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How can I alter the requirements for the header dimensions so that I can take an uncropped image and fill the top section (centring the whole image) instead of having white space at the top? I would prefer to just be able to edit the CSS and not bother with child themes, as I don't think I will ever need to upgrade the theme.

Here is my site http://carolbadre.wordpress.com/

and here is the uncropped image: http://math.stanford.edu/~vakil/11-245/grr.png

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WordPress.com probably won't allow you to edit the html of your theme en.support.wordpress.com/themes/editing-themes - or check directly with en.forums.wordpress.com – Michael Apr 1 '12 at 10:55

Put that code (this is the output):

<a href="http://carolbadre.wordpress.com/">
<img width="1000" alt="" src="http://carolbadre.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/cropped-grr.jpg">

Which must look different in the backend inside a div...
Then you can css it and use height: auto..

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