Wednesday, April 4, 2012

East Memphis Silos--New Desktop Wallpaper

Once a person that I had just met asked me what I did with the photos I took.  I have so many answers for that that it would take up an entire blog post, and then some.  But one of the things I do with photos is a very simple answer--I use them as desktop wallpaper.  I can't imagine having desktop wallpaper that is not personal. 

Generally I change wallpaper every few months, and it kind of gives me a jolt for the first few times I turn on the computer, because the desktop wallpaper I select gives the screen a certain familiar energy.   

Over the years I have used landscapes from various vacations, but lately I have used photos I take closer to home.  My old wallpaper was a scene from Patriot Lake in Shelby Farms in Memphis, taken in the morning just after the fog lifted.   Most people don't really notice this particular scene, because you have to hike about a fourth of a mile from the parking lot, and look toward what I call the skyline of the park, and then either zoom the camera lens to the max (in my case, 24x), or get out the binoculars.  I happened to capture the three herons in the foreground on the islands in Patriot Lake.

This wallpaper served me well for many months, but I recently replaced it with another Memphis photograph, this time of one of my favorite sites in the city, although it also is relatively unknown by people who don't happen to  know the neighborhood.

Many Memphians don't even know that the hottest office real estate market in town, right off the Poplar Corridor, is home to two brick silos that come to life with wisteria in the spring.   I love taking photos on partly cloudy afternoons, and when we had one recently,  I got some wonderful silo photos.  One has replaced the Shelby Farms landscape as my new desktop wallpaper.
I had to process this photograph with my photo processing software (PhotoDirector) using a technique called "masking".  This highlights a certain portion of the photo to make changes on just that portion of the photo.  Without the masking technique, the photograph foreground was too dark.  I had changed the automatic settings in the camera to make the photo dark, because I did not want the clouds to disappear into the sky.  Using the masking technique, I was able to have the best of both worlds--clouds that look like clouds, and enough light to clearly see the wisteria and the brick silos.  Another way to accomplish this is to use one of the various filters available for camera lenses that are meant to be used with clouds.    Before any processing, my photo looked like this: 

If I had lightened the entire photograph, rather than just the silos and wisteria, the photo would look like this--notice the clouds don't show well in this photo: 

The hint for the week, is that it is a lot better to start with the photograph dark, and to lighten it with post processing than it is to start with it light, and try to darken it.  But you can take photos various ways, and experiment.

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