not only will it tell you what you have selected on the chart but it’s a dropdown list of names of various chart elements. Click one and that portion of the chart is selected automatically.

It’s a handy new tool, I’d just like the benefits of the features from Excel 2003 and 2007 blended into one.. call me fussy.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Images in Word tables

It is possible to place an image inside a table cell in Word. To do this, first create a table, click inside the cell and then choose Insert Picture > From File and select the image to insert. You can size the image inside the table cell as requiredby dragging on its sizing handles.

If you set the image’s Text Wrapping to Behind Text or In Front of Text the image will no longer be constrained to the table and will jump out of it and operate independently of it. To wrap text around the image inside the table cell use the Square or Tight options for best results. In Line With Text only wraps one line and it’s pretty awful.

Helen Bradley