Telling the story with pictures

I guess I’m always amazed at the progress in technology and in particular how far we have come in digital imaging. A few weeks ago I mentioned that I purchased a new Epson R800 photo printer. Well, let me tell you a story.

Recently my wife and I spent nearly a week in Phoenix and Tuscon. We both took our cameras, hers a Nikon Coolpix 5200 and mine a Canon G3. Between us we took 136 images. We were there with five other couples and all of us wanted to share pictures when we got home.

Here’s where I get amazed at our progress. Upon arrival home I took both our cameras and downloaded the images to a new folder I created on our Dell Pentium IV, Windows XP machine. Both Canon and Windows have small programs that let us take the images from our cameras and store them on our computer. I downloaded all 136 images into a folder which I called “Phoenix06.” Easy so far.

My wife wanted prints of our photos so I next opened Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 and brought up each image, one at a time. First I cropped each image to 6 by 4 inches because this is a standard print size used by Costco and others. Then I used “Enhance” and “Auto Level” to automatically correct the lighting and contrast. You could see the change this made in most of the images. Finally, I “Save As” each image into a new folder that I called “Phxprt” which I would use to upload our images to Costco. Incidentally, since the Costco machines print 6 by 4 inches, I took any of our pictures that happened to be taken vertically and rotated them by 90 degrees so that they would print properly and not be cut off top and bottom. I uploaded all 136 images on-line at and got an email a few minutes later saying our images would be ready in an hour or so.

Since most of our friends have computers, we decided that we would share our pictures on compact disks. The new Epson R800 has a tray used to print graphics directly on compact disks that have special “printable” top surfaces. I have a supply of these disks that I purchased at MicroCenter. I took a bunch of these printable cds and used Epson software that came with the printer to add graphics and titles to the disks. Then I put each of these disks into the computer’s cd writer and transferred all the images from the “phxprt” folder to the cd. Finally we placed each completed cd into an inexpensive hard plastic cover and they were ready to send off.

None of this took much time and each of our friends will receive a cd with all 136 images in an attractive package they can keep.

Lastly, I used the new Epson R800 to make a couple prints that we can frame. Here the technology really was apparent. The R800 uses eight separate ink cartridges filled with the new pigment inks. Supposedly they will last for 100 years. I am amazed at the colors which are brilliant and look like the best that I used to have printed from film at commercial color laboratories.

Other manufacturers make the new photo printers using multiple ink cartridges. I just happened to purchase the Epson R800 because of reviews that I read. If you are into digital photography, these new printers as well as computer image manipulating software really make digital imaging easy to use and the results are amazing.

If you would like to hear more about digital imaging, or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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