Friday, September 14, 2012

Playing With Photos on Blogger - Clouds, Crabapples, and Photoshop

Life is basically about balancing tensions between competing options.  Making tradeoffs.  And I face that every day here on the blog.

It's my space to experiment, but it's also public.  In my own private journal I could experiment and not worry about people looking at my drafts.  Or I could write personal thoughts about my family.  But I want my family to talk to me, so they are pretty much off limits.

For writing, I've come to terms with getting something as good as I can in the time that I have.  Yes, it would be better if I labored over it for another week or two, but the trade off is that I get more stuff up and I can consider these notes jotted down.  On touchy issues I'll usually spend more time trying to avoid ambiguity and unnecessarily ticking someone off.  But there's always someone who will get offended.  Fortunately, not too many of those folks are reading here.

But photos are different.  There's the conflict between putting up a good photo versus putting up something that isn't so good but illustrates the story.  Yes, I know, I should do both, but sometimes a mediocre photo is all I have and it still tells a lot more than I could write.

Like that big cloud hanging over me as I came out of the John Cage talk at UAA Thursday.  I just couldn't get the cloud right.  It was way too big and too close.  But the picture tells you a lot more than I could write.  We don't have that many dramatic cloudscapes in Anchorage.  More often it's a pretty flat gray sky.  Or puffy whites floating near the mountains.

  By the time I got to Lake Otis and 36th, it was even better.  I was waiting for the light to change and shot this on the run as the walk sign turned on. I know, a real photographer would have waited for the next light.  A real photographer would have a real camera too.

 And then Blogger doesn't do me any favors when it interprets the photos.  You could read the Seawolf Shuttle on the bus clearly before I posted this.  If you click on the picture it shows you the slightly better version.

But sometimes I get bored with just uploading up a photo, or I think I can make it look more interesting if I fiddle with it in photoshop.  I'll show you what I mean.   The two cloud pictures I just posted up here from my photo files using blogger's upload photo function.  I don't have a lot of control.  I can play with the size and location -  on the left, right, or middle.

Sometimes I'll take two related pictures and I want to position them together better than blogger lets me. I'll just put them together in photoshop without otherwise doctoring them.   Like these two pictures - one of the crabapples on the ground and the other looking up at the crab apple tree.

But this was just too flat - the up and down perspectives don't work when the two are together like this.  So I tried playing with them more in photoshop.

OK, I have the apples looking like they are on the ground, but the tree and the sizes and relationships just don't work.  You can't see really see the apples in the tree which I wanted to catch when I took the picture.  Usually I won't burden you with my failures, but this is a behind the scenes post,  So I tried again.

I like this better.  It's got more life than the other two, but it's still too flat.  I should have lain down on the ground to take the picture.  But I wasn't thinking about putting the two together at the time.  Planning!  I probably should get back to Mariano's digital art class.  

Meanwhile, they are predicting more 'strong wind events' in the Anchorage area for tomorrow.  Other places have hurricanes and typhoons, but  we only have wind events,  even though the hillside and Turnagain Arm are supposed to get 100 mile per hour gusts.  We're getting the candles out and batteries for the old radio.  I have to say, it was nice having candles for light and not being able to use the computer.  I may be adding to the downed tree pictures I've posted this week.  Last week most of us weren't paying much attention to the wind warnings.  The storm got our attention. This week we're listening.  Probably nothing big will happen.

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