This is the first of a series of short videos which document the making of my next sculpture, "Dancers". In part one, I show how I plan and start the piece.
This article is for those who need help deciding if and how to resize their digital images. It is not a comprehensive tutorial, it is meant to help someone decide what to do if they are asked for a high-resolution image to be printed in a catalogue, for example.
- to speed up the display of your image on websites and social media, especially when viewed on mobile devices
- to reduce the size of the documents in which the images are embedded
- to comply with submission guidelines for web or printed images
- to avoid overwhelmed the email system when sending many attached images
- to control the size and quality of the image as it will appear on the web or print
Do I really need to resize?
Do not resize your original images. Always make a copy of your original image, and resize the copy.
For posting images online, not really. Most web / social media platforms take care of this for you. If you want “pixel perfect” images, you will want to resize for specific platforms. These sizes are well publicized on the web.
For print, you need to ensure that the size of your image is big enough so it won’t print fuzzy. Read on to find out how.
What do you mean by "image size"?
Digital images are a mosaic of tiny color dots called pixels. The more pixels an image has on the horizontal and on the vertical, the “smoother” it will look on the computer screen or on the printed page.
image size = number of horizontal pixels by number of vertical pixels
For example, an image may have 960 pixels on the horizontal and 699 on the vertical. The size is 960 by 699 pixels, or 960 x 699 pixels. Your computer will tell you the number of pixels for each image.
What about DPI or megapixels?
DPI stands for "dots per pixel" and is a characteristic of printers, not your image. When creating a physical print of an image, the size of the print will be the size of the image (in pixels) divided by the DPI of the printer. Most printer's DPI is 300; an image of 3000 x 3000 pixels, when printed on such a printer, will result in a 10 inch by 10 inch physical print (3000 pixels divided by 300 dpi equals 10 inches).
Megapixels is a measure of the total number of pixels are in the image (width in pixels multiplied by height in pixels). This measure is virtually useless to you.
What is a "High Resolution" Image?
There is no universal definition for "high resolution", so here's mine:
1. For images to be viewed on the web, or a computer monitor, a high resolution image will have more than 900 pixels on its shortest dimension
2. For images to be printed, a high resolution image will have at least 300 times more pixels on each dimension than the intended print size, in inches. As an example, for a printed image of 2 inches by 2 inches, any image that has 600 (2 inches x 300 dpi) or more pixels on each direction is considered high resolution.
How do I resize?
You will need a tool to do the resizing. There are several available both as software installed on your computer (e.g., Photoshop Elements), or websites (e.g., http://resizeimage.net/). Find the one that works best for you in terms of simplicity of use and feature set.
What size should I make it?
If it's a profile picture, most websites require a square image. Crop your image square and make it 400 pixels by 400 pixels. This size will work in most cases.
For all other images, make them 1600 pixels wide. If you are posting fine photography, make them 2500 pixels wide.
Determine the exact size of the image on the physical print, in inches. If that's not possible, find out what the largest size could be. For example, if you know that the image will be printed on a brochure that is 8 inches wide by 10 high, the maximum width of your image is 8 inches.
Multiply the width and the height of the image on the physical print by 300 (in rare cases 600, for extremely high quality prints, ask your printer). This will give you the minimum size of the digital image, in pixels.
If your image is larger that the minimum size determined above, you may choose to resize it, otherwise it will be resized for you when the printed product is laid out.
If your image is smaller than the minimum size (fewer pixels on the horizontal or vertical), the resulting printed image will be fuzzy. The only solution to this problem is to print the image smaller (size of the print = size of image in pixels divided by 300)
Alabaster with black walnut base
17x13.5x8 in.Read More
Artomatic is back in Crystal City this year, on the 5th anniversary of my first show here. To celebrate, I decided to do something unprecedented; I will show photography!
I've printed the images on aluminum, a process which yields incredibly deep and rich photos, with virtually no glare.
Hope you enjoy them. You'll find them next to the stage on the 6th floor. See you there!
The lapis lazuli sphere brought into focus the idea for this sculpture. Geometry's clearest uttering, the sphere, shaped geology's blue mumblings into this planet-like orb. Imperfections of gold and white create continents and rivers and clouds. It looks familiar, we know this place, it's our world. The best gift bestowed on us by the universe, unconditionally. Necessary and sufficient, it nurtures us until the end of time, when geology breaks free of its temporary cage and explodes again into its incomprehensible rant.
Like any gift, its value is measured by our gratitude and respect.
I am, again, in awe of the magnolias. They impress, they enchant, they affirm that nature will resurrect itself from the ashes of scraggly twigs and frozen dirt.
Now it is perhaps easier to believe the other resurrection, the singular and unwitnessed act on which Christianity revolves like an illusory spinning top. The resurrection that put one above all, which in turn begat the writhing ladder of interpreters, climbing on top of each other to better talk down to the rest of us. Now, in the fullness of spring, it’s difficult to understand why a large part of humanity has chosen to embrace a god so uninterested in communicating intelligibly with its creation.
Nevertheless, the momentum of this fecund spring feeds our thirst for immortality as we suspend our disbelief; for a moment we entertain the possibility of the one resurrection which is the blueprint of our own salvation. The return to the zenith of our corporeal being, to the sum total of our wisdom.
The first couple of times I saw the Bosphorus I barely noticed it. My eyes were seeking the other side, the Orient. The vast steppes of bleached bones; illusory oases with fragrant harems; bad news brought by dusty waves of Huns, Turks, Tartars; lavish silk and utilitarian wool; trance inducing whirling dervishes; treasures burning in mystic fire.
To get to the Orient, you have to cross the Bosphorus. And that’s how you notice it, how you find it, how you understand it: by being in it, surrounded, a guest and a prisoner of its benevolent waves.
Purposeful ferries of different sizes take you across and back. From their decks Istanbul appears tamed, defenseless. The hustle and bustle is snuffed by the breeze, people shrink into antdom. Architecture now stands alone to represent the city. Drawn out in luminous limestone, it hugs the tall banks of the Bosphorus with ease and grace.
Close your eyes now, listen to the waves and feel the wind. It’s the same wind that filled the sails of Jason and his Argonauts, the same waves that confronted sultan Mehmet‘s assault on Constantinople. Thousands of years from now the city may be gone; proud minarets following shiny skyscrapers into the maw of oblivion. But the waves and the winds of the Bosphorus will endure, pounding the shore with eternal equanimity.
There is a battle going on in my hotel room between the insidious smell of raw sewage and the chemical aroma of some sort of air freshener. It is a bitter, old conflict with an uncertain outcome. At times it appears that the chemical smell has the upper hand, at times the biological one overpowers. It is an olfactory roller coaster that turns the stomach. My room is not special; this existential struggle grips the better part of this town. I’m referring to Labuan Bajo, a two-mosque port town on the island of Flores, with only two things going for it.
First, the sunsets here are improbably gorgeous day after day after day. The port is dotted with fishing and diving boats, and the horizon offers a splash of small, picturesque islands. When the sun rushes down, the sky ignites in violent hues of red, yellow and purple. If the moment catches you on the top deck of Osteria del Mare, the only decent restaurant in town I found, the universe reduces to you, the sunset, and the blessed breeze.
Second, the reason I’m here: Labuan Bajo is the gateway to the Komodo National Park, an expanse of ocean where marine life is protected, and is therefore spectacular. I am here to board a boat that will take me diving for four days. Oh, and they also have Komodo dragons on some of the islands.
Labuan Bajo is a confusing blend of squalor and beauty. On one hand, the town is a shithole. More literally than figuratively. Raw sewage runs everywhere, and the smell of anaerobic decomposition terrorizes the port area. The houses on the hill generally evade the miasma; their sewage flows downhill and the breezes purify the air.
It has more bakeries per street-running chicken than any other place I’ve seen in Indonesia. German, French, Belgian, your pick. It also has a number of restaurants which aim to be superior, some with a more legitimate claim than others (as I am writing this I’m sucking on Pepto Bismol and regretting the lavish sum of money I left at “Made In Italy” for the only meal in South East Asia that has managed to make me sick).
The slum that lines the port is as picturesque as it is unsanitary. Its houses are painted in cheerful colors, people are friendly, clothes dry on lines, roosters root in the trash. Most of the roosters you run into are prize fighters, and look rather threadbare. I meet the six times champion of Labuan Bajo, a mean looking cock covered in bald spots and not much comb remaining. His owner feeds him lovingly, by hand, every day.
The main road that runs along the port is lined with dive shops run by expats. For the most part they are young, bright, and hail from Europe or Australia.
Why are you here?, I ask a few of them
For the best diving in the world, they invariably reply
I look at the horizon, from where mysterious islands beckon, and I can almost understand. Almost.
A loud crack is followed by the rustle of leaves, then a thud. A sizable branch lands nearby. I can’t tell exactly where, but it’s not far. She is displeased and I’m ignoring her tantrum at my own peril.
I can’t see her from where I am, but I can sense her presence. I seek a better position; stumble to the right, slide downhill blindly until my back makes contact with the trunk I hoped for. My eyes stay in the canopy, scanning for fuzzy orange.
Suddenly, my eyes find her. I start shooting and focusing, framing and refocusing. The viewfinder fogs up, or maybe I’m blinded by the river of sweat. Camera fires away, steady but slower than I’d like; the light is dim so I must hold the camera still. My legs are burning; the loud thumping in my chest and the shallow breathing can’t catch up to each other.
I may not be doing this right. I have visions of nature photographers carefully setting up their equipment, lying in wait for days or weeks for the rare animal to walk into the optimal light, silhouetted against the dramatic background of its habitat. That’s not me right now. I feel like a paparazzo harassing a celebrity. I yoyo between the exhilaration of catching a glimpse of the animal I came so far to see, and the fear of bodily harm.
But there is not much time to think. One of her young appears high in the canopy. It has something in its mouth, I can’t tell exactly what, but I fire away, praying to the gods of refraction that the autofocus won’t be tricked by the millions of interfering leaves.
A vaguely familiar sound reaches my conscious mind. The matriarch of the family is peeing on us from above. The strong stream breaks up in the canopy and becomes a gentle, musical rain. I chuckle at the freedom of animals; you piss them off, they piss on you. I grin and bear it; my equipment can handle it, and after all, this is the lot of the paparazzi.
Malioboro is like the boardwalk that knows only one thing: batik. As with other similar markets in Turkey and Indonesia, the supply side of the equation is so overwhelmingly large that demand has no chance of ever catching up.
Our place is called “La Javanaise”. It’s a home stay, meaning that it’s not a hotel; the owners rent out rooms in their home. This one is nice. It’s a three level concrete building, with a lovely open terrace on the top floor where I now sit and write this. The accommodations are rather spartan, but the backpackers wouldn’t have it any other way. For about $12 a night, it’s a bargain.
From the terrace I have a great view of the whole neighborhood. It looks fairly normal from up here, but once you get to ground floor, you realize that the whole place is an ant hill. The houses are packed in tetris style, and the only way to reach them is a labyrinthine system of alleys so narrow that two people don’t fit shoulder to shoulder. The night we arrived, as we followed our host through a seemingly endless string of twists and turns, we realized this is not something we’d ever do at home, yet here we were, putting our fate in the hands of a guy we’ve met 45 seconds ago. The alley could have ended up at the sausage factory for all we knew.
It turns out that the neighborhood is lovely. There is an eclectic mix of home stays and regular houses, eateries, restaurants, shops, travel agents, batik art stores, and so on. One can briefly get lost here, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Andrew is sick, the Dunkin Donuts ice coffee got him. So I head out solo tonight, looking for backpacker camaraderie.
Lucifer, the bar on one end of the street into which our anthill spills has live music. Nice band, with a short chubby guy singing energetically, high-heeled eye candy lackadaisically swaying behind him and providing superfluous doo-wop. He clearly got his singing chops in karaoke bars. The music is so loud that patrons are reduced to a stupor; conversation is futile.
I mosey over to the other offering, at the opposite end of the street, a place called Oxen Free. The internet tells me this name is supposed to mean something, but I still find it bizarre. The crowd here is chill, mostly locals trying to achieve the state of cool. A couple of backpackers add color; one girl’s green hair fluoresces violently in the dimness. There is a DJ playing forgettable music and the bar is stocked exclusively with the Indonesian beer called Bintang (it means “Star”). The red stars on the bottles wink at me seducingly, but I’m not tempted.
A lady of indeterminate age leans in conspiratorially. They offer mixed drinks also – she whispers – but they are not on display. That’s even less tempting.
I continue my walk, but the town seems to have run out of steam. Or maybe I’m in the wrong place, or at the wrong time. There is nothing else to be found, except for an ice cream cone. It’s the lowly convenience store variety, but a good consolation prize.
I head home crunching and slurping.
I wake up in the dark to the sound of rain, barely rising over the monotone drone of the rushing river. It’s 3AM, says the momentarily blinding face of my watch. I listen for wild and mysterious sounds, but all’s still.
The night of the Sumatran jungle is long. It ambushes you just after 6:30 PM, and won’t let go for a full 12 hours. I went to sleep soon after dark and had a restful sleep in the company of technicolor dreams. Now I lie awake, with several hours until sunrise. For a fleeting second I wish I had my Kindle to fight the dark. But I left it behind on purpose, to experience the jungle unadulterated by technology.
So I embrace the darkness and let my thoughts run. They’re not happy at the moment. My body is stiff and I have to painfully loosen up each joint. This is my second night sleeping on the ground – actually on a thin rubber sheet aspirationally called by someone a yoga mat. My rain jacket is balled up under my head for a pillow. As I work my way up to a sitting position, I contemplate the relativity of comfort. The basic accommodations of Ketambe, the village from where we started our trek, seems ridiculously luxurious right now.
It doesn’t help to think of that, so I turn my attention to this night’s dreams. They return unfailingly every night, these wonderfully weird dreams. They are emotional, cinematic, and surprisingly coherent in their narrative. I suspect they are fueled by the malaria medication. As I play back tonight’s episodes, a scene stands out. I’m in high school, out with friends. We shine with youth and happiness. A good friend, who in real life has been dead almost 5 years is making himself a tea. How are you?, I ask, knowing that I’m talking to a reflection of his spirit. He turns to me with sad eyes and says I’m lonely. My heart breaks and I don’t know what to say to reassure him.
Ahmed is the boss, but you wouldn’t know it. He is a soft spoken man who comes and goes silently and mysteriously, like a cat.
He could be in his thirties, or he could be in his forties. Most times he wears only a sarong, a look that fits him well. There are some pictures on the wall that betray a more cosmopolitan Ahmed, and younger too. He’s traveling the world in these pictures, see him in Paris here, in New York there. There is a picture of him with Jennifer Lopez, or more likely her wax replica.
Ahmed runs the Friendship Guest House, a way station for backpackers who want to take a trip into the Sumatran jungle in hope of seeing the Orang Hutan, the People of the Forrest. Or orangutan, as we call the furry orange beast.
Gunung Leuser, an Indonesian national park, pushes against Ketambe, the village from where we start our trek. In its vast stretches of jungle endangered species precariously stand their ground. Among them the orangutan, the rare Sumatran rhino, and the mythical Sumatran tiger.
We are in Ketambe looking for an unadulterated taste of jungle wilderness.
Should we be ready at 7AM?, we ask Ahmed.
Anytime you want, he smiles kindly. The guide will wait for you to have breakfast.
The roosters and the mosques are awake. At least two nearby mosques are in competition, and at times the word of Allah comes through jumbled.
The hostel is quiet, the main gate to the street still locked. I look for the rising sun, but it’s overcast. So I sit and witness the resurrection of life at the hostel. Three dogs are let out and they rush to the gate where they look for their street-roaming friends. An older gentlemen emerges and starts pacing the long courtyard in deliberate laps, a morning ritual no doubt. Sleepy-eyed backpackers appear, sniffing for the coffeepot.
Andrew and I can’t linger. We have a bus to catch this morning and we’d like to explore the market a bit before we leave.
The streets are busy now. School children in their cute uniforms are picked up in colorful buses and whisked to their schools. Berastagi is a big hub for all sorts of commerce, and the traffic of heavy vehicles is unabated. We dodge traffic clumsily and arrive on the opposite sidewalk unharmed, a minor miracle.
The market is wide awake and there is a lot of activity. Today’s merchandise is being prepared for the housewives who are already here. We take in the market with the same curiosity the market looks at us. We get to meet Ringo the monkey, who is shy but curious.
Back at the hostel we grab a couple of sandwiches to go. They are triple deckers with local spicy guacamole and tempe. When we finally unwrap them for lunch, we find them delicious.
We wait for a while for the bus, not sure when it will show up. Several come by, but they are not going to our next destination, Kutacane. When it finally arrives, it’s a colorful minibus that seats about 9 people. We’re lucky they have 2 seats left, otherwise we’d have to wait for the next one.
Andrew and I squeeze into the middle row. There are two young women and a young girl in the back row. They wear nice clothes, going to a wedding perhaps, or trying to impress the home village. In the front row there is a man, an woman, and a boy who appears to be around six and who throws up into a bag at regular intervals for the entire duration of the 8 hours trip. I feel badly for the poor lad. In the very front, next to the driver, there are two chronically sleepy women. To my right is an older peasant woman who mostly dozes, sometimes on my shoulder.
Our bags precariously jammed on top of other luggage, we head out. The roads are bad and congested, but our driver is good. We pick up some boxes in a busy intersection of a town with terrible roads, even by Sumatran standards. The driver ties the boxes to the roof with practiced movements. We will deliver these boxes along the way, closer to our destination.
We stop again later, this time for a flat tire. The bus gets a whole new wheel within minutes from one of the roadside shops, and we stretch our cramped legs.
The peasant woman sleeps peacefully throughout it all. Earlier she had her lunch, which she ate with her right hand out of a banana leaf. Once finished, she pulled out a plastic bag with a bit of water, opened it carefully, then reached both her hands out the window of the moving bus and washed them with a splash of the water. She then rolled herself a wad of betel nut, chewed it for a long time, spitting for a while the crimson juice in another bag. Contentedly she drifted to sleep.
After about eight hours of arduous driving, we arrive in Kutacane. We are among the last passengers to be dropped off. The driver is kind enough to go past the terminus, and deliver us to our next bus, in the middle of a busy market.
Our next bus is really a pickup truck outfitted with two parallel benches along its bed. There is a DIY roof over the entire bed, and a stadium-sized speaker between the benches, against the cab. The benches are filled with high school girls from a muslim school. It becomes apparent that this is the local school bus. We quickly negotiate a fee for both of us, and the driver motions towards the benches. They look full to me, but in an instant the girls squeeze together and two places appear on the left side bench. We wrestle our backpacks clumsily into the truck and wedge ourselves in. It’s a tight fit.
In one of the corners there is an older lady, she looks like she could be a teacher. She smiles indulgently throughout the trip.
I feel a bit out of place among this gaggle of girl with their covered hair, giggles, and furtive glances. The truck is full, it’s hot, and I’m hoping we’ll take off soon. Suddenly another four girls appear. Promptly everyone squeezes tighter, resulting in a net gain of one seat. The first new girl takes it, the other three plop down in the laps of those already seated. There is no awkwardness or hesitation, it’s just how it’s done. Finally the engine starts. As the truck lurches forward, about four guys who were hanging around hop onto the bumper and grab on to the roof. If this was a VW Beetle we would be record breakers. We drive less than five minutes down the road when a gaggle of boys flag down the truck, which stops. The engineering gears in my brain are working hard to figure out how we could accommodate more people. Before I can compute a solution they scramble like monkeys on top of the roof. I had not thought of that. Now we’re segregated. The chatty boys on top of the roof, the quiet girls and the two dusty tourists in the cab, the four older guys riding the bumper. Another stop and we pick up two more girls, they get to ride in someone’s lap. Then more boys go onto the roof. We ride for a while like this, then slowly, the kids start to drop off. They bang on the roof, the truck stops, they pay the driver with small bills, and we’re off again.
About an hour later we finally arrive at Ketambe, a small village of 350 or maybe 500 souls, depending on whom you ask. The school bus drops us off in front of the Friendship Guest House, our base for heading into the jungle. It feels good to climb out of the confining truck. It is quiet here, and the air is cleaner. We walk a few steps and Ahmed, the owner of the guesthouse greets us. Go to the river he says, after we drop off our luggage. My spirit soars. A river is about the only thing that can wash off the dust and grime of the road.
It feels like a blessing to be on the bank of this river. The houses of the village are neither close, nor far, and the few trails of smoke reassure us that dinner will be waiting. The water is swift over the large rocks that puncture its surface, and we’re shy to approach it. Luckily a gaggle of kids appear, and they show us how. They’ve come to the river to bathe, as they do every night.
The first sultan of Yogyakarta started his reign on a Thursday, in February of 1755. His honorific name was Ngarsadalem Sampeyandalem Hingkang Sinuhun Kangjeng Sultan Hamengkubuwono, Senopati Ing Ngalaga Ngabdurrahman Sayidin Panatagama Kalifatulah, Hingkang Jumeneng Kaping I, but was conveniently abreviated to Hamengkubuwono I.
Also conveniently, all subsequent sultans share this honorific with the appropriate numeral suffix, of course. As such, the current sultan is Hamengkubuwono X. He reports to the Indonesian president.
But let’s go back to Numero Uno. Hamengkubuwono I built himself a private underground mosque where he could raise praise of Allah several times a day far from the eyes of his subjects or the merciless rays of the equatorial sun.
He also built himself a water palace, a huge spa reachable through an underground flooded tunnel, by boat. The water palace is open to the people these days, the water from the tunnel long drained.
I walk the tunnel like the commoner I am and feel somehow cheated. The sultan stole form me the satisfaction of walking in his footsteps, simply because there are no footsteps; his feet floated by serenely in the safety of his no doubt gilded boat
The water palace has three pools, one for the sultan’s children, one for his wives, and a private one for the sultan himself. It has a tower from where the sultan could easily supervise the frolicking below. It has a sauna, and various other rooms providing logistical support to the sultan’s lifestyle.
Hamengkubuwono I had 40 wives. If you think that’s excessive, you are not alone. His subjects thought so too, and over the generations, the numbers dwindled. Hamengkubuwono II had only 10. The current sultan has one. That’s in line with the general mores and the laws of modern Indonesia. He does not have a private mosque either, he prays in the public one around the corner from his house. I hear he does have a pool, but I’m willing to bet it’s no water palace.
The sultan is of retirement age now, and in a predicament not uncommon for his cast. His wife gave him five daughters and no sons, so the next ruler will come from his younger brother’s family. In his dreams he may have visions of floating in a gilded boat to the water palace where forty fragrant wives splash about and braid each other’s hair. All swooning at the opportunity to give him a son.