Archive for the ‘Preview’ Category

“Tech Tips” Tuesday

November 30, 2021

In this blog post I’m going to show you how I add special characters to some of my annotated images, such as the pictograph for “male,” shown below.

Photo used with written permission from Michael Powell.

I’ll show you how to do it on my older Apple 24″ iMac desktop computer (Early 2009), then I’ll show you how to do the same thing on my newer Apple 13″ MacBook Air laptop computer (M1, 2020).

macOS Yosemite (Version 10.10.5)

Open “System Preferences” and select “Keyboard.” Click on the tab labeled “Keyboard” and check the box for “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar.”

As you might expect, a new icon will appear in the menu bar, located on the right side of the screen. When you click on the icon you should see three (3) options (listed from top-to-bottom): Show Character Viewer; Show Keyboard Viewer; and Open Keyboard Preferences… Select “Character Viewer” and navigate to Pictographs. (The last option takes you back the same screen that is shown above.)

macOS Monterey (Version 12.0.1)

After I was unable to figure out how to make the same setting on my MacBook Air, I referred to the “macOS User Guide” that is a built-in feature of the computer. A screenshot of the guide is shown below.

Open “System Preferences” and select “Keyboard.” Click on the tab labeled “Input Sources” and check the box for “Show Input menu in menu bar.”

A new icon will appear in the menu bar, located on the right side of the screen. When you click on the icon you should see the three (3) options shown below. Select the first option, “Show Emoji & Symbols.”

A new window will open on-screen. Navigate to Pictographs. Some sample Pictographs are shown below, including the female and male symbols (fifth row from the top).

Practical example using Photoshop

Here’s an example of part of my workflow to annotate a photograph using Adobe Photoshop.

Open a photo file in Photoshop. Select the “Text Tool” and create a new layer called “male symbol.” Click on the image to add an insertion point, then click on the “Show…” icon in the computer menu bar and select “Show Emoji & Symbols.” Navigate to “Pictographs” and select the “male sign.” You should see a list of “Font Variations.” I always use “Arial Bold.” Double-click on the icon and it should appear on the photo. ♂ Use the “Move Tool” to, well, move the symbol wherever you like on the image.


I stumbled across an application recently called “Photopea” that is a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Photopea is a Web-based clone of Photoshop — Photopea doesn’t do everything Photoshop does but it could be used to annotate photos using a workflow similar to the one I just described. Look for one or more Photopea-related blog posts in the near future.

Related Resource

Anatomy of a male Tiger Spiketail – a blog post by Walter Sanford.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Recognition received in 2015

December 25, 2015

It’s the time of year for reflection upon the past year. This is part one in a three-part series: part two will highlight New discoveries in 2015; part three will showcase my Top 10 Photos of 2015.

Several of my photographs received special recognition during 2015.

  • Chesapeake Explorer – National Park Service Web portal for exploring the Chesapeake Bay region
  • Vernal Pools are Wet and Dry – signage facilitating informal science education at a new park in the Town of DeWitt, New York
  • Argia, Vol. 27, Issue 4, “Parting Shots,” p. 31

The December 2015 issue of Argia, The News Journal of the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, features one of my photographs of a Roseate Skimmer dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) that I discovered on 23 September 2015 at Huntley Meadows Park. Roseate Skimmer is extremely uncommon in Virginia: there are only three other confirmed records of this species in the state. See Roseate Skimmer dragonfly (male) for more information and photos of this handsome dragonfly.

Tech Tip: Apple “Preview” was used to extract one page from the December 2015 issue of “Argia.”

Sidebar:Argia” is a genus of damselfly, commonly known as “dancers.” For example, Variable/Violet Dancer (Argia fumipennis) is commonly found along streams in Northern Virginia.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Eye contact

February 24, 2015

I like shots of dragonflies in which the subject strikes an unusual pose. I’m especially fond of head-tilts in which the individual seems to make direct eye contact. I wonder what the dragonfly is thinking when it looks at me through its compound eyes. On one hand, the amateur scientist in me guesses the dragonfly’s only thought is a simple decision tree: Is this thing predator or prey? On the other hand, the romantic in me thinks the two of us make a connection sometimes, and the dragonfly senses I’m a friend rather than a foe. Like the connection between this guy and me …

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (male)

The preceding photograph shows an Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (Erythemis simplicicollis) perching on the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park on 10 September 2014. This individual is a male, as indicated by its coloration and terminal appendages.

Eastern Pondhawk is a species of dragonfly with prominent pseudopupils, giving the face a cartoon-like appearance sometimes. In this one-panel cartoon, the speech bubble would read …

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (male)

Tech Tip: Apple “Preview” application was used to annotate the preceding photograph.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Diptic: Dragonfly identification quiz/scavenger hunt

December 23, 2011

Regular readers of my photoblog should be able to identify the dragonflies shown in the following composite image. For each one of the dragonflies shown in the four-panel diptych, identify the type of dragonfly (common name plus genus and species) and its gender (either male or female). If you are unable to identify one or more of the dragonflies, then you may scavenge my photoblog in search of answers. (The correct answers will be provided in a follow-up post on 25 December 2011.)


Tech Tips: The diptych (shown above) was created using Apple “Aperture” and “Diptic” app for Apple iOS mobile devices. Apple “Preview” was used to annotate Photo 1 of 2; Photo 2 of 2 is the original diptych.

Copyright © 2011 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Monarch butterflies on Butterfly Bush (white)

October 16, 2011

During a photowalk through Milway Meadows, a residential community in Fairfax County, Virginia USA, I spotted several Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) feeding on the white flowers of a Butterfly Bush (Buddleja sp.). I have never seen so many Monarchs in one location — I estimate anywhere from six- to 10 butterflies were feeding on the same bush! I wonder whether the butterflies I saw were part of a larger group migrating south for the winter.


The preceding gallery features copies of the original photos (shown below) that were cropped and adjusted using Apple Aperture. Photos 11 and 12 were annotated using Apple Preview in order to highlight one or more butterflies that you may have overlooked. The photos in both galleries appear in the same sequence.


Tech Tips: The gallery (shown above) features some of the better photos from a batch I shot using my Apple iPhone 3GS after cell phone service was de-activated. (I just upgraded to an iPhone 4.) I was curious to know whether the de-activated 3GS would still geotag photos taken using its built-in camera. As it turns out, the de-activated iPhone 3GS (essentially the same as an iPod touch) did in fact geotag all of my photos. The accuracy wasn’t as good as usual (for details, see “The ABCs of A-GPS“), except in the case of the photos I shot while standing in the same place for a long time — I guess the phone’s GPS chip was able to get a better position fix when I was stationary for a while. I used Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos, to geolocate all of the photos correctly during post-processing.

Monarch butterfly (male)

August 19, 2011

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) spotted during a photowalk through the Children’s Garden at Hollin Meadows Science and Math Focus School. This individual is a male, as indicated by the “androconia” — two “hindwing pouches” on the male butterfly’s lower wings. Photo 1 of 4 was annotated to highlight the androconia; Photo 2 of 4 is the original photograph.

Tech Tips: Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos, was used to crop Photos 1, 2, and 3. Apple “Preview” was used to annotate Photo 1 to highlight the androconia on the butterfly’s hindwings.


Ebony Jewelwing damselfy (female)

August 7, 2011

An Ebony Jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata) spotted during a photowalk through “Paul Spring Park,” one of seven small parks owned and maintained by the Community Association of Hollin Hills (CAHH), Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The individual shown in the preceding photo gallery is a female, as indicated by its dull brown body and smoky wings with bright white spots near the wingtips. (Males have metallic green bodies and opaque black wings.)

The Ebony Jewelwing is one of eight species of broad-winged damselflies, a family of medium-size damselflies that have butterfly-like flight. Like all broad-winged damselflies, Ebony Jewelwing damselflies are usually found along small creeks and streams, near the water.

Related Resources:

Tech Tips: Photo 1 of 2 is a copy of the original photograph, cropped to highlight the damselfly; Photo 2 of 2 is the original photograph. Photo 1 was cropped and edge sharpened using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos. Apple “Preview” was used to annotate Photo 1 to highlight the bright white spots near the damselfly’s wingtips.

Star Spangled Fourth

July 4, 2011

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The Spangled Skimmer is differentiated from similar blue dragonflies by the black and white pterostigmas located on the leading edge of all four wings, toward the wingtips. Photo 1 of 2 is a copy of the original photograph, annotated to highlight the pterostigma on the left hindwing (facing forward); Photo 2 of 2 is the original photograph.

Tech Tips: Adobe Photoshop was used to sharpen the original image. Apple Preview was used to annotate the photo.

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