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Blog : Posts tagged with 'computer desktop'


More photos

In which we go back to Imperial Russia again

Following on from last Wednesday’s post, here are some more photos by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, reassembled in colour form to go on my computer desktop.

These aren’t exactly the versions I made for my desktop. There didn’t seem to be much point. I seem to have an unusually-shaped monitor,* so wallpaper files that are useful to me probably wouldn’t be much good to any of you. Moreover, Prokudin-Gorskii’s originals aren’t a suitable shape to fit any sort of computer monitor at all.

In any case, none of these photos are in perfect shape. Most have imperfections, which come out as brightly-coloured blotches in the final version, making all the human subjects look like paint-factory workers. There tends to be a faded band at the top and bottom of each shot, which, when coloured, gives you a red fade at the bottom of the picture and a blue fade at the top. Re-cropping each picture helps avoid the worst damage on each.

I have no idea what most of these pictures are, but I still love playing with them and looking at them. I find the Prokudin-Gorskii pictures fascinating, as you can probably tell.

Town prospect Dredger More religious art People posing Boat and railway

* Most computer screens have an aspect ratio of 4:3. Mine, on the other hand, is 5:4, unless my calculator is being flaky.

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Ringing the changes

In which we look at Imperial Russia

It being the new year, I decided to spruce up my computer with a few new desktop backgrounds. I already have a background-randomising program which picks a new one at random every evening;* but there’s only so many backrgrounds on the computer, and they’ve not been changed for a while. So, I went to look for more.

I ended up going back to something I found on the net a few years ago: the works of S M Prokudin-Gorskii, a Russian photographer of around 100 years ago who invented a camera-and-projector system which could take and display colour photographs, storing them as three-part black-and-white colour separations. Because his work is now public-domain, you can find it all over the web; but I originally came across him on this site.

The known surviving works of Prokudin-Gorskii are in the Library of Congress; and, being in the public domain, they’ve all been scanned and put on the web, with the original black-and-white plates in very high resolution. It’s a really easy job to download some, and assemble them into a single colour image.** So, I now have some nice colour photos of Tsarist Russia for my desktop background. It’s a bit of a change from the previous moody black and white photos of the Scottish Highlands. Here’s a few examples:

Laboratory Signals to shipping An Orthodox religious artefact

* Being a big geek, I mostly wrote it myself.

** The main problem – if you’re using the hi-res images – is having enough computer memory. The minimum time it takes me now is about 10 minutes, but most of that is sitting and waiting for my computer to catch up with me. The final image will be just under 3600×3300 pixels in size, which is rather square compared to a computer screen, so it will need to be cropped a bit

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Number Ten

In which Christmas is coming

Normally I’m one of the first people to moan about Christmas coming too early. The tree should go up in December; the only cards to go out in November should be airmail ones; and Christmas stuff appearing in the shops in October is just silly.

This year, though, I’ve been persuaded off the habit, and it’s all the BBC‘s fault. My computer desktop wallpaper is now both seasonal and geeky. Hurrah!

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