Friday, September 6, 2013

A Little Bit About Vectors

With the availability of safe and affordable online graphics from sources  offering royalty-free, rights-managed and subscription options,  anyone can create unique projects. However, whether you've always been creative or are just unleashing the budding artist within,  there is one image format that allows you more flexibility to play.

Vectors files, which include AI, WMF, SVG, EPS and PDF,  are quite versatile provided you have image editing software to work with them. Unlike bitmap images (JPG, PNG, GIF), comprised of pixels,  vectors are based on mathematical equations such as points, lines and curves.  This makes them ideal for larger projects as they maintain the image's crispness and quality when enlarged significantly.

Another positive is that unless the vector you choose has been created with a coloured background that is part of the design, it can be saved as a new file with a transparent background (where the file format permits).  JPGs, on the other hand will have a background 100 per cent of the time, while PNGs may have a transparent background, but there's no guarantee.

Vectors also make it easier to alter an image whether you want to change a colour, take something away or add to it.  Should you find two images close to what you want, but neither is exactly what you're looking for on its own,  choosing vectors will allow you to combine elements of both to create your perfect design.

Perfection, of course, can be elusive. Vectors can't be used in producing realistic photos as they don't possess a continuous flow of subtle colour tone and shade variations.

Also, as mentioned earlier, you will need image editing software to open a vector. Among the most popular are CorelDRAW and Adobe Illustrator. Photoshop can be used to increase the size of an image when you open it, but it will rasterize it meaning that the ability to work with the vector data is gone. 

There are as well some free software programs available online. This site lists a number of options:

5 Best Free Graphics Software

 To help you learn more about vectors here are some informative sites:

Tech-Faq Vector Information

Web Designer Differences Between Pixel and Vector Graphics

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Great Photos of Italy

As mentioned in an earlier post, we recently had a special guest visit us for an afternoon — a nice young man from Italy.  Our son, a musician, who has played gigs globally has made a lot of friends in many different places and this fellow was the latest of several he has brought to meet us when they return the visit here.

Being not a world traveller myself,  it's a a lovely treat to chat with them. There's nothing better than a first-hand account of another's cultures and homeland. 

With Ame, from economics and politics to Italian food and music, we covered the basics.  Through time spent together we confirmed stereotypes — we are nice Canadians, he is a charming Italian who clearly has an eye for the ladies.  We most certainly let him know how beautiful we think the Italian language is. Even an insult sounds melodic. For example when he jokingly said to my son, "Siete un idiota". I actually asked him to repeat it. A few times.

He also educated us on the must-sees that most tourists don't know about, and noted that I will still need to carry mosquito repellent with me when I tour his country. The really good news is that also told us we have a place to stay should we ever get there.

I'm not fond of air travel and certainly don't have the time at this point for a cruise, as desirable as that would be.  But if there has ever been a 'destinazione' that might entice me to take flight, it's Tuscany.  Now with a tour guide at my disposal I really just might have to rethink my aversion to airplanes. In the meantime these lovely photos of all things Italian will keep me inspired:

National Geographic Italy Photos

Trip Advistor Italy Photos Photos of Italy Italy

Acclaim Images Italian Photos

Students of the World Pictures of Italy

Lonely Planet Italy Photo Gallery

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wildlife in Photographs

Our son recently hosted a very nice young man from Italy. As it was his first visit to Canada they were trying to hit as many highlights for him as possible. While trying to decide one afternoon what might be an interesting visit, a suggestion was made for the Toronto Zoo. The guest's response? "No thank you. It makes me sad to see animals in captivity."

It was very sweet, and understandable. While many animals when removed from the wild have plenty of space in their new homes, as well as comfortable, even longer,  lives, it does seem unfair to confine the beautiful  creatures that typically roam vast, rugged spaces.  They are truly at their most majestic when running free.

The problem is, however, that while these animals are an exotic attraction, they can, up close and personal, get nasty. Thus most of us sadly prefer to see them with a barrier between.

Not so my nephew and his wife, however. Faced with the reality that their nest is emptying swiftly — one daughter off to university and the second going next year — they decided that a monumental family adventure was in order. So, earlier this summer, they headed to Africa where they spent several weeks volunteering before going on safari.  It was an experience they will never forget.

Personally,  I admire them, but this wandering soul of mine is content with tamer pursuits now.  As for checking out wildlife, if it's not the kind you find in a bar on Saturday night, I'm okay with seeing it in photographs, such as the ones found here in these wonderful collections: Wildlife Photos Wildlife

Acclaim Images Wildlife Photos

National Geographic Best Wildlife Photos

National Geographic Milestones in Wildlife Photography

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Bounty of Beautiful Autumn Photos

With Labour Day behind us and kids all back to school, summer has unofficially reached its end. Waking this morning to the dreariest of days — skies grey, temperatures having taken a drastic turn towards cool —  it did indeed seem appropriate that the children's vacation had ended and they were heading back for another year of learning.

Autumn doesn't get to make an official appearance until Sept. 22 at 4:44 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, but there was little doubt stepping outside the door this morning that its arrival is imminent. I even, heaven forbid, noticed a few changing leaves while out driving this past weekend. 

For a fan of the warmer seasons such as myself, the outlook for the next several months in the northern hemisphere may seem a bit bleak at times. When it starts to get to me, however, I reach back to my childhood days when fall was as good a season for me as any other — maybe even my favourite. After all, one of the first things that happened following the autumnal equinox was my birthday. Granted that was more exciting then than now, but I'll gladly still take it.

Another big event was the annual fall fair in our town, which meant weeks of out-of-classroom time to practise our marching for the big parade, and an entire day out of school to attend this celebration of harvest.

The season also brings us beautiful colours and falling leaves (these more fun for the children who play in them than the grownups who rake them). It treats us with Indian summer, Thanksgiving and Halloween. Autumn also brings the promise of Christmas which falls just a few short days after we say farewell to that season and welcome winter.

So, with its beauty and atmosphere of family and celebration I guess it's not all bad. As proof, just check out these beautiful photos of a bountiful season. Autumn Photos Autumn Photos

National Geographic Fall Colours Photos

National Geographic Kids Fall Scenes

National Geographic Autumn in the United States

Photography Blogger Autumn Photos

Better Photo Autumn Picture Gallery