November 2017 - THIS week's PICTURE

Winter in Albemarle County VA: photo by Malcolm Aslett

A landscape pic from a while back, many winters ago, when the President of the United States was a revered International figure and milk came in cartons. So, not that long ago in the grand scheme of things.

I don't often use the automatic stitching facilities in Adobe CC but I do have a play with them when I'm feeling especially lazy. The stitching program is like a beautiful looking but stupid person. You can admire them on an aesthetic level but you aren't going to expect a serious cultural analysis from them of the latest episode of The Simpsons. (They will miss the obvious references and not even bother to distinguish between 'symbolism' and 'allegory' - or, let's face it, even use the words.(Hmm, have to look that one up again myself.) Yes, you can lead a stitching program to water but you can't, erm, make it drink or think or whatever, coherently, that is, like smart people. Let me try and point out briefly a couple of issues..

It is terrific at blending tones and colours to match as well as mildly distorting forms to fit a whole. I've included a detail below so you can see what sort of shennanigans it gets up to.

Even though I've cleaned up a fair number of the 'errors' there are still erratic choices evident. Notice how it deals with blurred and sharp areas in the bottom left and middle top left. Colour tones are nearly matched while there is a clear division in area relating to which image was selected. The blue wires needed a fair bit of cleaning up as they were, naturally, patchy and broken. I left a small stub sticking out at the upper left of the post so as to show it. One supposes that the choices of the program are formal ones relating to shape, colour, tone, contour - as they have to be.

It can save a lot of work and do colour matching in skies and seas better than I can manually. When human faces are involved it can get really stupid and act as if it has never seen a face before. Entertaining in its way. So, thankfully, human intelligence is still required in making the intellectual decisions for purpose and meaning.

And a serious bit of manual colour and tone adjustment was ultimately required to give it a bit of punch.