chronicwnderlst

A place to indulge an affliction


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Design Assignment #2: Carmel Chameleon and Baboon

When I first heard the Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon,”  I thought the song title was “Carmel Chameleon. “ Because it contained my first name, I instantly liked the song. Later, when I realized the actual title, I still appreciated the song because I think chameleons are cool animals. So, when I saw the snaps I took of a chameleon in Zimbabwe (while doing a photo safari among my travel photos for the first design assignment), I knew I had to use that photo for my second design assignment submission: Paste Someone’s Head On An Animal Or Vice-Versa.

In November 2011, I was on a group tour in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and during a break, one of tourists in the group found a tiny, green chameleon. The chameleon was friendly enough to crawl up this person’s arm, so a few of us took photos of it. My favorite, albeit somewhat blurry, photo is the one of the chameleon getting up close and personal with the camera lens. When I rediscovered this photo, a chameleon “selfie” came to mind. I was also reminded  of the Culture Club song, so I decided to paste my own photo to create Carmel Chameleon.  I viewed the Compositing-How to Put Your Face on an Animal   to understand the steps involved. The one takeaway I had was that one had to work with high resolution image. Unfortunately, the chameleon photo was not, so I had to find a photo of me that was about the same resolution quality. I decided on one of me and a camel taken in Moroccan desert.  I had difficulty achieving the steps mentioned in the tutorial (e.g. creating a mask), so in the end, I used the Eraser tool as well as the Free Transform to paste my head onto the chameleon. Consider the composite photo an homage to my love of the camera.

Carmeleon

Carmeleon

Below are the original photos I used:

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After this, I was inspired to create another composite. In keeping with this blog post title, I used another of my photos to create a composite with a chacma baboon. Both photos were taken in South Africa’s Cape Peninsula in November 2011. The photo of my face is from a photo of me behind the Cape Point sign. Instead of using my full face, I only pasted my sunglasses and lips onto the baboon.  I wanted to create a happy demeanor in this baboon.  I used the same Photoshop tools as in the photo above: Lasso, Free Transform, and Earser tools. With Free Transform, I also flipped the photo orientation to match the direction the baboon’s head was directed. What do you think of this Carmel chameleon?

What are you all doing in the back of the van?

What are you all doing in the back of the van?

Below are the original photos I used:

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Keep reading if you want to know the story behind the additional baboon photos: I was with a group of tourists on a day tour through Cape Peninsula, South Africa in November 2011. On our way to Table Mountain National Park, we spotted a family of chacma baboons on the side of the road. There were other tour vans nearby that had stopped and a few intrepid tourists had left the confines of the vehicles to go near the baboons. Our tour leader, a sweet older lady with years of tour guide experience, told us it was fine for us to do the same. She pulled the van off the side of the road and we all disembarked, cameras in hand. All of a sudden, a few of the baboons broke off from the group and started approaching the tourists. Our tour leader urgently told us to return back to the van and we complied. I was the last one in and unbeknownst to me, was followed inside the van by a male baboon. As everyone, scrambled towards the back of the van away from the baboon, I snapped few photos (no flash!) as I inched slowly backwards. Meanwhile, Mr. Baboon ignored us and sat in the front seat (where I was sitting). He looked over at our tour leader (who had gotten in the driver’s seat, ready for us to leave after we were all in the van). Fortunately, Mr. Baboon chose to ignore her too, and she was able to leave the van without any incident. As Mr. Baboon was looking around the front part of the van, the rest of us who were huddled in the back managed to exit without any incident through the still open side door. After we had exited, a tour guide from another van came with a fire extinguisher and used it to shoo Mr. Baboon off the van. He exited eventually and we all climbed back into the vehicle. I then noticed that my red backpack, which was set on the floor in the front passenger seat, had been opened and a Ziploc bag of granola bars was sitting, unopened, in the center console. So ended Mr. Baboon’s food foraging attempts.

Roadside baboon warning

Roadside baboon warning

Action items in smaller type

Action items in smaller type

 I will tie this design assignment with the earlier Design Safari assignment. All over Table Mountain National Park were signs warning  tourists about the baboons. However,  the sign that urged  tourists to keep their vehicle doors locked and windows closed(above photo) was situated on the side of the road with notable typography. The typography is rendered ineffective by the text-heavy signage and smaller print of the action items; the sign is difficult to heed when one is driving by it up a curvy road. However, one can argue that the typography is effective in that if one were to only see and remember the bolded letters, it would read, “BABOONS WILD DO NOT FEED.”

Baboon warning sign at the base of the Cape Point Lighthouse (South Africa, Nov. 2011)

Baboon warning sign at the base of the Cape Point Lighthouse (South Africa, Nov. 2011)

Within the park itself are rather simple signs stating that baboons are attracted by food. Not really much of a warning; if the baboon incident had not happened before we got to the Cape Point Lighthouse, I would not have noticed these signs.

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Design Assignment #1: Photers (photos as letters)

T.R.A.V.E.L. B(L)OG. Get it?

T.R.A.V.E.L. B(L)OG. Get it?

For this design assignment I used two prompts from the DS106 Assignment Bank: Letters in Your Surroundings (with 3 star difficulty rating) and Pictures Into Words (with a 2-star difficulty rating).  Both prompts are similar, to use photos that look like letters to form words. I applied both tags to this post.

 A few years ago, I participated in a photo challenge in which we had to take photos that formed all the letters of the alphabet.  When I decided to complete this design assignment, I already knew the word/phrase I wanted. I also wanted for the photos to be representative of that word/phrase. So, I could not use all the photos I had from the alphabet photo challenge.

To complete this design assignment, I went on a safari in my digital photo album to find the appropriate photos.  Below is the a little “story” of each photo:

“TRAVEL”

Letter

Photo

Country

Date Photo Taken

T

Cristo Redentor (Status of Christ the Redeemer) in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

January 2014

R (lower case)

State flag

Lesotho

November 2012

A

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik

Iceland

May 2006

V

Opera House in Sydney

Australia

November 2010

E

Golden Week flags in Okinawa Prefecture

Japan

May 2013

L

Lighthouse and old boat in Guantanamo Bay

Cuba

July 2013

“BLOG”

Letter

Photo

Country

Date Photo Taken

n/a

Quincy Bog in Rumney, New Hampshire

USA

October 2012

L

Stade Olympique de Montreal

Canada

September 2007


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Beavers and Blossoms: A Design Safari

Cherry blossoms sunrise photo trek by the Tidal Basin (April 1, 2010)

Cherry blossoms sunrise photo trek by the Tidal Basin (April 1, 2010)

This is my favorite time of the year in the D.C. area and I took the opportunity during this morning’s sunrise photo trek at the Tidal Basin to also complete the design safari assignment. One of the first signs that interested me was this one, reminding visitors not to climb the trees or pick the blooms:Image

The first question that crossed my mind was, “What’s a beaver go to do with cherry blossoms/cherry trees?” I didn’t think the National Park Service (NPS) would randomly choose the beaver as a mascot, so as soon as I got to the office, I did a Google search. I soon learned that in the late 1990s, beavers killed several cherry trees at the Tidal Basin by gnawing on the trunks. I also learned about Paddles the Beaver, official mascot of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Despite this new information, I was still not impressed by the design of the sign. It fails in its attempt to use Symbols/Metaphor. A cute, cartoony beaver was not going to deter someone from picking the blooms or climbing the trees. And if one was not aware of the history of beavers at the Tidal Basin, the choice of animal would seem odd. I think the sign would be more effective if it showed a beaver gnawing on a cherry tree with a red diagonal slash across it and in text,“Don’t be a beaver. Do not destroy the Tidal Basin cherry trees by climbing them or picking the blooms.”

I made a mock up of this sign idea below, using ClipArt and a Google Image search for “beaver gnaw cherry tree.”:

A better sign for the Tidal Basin?

A better sign for the Tidal Basin?

During the photo trek, I saw another (beaver-less) sign requesting visitors to assist with preserving the cherry trees:

HELP US preserve these cherry trees

HELP US preserve these cherry trees

This sign employs great use of typography, exemplified by the capitalized “HELP US” text. That’s how I first noticed the sign. The bulleted details succintly convey the information. Unfortunately, the sign is posted low to the ground and not noticeable by visitors who are looking up and about admiring the cherry blossoms.

Placement of the "HELP US preserve these cherry blossoms" sign (April 10, 2014)

Placement of the “HELP US preserve these cherry blossoms” sign (April 10, 2014)

In any case, enjoy these cherry blossoms:

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