Same Scene Different Composition – Part 1

Today’s image is not a new scene, it is in fact the third time I have used this subject. It is the tower of the Manchester Unity Building.  I try each time I do an image that I took of the tower try something a little different.

Stretching UpI wanted to try some new things with it.  I never know what I will end up with when I start processing some images.  I knew with this one that I wanted to draw out the details a lot more.  I think I did that, but then on another level I may have overdone some of the blur.

I have called this post part 1 because I am going to work on this image more and you will see a lot more of it.  I think this is going to be my challenge.  I had planned on doing more on it today, but after 4 almost 5 hours my head was getting dizzy.  I think I like the possibilities of this image.  I look forward to doing more work on it.

Changes to the Reader

I don’t know how many of you look at the reader that is part of your WordPress Membership, it is something that you all should be looking at.  I look at the photos all the time.  It is a fantastic way to see what other people are doing and to get ideas for your own work.  The post I did the other day of the cups with the wrapping paper, that came from someone else’s image that I saw in the reader.

I believe it is like what they say if you want to be a writer, the more you read the better the writer you will be.  Well, the more images you look at, the better the photographer you will be.

WordPress in there infinite wisdom have decided to completely change the way the reader works.  Now I don’t mind some of the changes, but there is one change that is a little unsettling.  Nearly every image that appears on the reader is cropped.  The cropping is done with no concern for the image, and I’ve heard of portraits being cropped so that the heads were chopped off.

As you can imagine many people are upset about this, and as we are all image makers this should concern us all.  I am hoping that you will all let WordPress know that we aren’t happy about this.  You can go on the forums and join in on the discussions about it.  May be send an email to the support team.  Perhaps let everyone else know about it as well.

I spend a lot of time on my blog and especially on my images, the reader is a great way to advertise my work, afterall it is one of the main reasons many of us are with WP, the community, but if they are going to be butchering our images, is there any point using the reader.

Sorry, I know this is yet another rant, but this one really does affect us all.


  1. I was saddened when I saw my picture cut in half. It’s nice to have use of WordPress – but I got used to the old reader and miss it. Perhaps they’ll tweak it so the pictures are restored?

    I love your picture, as always! Blessings ~ Wendy

    • Someone has suggested on the forums that they are preparing for everyone having smart phones so it will be good for them. I don’t think that makes sense. This person suggested that WP think we will all be using our phones more than our computers. I can’t see it myself.

      • It’s an aging population these days… I won’t be able to see what I’m doing on a smart phone! ;) I suspect that I’m not the only one.

      • I have two teenage girls and they still prefer doing stuff on their laptops than their phones, the phones are too small. Great if you are out, but if you are home, why would you?

      • They messed with the Smart Phone Ap as well . . . the stat portion used to have a simple graph that showed usage. it would load in seconds.

        Now they show the same stuff as in the PC version . . . I’ve yet to have it fully load. It just sits there spinning.

        As for the photos, I’ve always had a beef with their rendering. Because it’s not just the cropping. It’s also their rendering engine when they downsample the photos.

        I usually create the specific size they need for the theme I use, but they still manage to make them look like crap.

        Oh well . . . it is free (mostly), and I do like it better than the other stuff out there.

      • I know the stats is crap on the phone, and other stuff just isn’t there, it is like it is half way between an app or a website and they can’t make up their minds. The notification icon comes up, click on it, and very very very rarely it actually shows you what you have, but I can’t read them because it is half on the screen and half off and nothing I do changes it, so basically useless.
        It is free, but I have forked out $130 for upgrades, and what is the point if the one thing that I rely on to show off my work and to entice others to my blog doesn’t work properly. It is going to be interesting, I have seen that some things are slowly coming back, so maybe they will stop cropping the images. Let’s hope.

  2. J Riley Johnson says

    Thanks for the informative post. I’m fairly new to WP and just getting my bearings. It’s a shame to find out that our images could be suffering by using one of their tools. Especially if it used to be good. Everything else has been first class.

  3. Join the forums – that’s a good idea – like joining a demonstration march. There are lots of little – unhappy – glitches with this latest revamp. Look forward to more on your image manipulation, but I’m off to the barricades … :)

  4. lensaddiction says

    Also not a fan of the new reader layout, and this insistence that everyone is going to be reading on tablets/phones is annoying :(

    • I can’t see that happening. I was just saying, my two teenage girls, both have smart phones and laptops, and the laptops get used for the internet. My internet allowance would last about two days if I used my smart phone for the internet. 200GB at home, or 1.5GB on the phone, I know which wins.

  5. I agree with you Leanne on the auto-cropping of the photos in the Reader by WP. In addition, they removed COMMENTS/NOTIFICATIONS in that “upgrade.” That said, quite a dynamic photo you posted. Well done!

    • First off, thanks on the image,still needs some work. I have noticed they have put back the intro words and how many likes a post gets, so maybe, they will stop the auto cropping as well, we can hope.

      • I love your header photo. Actually I love ALL your photos. Agree about the cropping issue. I’ve only been at this blog thing a week, but even a novice like me knows there is something not right about the way photos are presented. By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m following yours now. I’d love to follow others. If you should get a badge let me know and I’ll post it on my blog. In the meantime I will enjoy your photos. :)

    • I wish I could say they will, but my experience is they won’t. Though they did make a change quite a few months ago and everyone was talking about it on their blogs and it was changed back. They won’t change anything if only a few people say they hate it, it has to be an on mass thing. So the more of us who say we don’t like it the more likely they will be to change it.

  6. Really nice work with the image Leanne. Some people would probably say it’s worked to hard but I like it a lot. I like the fact that the building is leaning and it’s an important part of your composition, that’s something I need to learn from because the first thing I do instinctively is to “correct”. Did you ever consider to make the 3G tower a bit darker or even remove it completely? :-) It steals my attention right now.

    I am also lucky to have an interesting building nearby that I can do something interesting about, See my blog entry “The “house of cold baths” in Varberg in a fisheye perpective” . However it’s a tourist magnet and I guess most people around here have at least a bunch of pics with this building. But why not just do what You suggest, do something different with it. I think that’s the way to go! See You!

    // Michael

  7. Hi Leanne. Most things about WordPress are great but there are two major problems: they have a tendency to fix things which aren’t broke, as I had a go at in a post late last year – sounds to me that this applies to their ‘improvements’ to the reader; they are not very good at writing instructions. I find that these two things are major problems with most computer ‘buffs’, especially when they are involved in web page design. There is one exception to this in my opinion: when the guys at Apple ‘improve’ something it generally really is better, and they make using things very intuitive – when explanation is necessary they write them very well. This is why, I think, anyone who changes to a Mac will never go back to a Windows PC.

    • There instructions are crap, and trying to find help and trying to work out stuff is really bad, they need someone to come and just work on that for them. You should be able to find help without having to resort to the forums because you can’t find what you are looking for.
      It would be instant divorce here if I ever changed to Apple, my husband hates them and hates their business practice. He thinks they are over priced and boring.

  8. Look forward to MU Part 2 .. it’s such a great subject to ‘play’ with !
    Yes – the new reader is definitely rant-worthy …. cropping images .. and so much wasted space around it … the script is so small &when I enlarge it of course the number of posts I see at one time diminishes ..hmm just like my eyesight really ;-)
    Until you said I hadn’t realised the smartphone etc business … I for one still lug my laptop around alot !

    • I don’t think you are alone there poppytump, I can’t see smart phones taking over from laptops, they are too small, maybe tablets. Who knows.
      The MU is a great building to play with. Thanks

  9. Yes, the new reader is SUPER annoying, but then again – you always click to see the whole post and then you see it just fine. My first reaction when I uploaded a bunch of buts (that’s what it looked like in the reader) was however whf..why??

  10. Great photo tweak, love it. Enhancing photos can take eons, have fun. I did notice the new reader flaw hopefully that will get fixed soon.

    • Thank Marie, that is what I like to hear. I’m not totally happy with the image, but I really like where it is going. I really should do some more work on it again.

  11. Really like the texture of the blocks in the building–almost plasticized.

    It feels like something is different almost every day in WordPress, and for sure the developers constantly release stuff that either removes or breaks something that was working well as it was. Usually the stuff they break they soon fix, but the stuff removed is gone forever. If they were giving me a choice to upgrade to the next release, I would have said no every time. Considering all the users they jack around so frequently, it’s obvious that a) it must be “free,” and b) there must not be a great alternative, or c) it’s kind of hard for us users to pick up and move.

    On that topic of “free,” though, the purchase price of a thing is usually a small part of the total cost of owning it. Even the relatively large purchase price of Photoshop is quickly swamped by your investment in time to learn how to use it. I would happily give money to WordPress to not be jacked around so “freely.”

    Hey, maybe that’s the business model they are going for. :)

    • I would as well Paul. I have thought about self hosting, but then it would take me away from the community, so I have considered that they should allow people to be hosted by them, if that makes sense. Have the best of both worlds. I am considering self hosting, but having this blog as a lead to the new one, you know have a small tidbit here, then people click continue and are then taken to the new blog. Still need to think some more about it.

  12. Totally agree!….not sure why they made this change….and frankly I do not like it. It almost seems uneasy to use – and yes lots of wasted space. Hopefully they will change it back(?).

    • And my notifications are acting odd- when there is the star or other image I click on and it remains…the only way I can get it to go off is to do it in a round-about way – really odd.

  13. very impressive building…will watch for part 2 to see what you make of it… yes, I check out the reader daily and was very disappointed when the format was changed!!! as for my iPhone…I never use any of the apps unless I’m out and it is a must to look something up, even then if my son is around I get him to check…I’ve reached an age where my vision is not what it use to be… :)
    have a great weekend…

    • I am the same Heather, I only use my android when I am out. I couldn’t think of anything worse to be typing a blog post on it, it would drive me insane.

  14. saymber says

    I don’t like the new Reader either Leanne. Why do people keep frickin around with stuff that doesn’t need to be? They do it on Facebook and other stuff too! At least ask for feedback on proposed changes before implementing them! Don’t lose sight of who the customer is right?! Sheesh.

    • I don’t know either saymber, maybe to let us know that they are really the bosses. Communication is somewhere where they really suck too, they do it very badly. I suspect we aren’t the customer, I think the advertisers are and bugger us. They don’t seem to care about us at all.

  15. adrienclay36 says

    I couldn’t agree more. You know, I have so many issues and internal reservations about websites even coming close to touching my work. I’m now really upset because I don’t know what my photos look like on the reader when I post them.
    Great image, yet again!

    • I think they have tried to stop the cropping. I have noticed that none of mine have been, so hopefully it has stopped now, but it was annoying.

  16. I havent noticed this but I agree, I put lot of effort into my images and I rather not see them cropped in a way that is less appealing.

  17. Gorgeous image as usual, Leanne! The angle is great as are the tones. Re the reader — I’m used to bad cropping in thumbnails — so maybe I didn’t notice the change? I’ll take a look now and see. One down side to everything being networked is things keep changing and we aren’t asked how we like a change (usually before time. Quite often bad changes are reversed — hop e this one is too.

  18. I have only begun to use the Reader, but haven’t accessed in last several days! I’ll have to go take a look. Why is WP always making these changes and ticking off their membership? *scream*

  19. Your photo looks like is it out one of those PDS games (or whatever they are called) – very bold … the reader – haven’t thought about it, hardly use because when I’m on my netbook, I have problems with open blogs with loads of photos – really pain in the neck. When visiting yours now – 4 attempt and I have to open it through looking you up over google. When tried over worldpress the page just froze time after time, but it’s my netbook.

  20. “Well, the more images you look at, the better the photographer you will be.”

    Maybe the more excellent images you look at. ;)

    • No, I disagree, I think it is great to recognise the bad ones as well. If you can look at an image and say why it is bad, then you are learning. I can remember seeing images from some people a couple of years ago and thinking how good they were, but now I look at those same ones and think ho hum. It is good to look at all.

  21. I love this shot and am excited to see more of what you are playing with :) That’s so funny that you mentioned the “Reader” because I went on there today and realized that over HALF of the people I follow say “Never email blog notifications” WHAT?? I was so upset! Over half of these people I follow think I’m ignoring them because I never go to their site. I just always do everything on my email, and whatever is emailed to me I see. I feel awful, but it was easy to fit and now I’m going to get a lot more emails HAHAHA! Oh great :P

    • I know what you mean, it is so weird how things change. One day you do something and see how it works, and then the next day how it works can be completely different, it can so annoying.

  22. Diana says

    Like the image. I do all my blogging + reading by phone, and nothing seems to be different… so far. I can switch from mobile to full view pretty easily. But all that is definitely disturbing.

  23. Thanks for the comments on Reader…they do seem to be continuously tweaking things needlessly. Everyday something works differently. I hate their apps, I just go to the web on my phone and pad to access my site. And your photos are great!

  24. Another fantastic re-work. The mast on top of the MU tower, this is first time I noticed it. Still love that “angry” sky above the tower.


    I made a contribution to the ongoing thread regarding the format changes on the Reader/WP homepage, which you may have read. Whether the format changes are being driven by smartphone/tablet technology, that would be my best guess. It seems hardware development and applications are moving in that direction. But, I’ve seen a lot of format, UI changes since becoming a WP member back in 2006. This is clearly not their best work; the incremental rollout is haphazard. I’ve reduced my use of the Reader substantially. I’m probably missing out on some stuff but it’s a risk worth taking. Smartphone/tablet technology, not particularly fond of it. It makes sense if person that use it is always on the “go”.

    • The mast is the flagpole, I know some haven’t liked it, but I like the way it completes the triangle.

      They love to tinkle with WP, it can be so frustrating. I wish they would just leave it alone, or do the changes as upgrades, if you want the change you can, or you can stay with the same version.

  25. I am new to WP and to the reader so to be honest, I didn’t know the cropped images were some recent change that WP implemented. I can see how it can be unfair to those of us who try to expose certain aspects of our photos and then have the cropped images completely cut them off… I hope they take these suggestions under consideration. I am learning editing myself too, both in writing and photography. Sometimes I feel like with Photoshop, I am trying to learn how to swim while dropped somewhere in the middle of the ocean… ;)

    • WP apparently are listening to people, but generally they do what they want, people usually just get used to the changes and move on. Welcome to WP.
      I love Photoshop, I take photos just so I can use it and am constantly thinking about how I can change images with it. Good luck with it all. :)

  26. So glad you commented on this as I thought it was just my reader. I really don’t like the new format. Your photos are wonderful so it is a great concern if they are being cropped!

  27. I hope we can just freely view WordPress as a business, and ourselves as its customers. This doesn’t negate our appreciation of WP in any way – I think our appreciation is obvious . There’s always tension between service-based businesss and their customers, so WP will naturally continue to develop cost-cutting measures – which we increasingly discover only after the fact. It’s up to us to apply sustained pressure when they go too far: we’ll win some, we’ll lose some, pick our battles, and compromise in friendly good faith

    This issue you raise, Leanne, is a battle to pick. First, because we can win it, and secondly because it sets a limit. We’re not griping about dropped cell phone calls here. We’re talking about our work, and about defending its value, and there are enough WP professionals like yourself, launching careers, to establish our position now. Let’s go ahead and make it now, so we don’t lose ground.
    Just FYI to those who don’t know this: Free blogs contribute hugely to WordPress profit – but how can any serious blogger remain in the free category for long …unless his entire blog consists only of text… gee, anybody who can, please tell me if I’m missing something, because I’m always buying more image space!

  28. Ah, Leanne…you’ve made this version of MU look like a carefully manually-drafted, and hand-painted illustration! So much wonderful detail, and I don’t feel the ‘blur’ is overdone at all. It could be a book cover…”Murder and Mayhem in MU”, or something. You’ve given it such a mysterious feel, while enhancing all the detail/1 A long pitch, probably, but I’d say well-worth it! ‘Play’ more, be happy!

    • Thank you, I really like where it is going, but I really don’t think I am finished with it yet, I am really looking forward to seeing where I end up with it.

      • Oh, definitely keep going at it! Save each, of course, but keep pushing…it’s this kind of experimenting that leads us new places and teaches us different ways to look at things. It’s such a fine shot, in the first place, and a great pieces foe ‘Variations’!

      • I have to say I quite like the composition, a few people have said something about the mast on the top, but that is the flagpole and very much part of it, I wouldn’t like to lose it. I might have to do something to it though. I like the way it continues the pyramid.

  29. Yes, it’s a great shot – looking forward to seeing where you take it next! Re: the reader – they can’t stop fiddling can they? I remember the magazine format that pre-dated the reader (as do you) – that was the ideal, I think. I’ve stopped using the reader, because it’s pointless for me – I don’t want to have to “reveal” each image.

    • It only shows one image now Richard and will probably only reveal a little of it. I think the reader is very much like the one you said, but instead of them all being on one page it scrolls through them. I don’t mind it and I quite like it, but I think they need to stop cropping. At least now when you say what your featured image is, it actually means something now and that is the one that is displayed in the reader.

  30. petit4chocolatier says

    Love the picture of the tower of the Manchester Unity Building.

    Leanne, I believe you are correct, and the world is focusing on the smart phones as the future and websites are changing their scripting. We may see more changes.

  31. I always appreciate the time that you invest in your photography! Thank you for the heads up about the reader!

Comments are closed.