GIMP 2.6 for Photographers by Klaus Goelker – Rocky Nook, O’Reilly

This book is the complete package. It contains a DVD that provides all three versions (Windows, MAC, and Unix) for GIMP. In addition there is an introduction to GIMP 2.8 which is currently under development. And last, but hardly least, the images used in the book’s tutorials are included.

The book progresses in an A to Z fashion in teaching one about GIMP. In addition to the “how to” instruction, there is sufficient, but not overwhelming, information on theory, the “why” part of processing.

GIMP is the “high end” of free photo processing software and approaches Adobe CS 5 in its capabilities. Even if you are not on a budget, consider GIMP. And if you do, or if you are currently using GIMP, add this book to your library. You’ll be glad you did.

Photoshop Elements 10 – the missing manual, Barbara Brundage, O’Reilly Publishers

Highly recommended I have been teaching Photoshop Elements since version 7 and have used Ms. Brundage’s series of books for version 7, 8, and 9. This book is an A to Z manual on Photoshop Elements. One feature I particularly like is that the author lists a number of websites for additional material such as plug-ins. Also, she will reference a book not published by O’Reilly, an action for which both the author and publisher deserve credit.

As the author states in her introduction, this is a how and when book. The book instructs one how to use various techniques and tools, as well as when not to use them. In addition to the book content, one can go to the O’Reilly website to download additional material that is pertinent so that one can better complete various exercises in the book.

The bottom line; if you use Photoshop Elements 10, buy this book.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D.


A Prescription for How and Why to Use Flickr

Harold Davis has written an excellent article of why one should use Flickr as a method to show, share, and publicize his/her photographs.  You can  find his article at the following web address.

If you are unfamiliar with how to register for a Flickr account (it is FREE), read the earlier blog post on this site written by John Flinchbaugh who steps you through the process of signing up and what your many options are.

Charles Heusterkamp, III, M.D., Photographer



When one is working with Photoshop layers, there are times when you would like to apply an effect to a composite of a layered image. One could flatten the image (after first saving it as a .psd image or .tiff image) but there is a better way. Select the current top layer in your Layers Stack. Then press Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Opt + Shift + E and a composite is produced on its own layer at the top of the stack.. One can then apply an effect on this layer or you can copy the composite image to a new file. Since this composite is on its own layer it can easily be removed or made invisible.

While this tip applies to Adobe Photoshop Elements 9. It will work with some of the earlier versions of Elements.


Crtl/Cmd means Control Key on Windows, the Command Key on the Mac.


Alt/Op means the Alt key on Windows and the Option Key on the Mac.





When writing a software review, it is important to determine who is the audience. For Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, the audience is best represented by five groups.

1. Newbies to the digital processing of photographic images

2. Users of earlier Window’s versions of Photoshop Elements

3. Users of earlier MAC versions of Photoshop Elements.

4. Users of other Image Processing Software including users of Adobe Photoshop CS version up to and including version CS 3.

5. The photo hobbyist / scrapbook compiler

Group 1.

– Newbies

This group of users is confronted with a bewildering array of image processing software, available including some sophisticated programs that are free and are posted on the Internet, allowing for a free download.

For this group of potential users there are two advantages to selecting Adobe Photoshop Elements-9.

1. There is a large amount of instructional material available, both for free and for purchase. This is not true of the “free” programs nor, for that matter, most of the “for purchase” programs.

2. Photoshop Elements is a comprehensive, sometimes complex program, that will not be learned well in a week. However, there are three levels of image processing available within the program.

There are the Quick Fix and automatic correction features that do a good job.

There are the guided edit features that both guide and teach the user on performing various corrective and improvement actions. These allow a better job.

Then, sophisticated editing is available with the incorporation of Adobe Cameras Raw Processing and the use of the Layer functions. These two and additional capabilities allow a very good to excellent job.

This three-tiered programming allows one to use the program immediately and generally produce improved images. As time progresses, the dedicated user can readily progress in easy steps to a very sophisticated user.

Group 2. Current Users of earlier Window’s versions of Photoshop Elements

This group of users basically needs to ask and answer several questions.

1. Is there something my current software DOES NOT do, that I WANT to do, and is now available in Elements-9? Can I afford it? If the answer is “Yes” than buy it.

2. The more subjective question to answer is, “Do I want to explore the new processing capabilities?” I don’t NEED them, but maybe they will be fun to have.

Group 3. Users of earlier MAC versions of Photoshop Elements.

This group of users has special significant because Elements-9 now removes the differences that existed in prior Windows and MAC OS versions of Photoshop Elements. The increased features now available in the MAC versions are more likely to be features a MAC user might want.

Group 4. Users of other Image Processing Software

The basic questions are:

Is there something my current software DOES NOT do, that I WANT to do, and is now available in Elements-9?

Can I afford it?

If the answer is “Yes” than buy it.

Group 5. The photo hobbyist / scrapbook compiler

This group of persons are those who enjoy taking and sharing family photos, pictures of their vacations, etc. Elements 9 offers the ability to post from the program to Facebook, the ability to send photos for printing (or one can print on their own printer), post to Flickr or SmugMug, create albums and cards. All “good stuff” that many people want to do. For persons who use or want these features it is an excellent program.

Adobe Photoshop Elements


what’s new and what’s blue?

For the MAC User lots is new.

The ability to use the Organizer with generally superior photo-management and photo-tagging abilities. ** Note prior MAC version users can still use the Bridge methodology.


Integration with Facebook

Layer Masks**

Content Aware Fill**

Photo Merge Style Match*

You have both a Windows and a MAC system **

* Important – ** More Important You have both a Windows and a MAC system **

For the Windows User fewer new capabilities are present.

Content Aware Fill **

Layer Masks ** – What many users are unaware of is that one can import a Layer Mask into Elements-8 and use it. One just can’t create it version 8. Also, many actions created in CS4 & CS5 can be imported to Elements 8 & 9.

Improved Photo-Stitching

Recompose Tool that first appeared in Version 8

Better compliancy with Windows 7 operating system*

You have both a Windows and a MAC system **

Photo Merge Style Match*

What’s blue?

Not much. Overall a very good program.

Facebook uploading could be better.

A Word on Cost

The program lists as about $100.00. However, it is about $70 street with a $10 discount and a $20 mail-in rebate.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D., Photographer