Wednesday, 29 September 2010

It's Apple wot made me do it!

This isn't my usual whinge about the Jobbsian flavour of Big Brother. Also, can you spot the film reference?

One of the (genuinely) attractive - though terribly time wasting - features of OSX is the ability to display images from a chosen folder as a moving screensaver. It shows sections of the image gradually sliding across the screen.

The full height and width of the screen.

This means that I have become familiar with the way many of my images look at the equivalent size of at least 20"X28" and probably larger even than that, since this is a 20" widescreen monitor and the image has to be made larger so that it may be 'moved' across the screen. Many of them look glorious, with tiny details too small to easily see at my 'standard 1024X768' resolution size being clear and catching the eye.

Maybe I was a little slow on the uptake, but this is why I can't see the point to 450X600 images any more - they are now my thumbnails - and the truly postage-stamp sized images shown on some sites as thumbs are too small to be worth paying attention.

A part of this issue is also monitor resolutions and sizes. When I started out on my own system we had a 17" CRT monitor (large for the time) with a resolution of 1024X768. Images at 600X800 were both large enough to look very full, detailed and satisfying, and large enough to take forever to download across a 33K (later 56K) modem. But as resolutions have crept up, we seem to be cramming more pixels into a proportionately smaller space - at least visually so - with images that were once striking and detailed appearing small, weak and over-busy.

My solution has been to post 'outrageously' large images. Outrageous, that is, for a relatively slow (512K max at this end, frequently slower) broadband and utterly unacceptable for anyone on dialup. I should not be surprised if it becomes necessary within the next 5 years to raise the size of images again to keep up with ever finer resolutions, or maybe to start scaling images by screen-inches instead at higher underlying res.

One further observation. This size issue is also driving me to try to simplify my images. The less detail calling for attention, the better an image survives being miniaturised. I have always liked simple, striking images (although I like them to have fine detail that becomes apparent when they are enlarged - like the temperature gauge below) but this is forcing me to try to find ways of reducing images to simple light/dark constructions with fewer lead lines. It's good for some things, but makes landscapes much harder to capture since so much of the glory is in the fine detail and texture - at least for local stuff.

There are times I wish I could arrange a feed direct from my optic nerve to the hard drive, but that's just wishful thinking, and I'd still not be satisfied. And I'd then want to upgrade the eyeballs - but that's just a memo about a small proportion of the population.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Play nice - I will delete anything I don't want associated with this blog and I will delete anonymous comments.