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1. WHY

Most photos can be improved by cropping. Some need to have the horizon leveled perhaps by checking vertical structures in the background. Many can be improved by judicious use of a Sharpen tool. The consequence of back lighting or a dull day can often be remedied by tuning tools.

It may be necessary to resize your image to meet the site standard of between 768 x 768 pixels and 4000 x 4000 pixels, and the file size maximum is 4MB.

Practice and experimentation will provide opportunities for developing a variety of combinations of the manipulation tools.

Remember that Shipspotting photos are not meant to be creative works of art, they should capture a realistic looking scene dominated by a ship.
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Manipulation (sometimes described as Editing or Enhancement) is a routine process for most photographers. It is a follow on to judgments made while taking the shot; such as for focus, shutter speed and framing the shot. Many photographers believe that they can use their camera at one of the Auto settings because of the power of manipulation software.

If possible take 10 or more shots of everything - to allow for variations in focus, camera shake, and different views of the subject. Batteries can be recharged. It is advisable to carry a spare with the camera at all times.

Set up your computer so that you have separate folders for Images ex camera and for Images ex (manipulation program name)

As part of normal computer housekeeping, maintain separate folders for your selected images under category or other classification

Never submit photos to as they come from the camera. Always review for possible enhancement, to meet site standards and personal satisfaction.

Before uploading, or before planning shots of a particular vessel, check to see if you already have a photo of the vessel on the site. Search for the vessel name, go to the result and use the link More from : This Ship This Photographer. Then try to get a different angle and/or background for uploading. If your new image is better than an earlier image with the same angle, delete the earlier one after uploading the new one.

Transfer images from your camera to an Images ex camera folder; say one for each vessel or shipspotting expedition. Use Copy not Move to keep images in camera for insurance – delete from camera later.
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Each member will support their own judgment by giving reasons for choosing a programme that is the best for them.

Seek opinions from friends. Internet search for reviews of available programmes. Check whether free or with a range of features and prices. Test one or more.

These are both popular but there are many others often with updated features

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP. Comes in several versions (and prices) from elementary to advanced. For advanced versions, buy a current textbook.

PICASA. Was free from Google. Many popular computer magazines consistently give this programme a very high rating. It is no longer supported
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Picasa which is no longer supported is used here as an example. The principles are similar for all manipulation programmes.

1. From the series of images for a vessel, first identify a number of Possibles from which to chose those ready for uploading

2. Manipulate each Possible. Delete if not a semi finalist candidate. See PICASA MANIPULATION TOOLS below.

3. When result of above is a possible for best choice, use the Export button to send the image to the ex Manipulation Program folder. These could be called semi-finalists.

4. Progressively reduce the images for the vessel to semi-finalists and best choice. The best choice may be selected by setting each of the semi finalists as Desktop Background to look for blurry results, or unreal colours

5. When exporting, select Image Size Option – use Original size unless outside site standard (4000 x 4000). If so, reduce to say 3900. Minimum resolution allowed is 1024 x 768 pixels. Higher is better. Then Click OK

6. In destination window (Images ex (manipulation program name), always open the file to see how it will be seen on If not satisfactory, delete and try again e.g. more Sharpen. or Fill Light.

7. Chose the best semi finalist as Best Choice. Enter file name for image chosen for uploading - as required for your filing system.

8. Move image to folder with name of Shipspotting category.
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Follow requirements on Upload a new photo page reached from Add Photo tab after clicking My Photos on the Home page,

On the page reached from the Support tab on the Home page, also see FAQs titled Uploading Photos (under the heading Using the site and FAQ feedback),and Uploading photos guidance
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To translate to and from English, see FAQ titled Languages on the page reached from the Support tab on the Home page.
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Picasa is no longer supported, but the actions listed below are similar on all manipulation programs.

Because Picasa is not supported, do not use it as a filing system.

Open Picasa. In File menu, click Add Folder containing images to be manipulated. In Folder Manager window, navigate to folder to be transferred and click, dot Scan Always, click OK. Images from folder will appear on screen.

Double click on thumbnail to reveal tools. Do that for all thumbnail images that could be possibles

1. CROP Most images (Basic Fixes tab) to ensure the ship is the main subject. Ensure the ship is in the centre of the frame. Distant views and shots where the ship is a very small part of the image may be considered for deletion, even if they look good in the family album. Filling the frame using your camera screen can spoil good shots by cropping off bows and sterns. Cropping a distant shot may produce a result with resolution too low for compliance with the FAQ published standard - you can upload images up to 4000 x 4000 pixels with automatic resize - minimum resolution should be 1024 x 768 pixels. Higher is better. Picasa shows the resolution pixels and the MB information for each opened file.

2. Use the STRAIGHTEN tool (Basic Fixes tab) to make a sloping horizon horizontal. Background items such as windmills or window frames can check the vertical alignment. Be careful that the mouse does not move after getting the alignment right.

3. Use FILL LIGHT and HIGHLIGHT tools (Tuning tab) to make acceptable images from those with darkness, from back light sun or a dull day.

4. Use the SHARPEN tool (Effects tab) to improve/correct inexact focus. Sometimes more than one use Sharpen can be used, but make sure the image does not appear to break up. If it does after submitting, Delete it and prepare another image with less sharpen and submit that.

5. The SHADOWS tool (Tuning tab) can be useful for dealing with glare, and restoring detail after necessary use of highlighting.

6. Don’t be surprised if the I’M FEELING LUCKY tool (Basic Fixes tab) does not impress. It can turn a sunny day into a darkish evening. But experiment with it and Fill Light or Auto Contrast or Auto Colour or alone. For an extra option try using IM FEELING LUCKY after using other tools for an image
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