I chose a photo of Donald Smith pounding in the Last Spike at Craigellachie, and cropped it to centre on Smith himself. There are a couple of reasons for this; first, it leads into a class activity of prediction and inference using the modified image; second, because there is so much information contained in the original, that the intended subject of the photo is partially subverted by the periphery. By reducing the extraneous elements, it allows the learner’s focus to be directed to the intended content. I also reduced the contrast of the background to soften the perception of the image so that increasing the brightness does not wash out detail for visually challenged users.
The software I used is www.pixlr.com, a very powerful but free online editing tool. It acts much in the way Adobe’s Photoshop does, allowing for layers and filters, but with no cost. It does have a learning curve, but once some familiarity is established, the range of applications far exceeds many of the online photo editors available. The workflow is moderately simple to those with some experience, and there are multiple tutorials available with a simple Google search to assist the novice user. I was able to crop, create insets, adjust contrast, blend, and exposure levels, enlarge, and edit the picture in a matter of seconds. The software uses its cookies to retain previous projects as well, so it acts as a sort of archive.
We are assigned to create a piece of supportive alt-text, and attach it to this blog post. If the cursor is hovered over the close-up of Mr. Smith above, a pop-up box will appear featuring additional information about the photo for the visually impaired. In the alt-text box should appear the words ,”In this 1895 black and white photo, Donald Alexander Smith, surrounded by onlooking workers, bends low to swing the sledge hammer onto a railway spike set in the tie. This spike signalled the completion of a coast-to-coast rail system in Canada.“