Changing the Color of a Background Image – Gimp

As I test Jing Project, I’m using it for a few short tutorials. This first one is how to change the background image using Gimp.

Video is a great way to share, and Jing is quick and easy to do. I am limited to 5 minutes or less, which is great. Short and sweet works. In order to add the Gimp toolbar, I had to record a wider screen capture than what fits here, so you see it bleeds over into my side bar. I can always make a wider blog so these videos fit.

Can I Take your Photo? Photographer Rights

I remember a discussion going on in one of the photography groups I belonged to, about what are we allowed to take photos of. It started with news of a guy who was arrested for taking photos on the street. Here are some of my experiences.

My son learned that he could not have his photo taken in from of a federal prison. (He didn’t a picture of himself in front of a federal building). In front the Social Security building was no problem.

At a swim meet I noticed one guy who didn’t seem to be filming the swim meet. When everyone was standing up cheering, he was sitting down. Between events he was standing up filming. My first reaction was he must be filming the girls in their bathing suits. (No, not bikinis!) At the end of the event I was shocked to watch the dude follow my 16 year old son, with his video camera focused on my son’s rear end. I was steaming! Almost started a ruckus but decided to check further into the situation.

First I asked my son and he said yes, the guy goes to every swim meet, in town or away, and filmed the boys in their speedos. The boys weren’t happy about it, what could be done, it was in a public place. They “accidently” knocked him down at one time, thought of doing something to his car.

I called a friend in the police force and asked what could be done. The guy wasn’t following them into the locker room which would be a big NO NO! My friend reminded me that our swim events were on private propery “sort of”. Property owned by a college. That the guy probably had a previous record and as such not allowed near children. His actions were enough to alert campus security, and the coach.

I called the coach, and he talked to security. When meet continued the next day, there he was, filming the boys as they warmed up on the pool deck in their speedos. Security picked him up for questioning and searched his car while the sheriff department searched his home. Such enough, his house was full of child porn! Busted! No longer allowed near any swim meets.

I’d been taught that it was polite to ask permission before taking a photo, esp. if it was of a child. Puts the parents at ease. Offer a copy of your photo. Sometimes you see a shot don’t have time to ask first.

Today I bumped into an article on photographer rights. Good read.

Take the Shot When It Presents Itself

Egret Walking by Pond

I had an enjoyable weekend, spending time with family, outside, enjoying nature and city life both. Saturday I was at a park with family, taking pictures of the Easter egg hunt. Later, while walking around, camera in hand, there was an egret. Just sitting there, basking in the late afternoon sun. So I just sat down and starting taking pictures.

Egret Preening

As I sit down, the egret decides to pose for me, and preen itself. What? Not fly away? What they usually do. But not this time.

Egret Posing

I take several shots. Great lighting, model, and backdrop all provided by nature. That egret looks pretty good once it’s fluffed out its feathers.

Fluffy Egret

You might be saying “Okay Heidi, you had fun taking those photos, showing them off. But what is the lesson here?”

  • Be prepared. If I did not have my camera with me, charged batteries, space on memory card, I could not have taking those photos. What you you and your business, projects, etc. Are you prepared for success?
  • Keep your eyes open There are opportunities all around us. Keep your eyes peeled and you will find them, some have your name on them and others are for someone else. Those your pass on to others and you’ll be amazed at how much comes back to you.
  • When the shot appears, take it!

Why Have Your Own Favicon?

favicons in favoritesFirst for those of you who want to know what the heck is a favicon?

I didn’t know either. I did know that some companies brand their business very well. Look at your bookmark sites. Some urls really stand out and are easy to find. Did you bookmark blogger, facebook, your favorite YouTube video? Easy to find are they not? Your eyes quickly scan looking for the icon.

Those little icons bugged me. Was this some secret the big companies with the big bucks knew how to do, an option not available to small business owners? But if they can do it, surely there is a way we can make one too. Not knowing the answer I decided to ask my son who working on his software engineering degree. “Those are called Favicons” he told me. Makes sense. Little Icons that show up when you add to your list of favorites.

Curious person that I am, I had to find more information on favicons. I wanted one on my sites. So I asked Google.
I found a few tips and how to sites. First, you save a 16 pixels bpy 16 pixels image as an ico file. I use Gimp, so I checked what files it supported, and did a little happy dance when I found .ico as one of my choices. Just had to test, so I pulled up a 16 by 16 blank image screen, and quickly drew a little purple flower, saved as favicon.ico. Uploaded following directions. Then checked out my website.

To my surprise, there was now a little purple flower in the address bar (at least it does in Firefox), tabs, bookmarks. So nice when something works the first time you use it.

Why Have Your Own Favicon?

  • Brands your business with a visual image.
  • Increases your professional image. Puts your website up there with the big boys.
  • Makes it easy to be found in favorites and bookmarked lists.
  • It’s is cool to have your own favicon.

If you’d like an easy way to make your own, check out my “How to Create Your Own Favicon Easily” post.

How to Create Your Own Favicon Easily

Favicons, those cool little icons you see in your browser window, in the address bar, in your bookmarks, can be created easily.

I thought it was cool when I learned I could make favicons using Gimp. In fact I started to make a tutorial how to do such. Then I found a cool favicon website where you just upload the image you want to use and it spits out your favicon.

I took a logo:

Inventing Women Logo

and cut out the orange flower, saved it, uploaded it to the favicon maker.

And it gave me back a favicon.
Inventing women favicon

Cool! Then I uploaded the ico file to the domain’s directory, more detailed instructions on their website.

The logo was created by my daughter Jessica Sellers of Chrysalis Logos.

I learn something new everyday. Some of you see the favicon and others of you are getting the dreaded red x. Evidently Firefox will show favicon’s in blog posts, but Internet Explorer will not.
So here is a jpg version for all you IE folks.

Favicon example

Why Shouldn’t I Grab Photos from Google Images For My Blog?

Emerald Skies by Janusz L
Photo by Janusz L

Google Images, what a great way to find photos, just search on your keyword and the images appear. But should you just grab and freely use any image you find? Not unless you want copyright issues.

As a photographer (hobby) imagine my surprise to see my photo of a red rose with snow being used as the avatar of a young lady who said she was a photographer on a social networking group. No mention anywhere that the photo was not her own nor where she got it. Irked me! My photo, I want credit!

I checked with some professional photographers in one of the photography forums. Yes, my photos, even if I post online, are my property, copyrighted unless I say otherwise. I could press charges if I wished. Others have been known to give the offender bad press. Often it is done out of ignorance, best to educate your fans, if they weren’t a fan of your work, they wouldn’t be posting it on their site.

I strongly advise against grabbing any image from a google image search without permission. Unless it says otherwise, you don’t have permission to use it. My 11 year old daughter was working on a famous rock page. She wanted pictures of famous rocks, when I told her about needed permission to use she was frustrated, too many were not free to use.

Images add visual appeal to your blog posts. Not everyone is a photographer or graphic artist. I like using others photos along with my own. Today I was very happy to find a
A Complete Guide to Finding and Using Incredible Flickr Images
by Skellie. Check it out!

Thanks to her advice, y’all can enjoy and share the beauty created by others while spreading a little fame and link love.

How to Change the Graphic in Your WordPress Header

Another often asked question. How do I change the logo on my WordPress Blog?

You’ve got the theme you want to use, but want to customize it a little with your own logo/graphic.

  • Have your graphic ready, the desired size, as a png, gif, or jpg (others formats may work, but those are the ones I use). My graphic program of choice is Gimp. You can save it as logo.png or whatever you want to name it. Remember the name.
  • Upload your graphic to your host. Sounds simple and it is if you know how. First time I tried to upload anything to my first webhost, it was like visiting a foreign country, not knowing where to go, not even knowing enough to know how to ask for directions. Put this where? And it shows up where?
    Look for something called a file manager (or if you know how to ftp to your host, simply use that). Your file manager consists of files and folders.
    Find the folder which contains your wordpress blog. Then the wp-content folder. Inside this folder you will find other folders and files, look for the theme folder and open it. Here you’ll find the various themes for your blog. If you want to try a new theme, upload it to this theme folder. Open the folder which is your current theme and find the images folder. Upload your new logo image into this folder.
  • Edit your css so your new image will display on your blog. Not all wordpress themes are identical, you need to change the code so the logo/image in your old header image will be replaced with the new one. In your blog’s admin panel go to Presentation, then theme editor. Look for stylesheet, may say something like editing style.css above the code. Search for your header’s background image. In the header section of your stylesheet look for:

    background:url(images/logo.gif) no-repeat
    with images/logo.gif being your old image. switch to
    background:url(images/newlogo.png) no-repeat
    with newlogo.png being whatever name and file format you saved it as.

    Click Update file.

    Of course if you saved it with the same name and format and the original graphic you can just overwrite the image on your host and not need to change the style.css code.

  • View blog, if needed ht f5 to refresh your page.
  • Celebrate your new found freedom in changing your blog.

Some themes have a built in editor for your header.

Related Links:
New Gimp 2.4 released
How to Make a Custom WordPress Header
My Favorite Graphic Programs

Snow Rose


Snow rose, still one of my favorite photos. No, not a white Christmas, but from a Valentine’s snow storm. Some years we don’t even get snow, more apt to have nasty ice storms. Still it looks like Christmas, so the next year I used this photo as my Christmas Card. Inside I added a picture of the whole family. A keeper for sure. Send Out Cards did not have Picture Plus then. I paid a fee, made the image an exact size, uploaded to SOC, waited a day or two before it was available. Loving SendOutCards Picture Plus software. I can make unlimited custom cards on the fly.

Today is Sunday, a day of rest. Off computer, time with church and family. My younger kids love me to sit down and play a board game with them. What do you do for your downtime?

Recycle Your Christmas Photos into Greeting Cards

Recycled Christmas Photo

While Dina is busy recycling words, great time saving tip, I’m recycling images.

After Christmas each year, I have lots of holiday photos. Plenty of photo ops: my kids at home, visiting college kids, married with kids kids, Christmas parties, parades, lights, decorations. I’m sure I’m not the only one. When Christmas rolls around again, my thoughts turn to photo Christmas Cards. It is November, are my Christmas decorations up? Heck no! We were carving pumpkins 2 days before Halloween.

Decisions, decisions. To me, taking my own photo, making my own custom design greeting card, has more meaning, is more personal than a box of cards from the dollar store, or even a fancy Hallmark Card. My holiday card will stand out from the crowd. But my decorations aren’t up yet, nor do my kids want to pose in Santa hats in November. Today, I’m going through past Christmas photos, deciding which I want to use so I can get my customized Christmas cards out in the mail.

Think about your Christmas cards, what images would you like to use? If you haven’t already ordered your custom Christmas cards, it isn’t too late and easier than you think, as we can help you make your own custom cards on the fly. Think about your customers, friends, family what would they like to see. Photos from last year’s celebrations? I still have this image of a plumber last year, in Santa hat, welding pipe wrench and plunger.

Click here for words from Santa.

For a reat way to turn your photographs into greeting cards check out SendOutCards. To see some examples of photograghs turned into greeting cards, which you can easily do yourself, visit Heidi’s Cards.