Saturday, March 13, 2010

This 'stretch' wasn't such a bad thing

Anyone who's tried to use and display a digital image for their pc or mac desktop art knows the disappointment of not being able to select one that orients vertically unless you're willing to live with distortion or radical disorientation. If you pick a vertical/portrait image, then go to try to fill the whole monitor space with it by selecting the "stretch" option, the skew is abhorrent, and particularly so if the image contains a face or animal. You can center it, if you really want to use it, but it just doesn't have the same impact as filling the full screen.

Your pc/mac monitor usually is square or rectangular, so if you want the image to fill the full space on your monitor, using the "stretch" function, you're left to pick a horizontal, or landscape, shape. You probably can find plenty images in that orientation. In fact, that's what I've done for the past dozen years or so. Until two weeks ago.

I am quite fond of a backlighted vertical image from my Feb. 6 shoot in Garfield Park in Indianapolis, a sunny day that followed an overcast, full day of snowfall. On a lark, I grabbed the image to see how it would display "stretched" on my monitor as my desktop art. I was incredibly and pleasantly surprised. It gave the snow-covered ground a more prominent posture, and it elevated the background trees on the right to a position of a significant secondary element. Finally, when I looked at the image on my desktop, I could appreciate the tiny snow flecks sprinkled throughout the trunks and limbs of the subject trees in the foreground. And it almost seemed as if they sparkled.

I created a digital file of the "stretched" version by capturing a screen grab (after hiding all the desktop icons) and converting the ensuing image from bitmap to jpeg. The result of the conversion of the screen grab to jpeg appears above this post; the original image with the vertical orientation appears below.

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