I didn't do a whole lot to these images - regular processing + attempts to further blur the background and a little black stroke around the edges.
They were all shot this evening while I was waiting for the moon to rise. The sun was setting and the light was a beautiful, soft golden color.
Thanks, Miss Mary. Beautiful colors on the Vetch and Cone Flowers. I like the subtle Fotosketcher treatment on the CFs! You are a master at subtle. Do you plant your Cone Flowers from seed or plants or do they come up voluntarily? I had some in the butterfly garden last year, but I can't seem to find any plants at the nursery this year.
Thanks. I'll check at Lowe's to see if they have any. I love Cone Flowers!
Here's where I was hoping that the moon would come up last night. Unfortunately, it didn't. I sort of knew it wouldn't based on the shadows created by the sun. The full or near full moon will come up in the general direction that those shadows are pointing. So, anyone that knows anything about astronomy will know I did some major fiddling with this image.
I copied the moon out of another image, enlarged it a bit and dropped it in this one on overlay blend mode. I took the original an hour or so before the moon even rose, so it was not sunset. I added a magenta filter and darkened it to make it look more like sunset. Then I ran an Orton effect which I removed from the moon totally and reduced to around 30% opacity for the rest of the image.
Patti, your moon "composition" is very clever ... and pretty, too!
Here's a triptych I came up with, based on photos of some window(s) in a house I walk by regularly ... the windows have only recently been revealed, and I suppose it's because the house is going on the market soon ... there's been quite a bit of new landscaping done, but not much to "pretty up" the house, so I'm guessing it's going to be sold for the lot only (they'll get a bundle, it's a nice corner lot!) ... in any event, I show the original photos, and then how I put them into a trio ... the manipulations will be fairly obvious ... what do you think?
Patti inspired me to fiddle some with my moon shots ... So I went wild with the sliders in Raw, adding vibrance and saturation, and then going to topaz, and in one case even that flood filter ... makes them a little more interesting ...
Oh, Jubilada, what a treat! Cool what you did with the windows. The image is so well balanced and perspective correction on center window is excellent. Love the moon fiddling! I like all of them, but the one on the water is fantastic. Colors are great. I like the posing on the duck merge. Lots of ways to interpret - on lookout, not on speaking (quacking) terms ... But, the image that grabbed my attention is the poppy. Wow. Beautiful flower and background. Marvelous work on that one!
Went out this morning tromping around at the city park in the dark looking for a morning vantage point to shoot the tower and moonset. Found a few spots, but the trees were still a pain. I'm just glad I didn't find any snakes. I was announcing my presence the whole way. "Go away snakes." If there was anyone else out there at that insane time of the morning, I'm sure they thought I was nuts. This photography gig can be hazardous to your health. ^_^
This ended up being my favorite shot even though it wasn't shot at the right time. I was waiting for the sun to come up a bit more so the exposure for the surrounding area and the moon would be the same. I did get some shots like that, but this one was a bit early, so moon is blown out, but I like it anyway.
I did some serious messing with this image.
First of all, I shot almost everything I shot this morning as 5 burst exposure bracketing for processing as HDR. So, for the final image, I processed 4 of the 5 photos in Photomatix and used the most normal looking rendition even though some of those wild and crazy ones were calling me. I put the result from Photomatix in ACR and started tweaking all the sliders and added a couple of gradients to brighten up the bottom and darken the top.
Then, I did a bit of a crop and started removing branches I didn't like, removed the lens flare, added some branches to the left side to balance it out, removed some star streaks, and probably did a few other things I forgot about.
Then, I just picked one of the 5 images and processed it normally (using Auto in ACR) for comparison.
Thanks, Jubilada! I processed a few more from this morning. No HDRs. Just picked the best of the 5 and went from there.
1. Way before sunrise. Beautiful colors in the sky at twilight. Moon too high and blows out.
2. Still way early, but got the moon anyway.
3. Finally light is right, but moon is still too high to get a close-up with the tower. I waited a bit more, but it was too light and moon was washed out. Another plan foiled by Mother Nature. I needed to be closer to the tower, but it was a bit wet out there. One of these days I'll get enough experience under my belt and I will have Ma Nature figured out.
4. Silliness - The mocker is not only the lookout. He is also the enforcer. I parked there briefly so I could check for a vantage point and he raised cain. Must have a nest in one of the trees near the sign.
Patti and Jubilada -- Moon shots are great! I love what you've done with them. Jubilada's #2 and Patti's #3 in the last set are my personal favorites. Patti, that Mockingbird means business! Law Enforcement Agencies could really benefit from more of the likes of him!
Jubilada, your double-ducks are really well-blended. I like that. And you know you captured my heart with that backlit Poppy! It is superb!
It rained really well here last night and this morning. I'd like to take credit for composing this shot of my Asiatic Lily with raindrops on it, but it was a total surprise to me to find I had caught a drop with a reflection of a clearing sky in it.
My Magnolia popped out a blossom low enough for me to see, photograph AND smell. I Fotosketched it, bringing out a few points like drops and the thingies inside it with more precision and using a larger brush with less detail for the things in the background. I then Topazzed (Detail > Feature Enhancement) the flower only.
Love the color of that Asiatic Lily! And the reflection is such a bonus. Very cool. The Magnolia image is so nicely composed. I really like that you can see part of the tree, some leaves and that the flower is in just the right spot compositionally. It is also just right as far as exposure. It is so hard to keep all the detail in white subjects when the background is dark. Great job!
Gee, those Poppies are wonderful. They look like tie-dyed t-shirts and you have captured the essence of their free-spiritedness in your photo editing and presentation of them.
My Magnolia flower opened up more today, so I got this close-up shot. The bee fly seems to be hesitantly approaching the cone. Guess I'll call this one, "I'd like to see the most wonderful and powerful OZ, s-s-sir..."
Jubilada, I love the color and pattern on those poppies. Miss Mary's "tie-dyed t-shirt" comparison fits so well. The triptych shows them off nicely, with all of the different views. I really like the way you handled the background on the second image.
Miss Mary, That Magnolia image is marvelous! Technically, it is perfect - lighting, exposure, composition, colors, sharpness, detail, depth ... everything. And your framing adds to the composition without drawing interest away. That is a "print it and hang on the wall" photo!
Went out early this morning and took a few photos of the garden.
1. The garden after bending a few pixels. Oil Paint with Cassini border.
2. Baby Green Beans! More Oil Paint pixel bending.
3. Who Knows What Kind of Pepper - thought it was a Habanero, but it is too big. They are only supposed to be 2.5 inches. Dang Houston Garden always gets the tags mixed up. One of my tomato plants was supposed to be a Roma, but all I got was two cherry and the Early Girl.
4. This cherry tomato plant is producing like crazy. There are at least 10 bunches like this and more flowers. I hope the plant can survive all that.
5. A zoom blur (in photoshop, not in camera) of the Early Girl tomato.
Oh, Miss Mary, shades of Imogen Cunningham ... your magnolia is magnificent!
Patti, love to see your little garden growing ... those baby beans are so cute! (Too early for me to plant mine ... but, soon.) Love that zoomed water-dropped little tomato! And, I thought to myself, when you posted an earlier picture of that pepper, "that sure doesn't look like the Habaneros I grew." Looks like it might be a Poblano/Pasilla ... they're medium hot ... nothing like those Habaneros (oh, the tears!) ...
The next assignment for this class I'm taking is to do a photo collage/montage in the style of David Hockney ... a daunting task ... so I started experimenting today ... my first attempt, my house (9 images); second attempt, Gamble Gardens (15 images) ... I have a ways to go ... I'm supposed to use at least 36 images in my completed project (whew!) ... will me out of trouble for a while, I suppose ...
Jubilada, I think you are right. That pepper looks more like a Poblano to me. And I love Poblano peppers, so that would be a good thing. Can't wait to see what the other three are. I know one of them is a bell pepper, but the other three don't have peppers yet. Maybe the Poblano was the mystery plant I bought and I'm the doofus that got the tags mixed up? I bought two bells, one jalapeno, one habanero and one that didn't have a tag at the nursery.
Very cool project and your experiments are fantastic! I tried something similar after attending a Ben Willmore seminar. He did a panoramic image where he just moved the camera around willy nilly and snapped a bunch of photos. Then he stitched them in photoshop leaving the "Blend Images" box unchecked.He put a little frame around each image to make it stand out in the final stitched pano image. His result was very cool and reminds me of some of the David Hockney images that I googled.
Your class really has some challenging assignments. Is it done by an individual instructor or one of the larger training groups like Kelby? I was just wondering if there is anything like it in my area.
My class is at the Palo Alto Adult school ... the instructor usually does a "fundamentals" class, which I took two years ago ... this is the first time in four years she's done the "beyond fundamentals" class (the school district has myriad budgetary concerns, and therefore is wary of offering such classes very often) ... this time we all lucked out, because there are only six of us in the class ... the teacher is thrilled, and we get to do lots of fun stuff ... with plenty of individual attention ...
Here are a few things I've done lately (today, actually) ... a walk to the bank ...
A chair: manipulation included skewing to straighten the one side of the door, and then some topaz filters
A collage or three images, the first image has been cropped and straightened, the other two are as shot ... I did add a topaz filter overall
Then there is that window ... whew, I can't get away from it ... another view ...
Jubilada, Love the first image. Lines are fantastic. Nice, subtle colors. Beautiful balance. This is art! Also really like the middle image in the collage. Fantastic pattern capture. You know, in case they do tear that place down, you really need to call dibs on that window. Now!
Thanks, Patti! You know, you may be right about that window ... I'm keeping an eye on things. You can tell that it's very old glass by its ripple (probably the 1920s or even earlier) ...
Here's a trilogy of a few of my tomato plants, which I put in last week ... took these photos on Monday, and sadly, by Tuesday afternoon something terrible had happened to the Great White ... don't know if it's going to pull through or not ... and not a clue as to what happened! The Indigo Rose tomato is a new one for me this year ... supposed to be blue tomatoes! We'll see!
Oh, no! That Great White kept us entertained last season! They were huge! I sure hope it pulls through. Can't wait to see the blue ones. Cool!
That bee likes those poppies as much as I do. They are so gorgeous! Cool triptych.
I got a few decent shots this morning. I was mostly shooting just for ID purposes so I could expand my 2012 bird list. I got these at the rookery on High Island (across the ferry from Galveston).
The Great Egret babies in the first photo have been fed and are napping. Mom has a chance to preen her feathers. While she is a bit ragged looking, she still has some of the beautiful breeding plumes. The youngsters in photos 2, 3 and 4 have not been fed. They are hungry little, prehistoric-looking guys and are giving poor Mom fits. Dad needs to come through with some chow.
The last shot is one of those goofy looking Roseate Spoonbills. The color is stunning, but the bill just makes me laugh.
Other than framing each one, I removed an egret in the background of the first image and darkened that spoonbill in the background of 2, 3 and 4. In 5, I removed a stick that was coming in from the lower right side of the image and extended partially onto the bird.
Patti, that's a wonderful series of photographs! That first one is simply exquisite! The hungry baby trilogy is just precious ... and if you hadn't said anything about darkening the spoonbill, I'd never have noticed it was even there! I had to go back and look! The Roseate Spoonbill shot is also really good! Lovely, all of them! And, to my eye, flawless editing!
Thanks, Jubilada! I just keep looking at your poppy collage. Flowers are so, so pretty and the whole creation fits together so nicely. I stared and stared at the framing trying to figure out how you did that and then I realized that the lighter green is just a continuation of the darker. Very cool how you did that transition. I don't know how, but very cool!
Well, I don't know if this illustration will help or not, but this is how I did it ... I made a new layer just above the background layer and filled it with a color (a green I'd come up with from something else), then I changed it to a the blending mode "screen." The layer directly above, which was a background copy, had been trimmed with the Redfield Plasteroid Framing filter ... does that make sense? Hope so ...
Wheeee. I like this one! Fantastic depth with the cutout and the slight blur in the background. I don't know. Those innocent flowers have been transformed into evil monsters with hard shell heads, viper eyes and antennae. They are all gathered around in a circle deciding who the next victim will be. ^_^ See, I told you I watched too much sci fi as a kid.
I went out to Brazos Bend State Park this morning and spent my time on the prarie - no birds, just flowers and crawly critters.
1. Just an example of some of the crawly critters and the Turk's Cap flower. I don't know what those cats are going to be when they grow up, but I'm looking. EDIT: I think the upper right is a Gulf Fritillary and the lower right is a Variegated Fritillary.
2. A Dayflower
3. This critter doesn't crawl too much anymore ... We collected these when I was a kid.
Patti, I love the Asiatic Dayflower! I have a bunch of them that pop up in the flower beds each year. I yank and yank and they just keep coming back. Actually, I leave a few because I think they're so lovely...one of the few truly blue flowers! That is the best shot I've ever seen of one of them!
When I was a kid, my friends and I scoured the neighborhood, seeing who could collect the most "locust shells"!
A little statue at Dixon Gardens, Fotosketched.
A patio umbrella with raindrops, kaleidoed with PSP and further manipulated in PSE9.
A chipmunk at Dixon Gardens, Fotosketched.
Miss Mary, That umbrella made for a great kaleido subject - so bright and colorful. Statue is cute and chipmunk is adorable. Good catch! The little guy has to climb up on the tree to see where he's going in all that foliage.
In the backyard this morning tending to the garden when all of the drops of water on the plum tree distracted me. I picked a couple of flowers and placed them strategically in the plum tree behind the drops so that I could get a flower refracted in a drop.Took forever to get something. I had to shoot it in HDR because to get the drop without bright blinkies, I had ot shoot it 3 stops underexposed. So, I blended it all in Photomatix, hence the surreal look.The red in the background is my neighbor's house. ^_^ Makes a good backdrop. Hope they never paint it a boring color.
Then I found this snail. Put him in my bird bath and took a few shots. Had to remove a lot of white spots on the bird bath - dust or dirt I guess. Removed a leaf from the snail's shell.
Now that's really fantastic, Patti. Lovely droplet and great refraction! It's simply magic! I needed you and your camera today at Lichterman Nature Center. A Great Blue Heron and its chicks were posing in the nest high above the lake. This was processed with PicMonkey, using an HDR-ish effect, texture and framing.
MIss Mary, Thanks. It is so hard to do those refraction shots outside. I need to try to set it up inside where I have control of the distances, light and wind, etc. I spent forever just finding a place I could prop the flower in the tree the right distance from a drop.
Wow! I can sure understand wanting more reach when shooting birds, but you did a great job with your camera!! That is just beautiful. The heron is so sharp - crystal clear with plenty of detail. I love the processing. Sure makes me wish I was there. What a great opportunity.
Patti, enjoyed your "critters," and is that a dead potato bug? Your water droplet is stunning. Wonderful colors! Love the composition, too! Of course, the snail is darling!
Miss Mary, that's a very clever umbrella kaleido ... and your heron mama in her nest is just wonderful!
From me today, another kaleido (lots of weird creatures you guys will find, I'm sure ... it just looks like lace to me ...) and a Lily with some modifications (radial blur, etc.).
My Great White is indeed deceased, and I'm very sad about that. Tomorrow I go to SF for the Bay to Breakers on Sunday. We'll be eating dinner at Boulevard Restaurant, which won the 2012 James Beard award for most outstanding restaurant in the US ... I'm very excited about that! ... So, win some, lose some ...
So sad - No more Hope for the Great White. Sorry, that was lame. I really need a devil smiley on DG. Sometimes I'm just bad.
If it wouldn't be inappropriate, please take some photos of the restaurant and dinner so we can at least drool after the fact. Sounds awesome.
That shell is from a cicada nymph. The adult cidada emerges and leaves the shell behind. Most people I know (including me) always call them locusts, but they are really cicadas. You can see the top is ripped open where the adult squeezed out. There are YouTube videos of the emergence. Cool to see.
Yep, there are critters in that beautiful kaleido all right. Took me a while to see them though because it is so pretty, I wanted to just enjoy the colors and patterns. Well, I see a circle of a bunch of cute little purple-faced aliens in their white choir robes singing alien spirituals.
That lily image is wonderful! The lily itself is beautiful and the way you composed the photograph is perfect. The treatment makes it art. Love it!
Hah hah! Pun Purgatory! Isn't that right next door to the Alliteration Abbadon? I think so...
First, the making of these drops (cell phone camera). You can see that I got the idea of putting a "throw down" leaf behind the flower to block that glaring morning sun. Shot two is without the leaf and shot four is with it. Turns out that with the crops, it didn't really matter. I just used negative Exposure Compensation to deal with the bright spots in the drop on these shots. No HDR.
Thanks, Miss Mary! The flower is one of the cosmos. Last year they grew almost three feet tall and bloomed like crazy. I planted some new ones this year, but everything in my butterfly garden is stunted and not blooming much. I don't know what's going on. Maybe we just haven't had enough really hot weather. If that's the case, then I like little stunted cosmos plants.
1. There was a little beetle on my Salvia and I was able to get a fairly good shot of it looking right at me. Here's a kaleido I made of that shot.
3. Blushing Bride Hydrangea, Fotosketched
4. Hydrangea (Jubilada, I guess we'll have to come up with a combination of our names and call our heretofore unnamed Hydrangeas that.)
Had dinner at Boulevard the evening before the Bay to Breakers 12K foot race (I walked) ... I'm afraid I didn't even think to take pictures until it was time for dessert ... but here you go! The food was superb, and we all agreed that it was a stellar dining experience ... however, we also agreed that (how can it be possible?), One Market is better! Remember that folks, for the next time you're in San Francisco!
I went to the Embarcadero on Saturday afternoon in hopes of getting material to complete my final assignment for my class (a "joiner" image ala David Hockney) ... these two are what I came up with. I'm not particularly satisfied with my final results, I was hoping for better, but it's not that easy to accomplish ... I know I'm going to have to do much more experimentation ...
The first is a view of one of my favorite things on the Embarcadero: Cupid's Arrow (sadly they had a stupid crane parked there)
The second, the Bay Bridge ... and this was a real devil, I could not get it right ...
And after my fiasco foto futzing at the ferry building, I hurried over to Civic Center to catch a glimpse of the "breathing" lotus which is installed in front of City Hall (part of some special showing at the Asian Museum--check this link for more information if you're interested):
There was some kind of big street fair going on with all kinds of people and tents and bands, etc., so I couldn't get the shots I was hoping for. This one is about it. Then it was time to think about dinner, and that was that!
I skewed it to straighten City Hall, and realized that in doing so, I'd skewed the base of the lotus. Phooey!
Miss Mary, No question about critters in those kaleidos! ^_^ The first one reminds me of those fancy hubcaps kids are getting for their cars. Love the color gradient on the last one with the cool swirling vortex.
Jubilada! Those desserts are killing me. I will not eat dessert today. I will not eat dessert today. Okay, about 3000 more times and I might make it. Seriously, beautiful images and presentation!
So cool to see your progress on the assignment. I think your joiner images are fantastic! You are right. It is not easy to do. I tried it way back when I went to that Kelby Photoshop seminar that Ben Willmore taught. I only kept one of the ones I did and only kept that one to remind me that I never figured it out. And, I think you have another level of difficulty because if I'm interpreting many of the D. Hockney images correctly, they are evenly lined up "boxes" in nice straight rows and columns. Right? Darn near impossible, I would think. Even with a very good tripod. But, your Cupid's Arrow image sure comes close! At least in the Willmore technique that he calls, "The Panollage" (trademarked name), the images are shot at a bunch of different angles - just a bunch of grab shots that cover the intended subject.
On the Willmore technique, he uses Tools>Photoshop>Photomerge with layout on Cylindrical (which didn't work for me) and turns off the "Blend Images Together" box. Then, when it is done, he adds a bit of a drop shadow to all of the layers which adds a little more definition between each image in the collage. I tried the collage layout without much success either. Maybe CS6 will work better than CS4 which I had at the time.
I look forward to seeing your next experiments.
Glad you got a shot of the Lotus display. It is intriguing. I'm off to read more about it in the link ...
Patti, thanks for that info on the "panollage" and Ben Willmore technique ... I'm going to check it out! Until the class discussion last night, I never realized there was a collage thing in PhotoShop. I'm going to have to see about that, too.
In the meantime ... "Life is just ... " (A father cherry speaking to his little boy cherry: "Remember, son, life is just a bowl of cherries." That's a joke.
A friend gave me these cherries, they're from her tree. They're a beautiful color, and they look so pretty in this bowl. This is fotosketched and framed. These cherries are neither sweet nor tart, but somewhere in between. Lovely!
Yummy. The cherries look delicious! And I thought life was a box of chocolates. Chocolate covered cherries! Now, that's life and livin' it large.
Yes, if you select your raw photos (or jpegs or whatever you have) in Bridge and then go to Tools > Photoshop > Photomerge, check the collage box and uncheck the Blend box, it will line up your photos as long as there is a little overlap so it knows where they go.
I've been playing around this morning and totally ignoring my chores.
First is one of those Gavin Hoey triptychs of my sister's roses. She finally has her flowers and trees replanted and doing well since Hurricane Ike destroyed everything.
Second is a Painted Bunting that has been hit with Fievel's Gothic Glow action for some drama. I masked out most of the effect from the bird and then just added a gradient frame using the birds red, green and blue colors and a little texture.
Patti, I like your silliness! The OOB is so cute. I agree with Jubi about the punctuation and that's an easy fix. I was picturing that hawk thrusting its foot out of those "bounds" after one of those closely passing snacks -- it would be as easy as (it's late and I'm getting silly) right-clicking a mouse...
Tried it out with different color text and different textured surfaces. My favorite was light colored text and very deeply textured surfaces. I added some layer styles (Bevel & Emboss, Inner Shadow and Drop Shadow) to enhance. I think this technique will work well for title slides for slideshows or for videos. I did a couple for a possible Big Bend slide show using a textured wall that I photographed while at Big Bend. I will try to remember to take texture shots everywhere I go. They will come in handy for the slideshow.
I fixed the punctuation on the Hawk image and changed the mice around a bit. I think I liked the mouse density on the first one, but I like the poses on the second one.
"Woo Hoo!" indeed. I like those mice down front sitting up and taking notice. I think those two on the right, just along the photo border, might be getting ready to start nibbling away at it. 'Twould be a pity for them to chew up that picture. I guess they would get too far in before Mr. Harris would return the favor, though...
Great work on the lettering. I'm always looking for new textures to add to things. Though there are lots of them to be had freely, I'm leery of downloading things from websites I don't know. PSE has just a few and I'm tired of them. How do you use your photos for textures?
Nice examples of type displacement maps, Patti! I like your edit on the Hawk picture, too ... those are cute poses on two of those little guys!
I finally put together a collage of some of my Bay to Breakers pictures ... after the serious racers are safely out of the way, it's just a big old silly costume parade for the most part ... I may even dress up for next year. Of course, walking those 7-1/2 miles seems to be sufficient challenge for my old self.
Also, three shots of the inside of the Beach Chalet out on the Great Highway, near where the race ends. It was built in the 30s and is a prime example of what the WPA accomplished. Truly a treasure and a gem, and I'm glad that the City of SF decided it was worth restoring and saving (it was basically an abandoned building for quite some years). It now houses a couple of restaurants, a gift shop, and, more importantly on race day, well-maintained public restrooms.
HelloMissMary wrote: How do you use your photos for textures?
I take photos that fill the frame of things like brick walls, pebbles, wood siding, tree bark, whatever looks interesting. I even took photos of stacks of colorful material and colorful leather belts when I was in Italy. Most of them never get used, but I have gone back and used quite a few. I either use them for title slides for slide shows or just to add texture to a photo of a flower, for example. I just copy and paste the texture photo on another photo and in Photoshop it will show up as a new layer. Then I change the blend mode of that texture layer, and sometimes add a mask and mask out some of it. I also use them as background for images.
Jubilada, What a treat to see all of the Bay to Breakers photos! I can't help thinking that it must have been sweltering in those alligator suits. Hopefully it wasn't too warm out. Couldn't have been too cool either, judging from the "nekkid" people. Eeeek! Please tell me that they were wearing costumes. Who took the shot with the mounted police? Cool shots of the restored building!
Patti, that really did answer the question...very well! But I have more (natch!). Do you leave the texture layer in its original color or convert to B/W, Sepia or something like that? And -- well, it's confession time, I guess -- though I've been on this thread for several years, I've never gotten into masking. There. I've come clean. How do you do it?
Jubilada, I'm absolutely in love with that third photo. What a beautiful wall mural that would make -- I'd just sit and stare at it for hours! And the angles you captured in the next one are perfect to frame the faces! That's a brilliant shot.
Patti, it was about 65 degrees at the warmest part of the day on that Sunday ... very pleasant! Those crocodile clad folks were actually just costumed spectators on the top of the Hayes Street Hill (an eight-block hill that's bounded on either side by various spectator parties, everyone in costume!) Unclothed people are a part of the Bay to Breakers experience ... and there are LOTS of them ... even though most of them really should not be seen without their clothes (ugh!) ... my friend took the picture of me and the mounted cops (on my camera, I set it up ... sadly, she cut off one of the horse's heads ... oh, well ...) ...
Miss Mary, please google "masking in photoshop elements" ... there are countless tutorials online, and it is truly a worthwhile manipulative technique to learn! Boy, will you have some fun with it!I
Here is an unmanipulated shot of a couple of SF's finest on their steeds of choice ... I just thought it was pretty cool ...
Miss Mary, Sometimes I leave in the original color and sometimes I convert to something else. Sometimes I blur it and sometimes I swirl or streak it. I do all sorts of stuff. It just depends on what I'm using it for.
You don't do masks! How do you do such incredible work and not use masks?
I will try to show you what I do, but I suggest you find a tutorial for PSE or whatever you will be using and follow that. That's what I did. I watched four or five and finally one of them clicked for me. It takes a while to get the concept, but once you get it, you will be using masks all the time.
The whole idea is that when you have multiple layers stacked one on top of another, you can add a mask to one (or more) of the layers and if you add black or white to the mask, you can control what shows through below.
What you actually do is add a mask to a layer by using the little icon or the menu. Then you click on the mask to make it active and you pick a brush and use either white or black to paint on the actual photo. When you paint on the photo, it will not show up on the photo - only on the mask. You really have to see this in a tutorial...
So, if you look at the screenshots I have below, you will see that in the first screenshot, I have several layers on the open image, but I only have the bottom layer visible (the only one with an eyeball on the left of the layer.) The others are turned off for now. You can see that my base layer is just a texture image. I just started with a blank layer and added texture to it using the Fill with Pattern feature of Photoshop.
In Screenshot 2, I have the bottom two layers turned on, but I have disabled my mask on that layer so you can see what it looks like without the mask. I also have the layer turned down in opacity so the texture will show through. (Daughter of one of my nephews) I just copied the photo of the B&G and pasted it on top of my texture layer.
In Screenshot 3, I enabled the mask so you can see what it did. The dark area that you can see on the mask is what is causing some of the bride/groom photo to be faint and allowing more of the texture to show through. If I had painted in black instead of gray, all of the B&G photo would be gone where there was black and only texture would show through. You paint in varying shades of black/gray by changing the opacity of your brush.
In Screenshot 4, I turned on the text layer.
In screenshot 5, I turned on the last layer so you can see the final image. The last layer is at a very low opacity and is just a copy of a previous layer to make the B&G image a bit more visible. No masks.
Whew, if you follow all that mumbo jumbo, you are not nearly as tired as I am. Watch some videos! ^_^
Went to Lake DoLittle (that's what we call our property up in Willis) on Friday and Saturday to mow and catch up on a few other chores. The Swallowtails were flying all over the place. They love the Buttonbush flowers and almost all of the Buttonbush is in bloom, so the butterflies are happy. I had to take a few minutes off from chores and get a few photos. I didn't have time to get one at a good angle, but this will have to do until I can go up just for photography.
Another mask example.Oil paint on everything but the butterfly.
I made a copy of the background layer and made sure the copy was the active layer and was on top. I ran the oil paint filter on that top background copy layer. I added a mask to that top layer and painted with a soft black brush at 100% opacity over the butterfly, so the oil painting was hidden and the original butterfly would show through. Flattened and saved.
Also snapped a 5 shot burst of this downed Southern Red Cedar tree. That's one of Randy's favorite trees. Until now, the beavers didn't bother them. We need to go put screening around the bottom of all of them. The one right next to this one is probably almost 100 years old. It's huge. If they get it, well, shame on us for not protecting it.
These trees are really Junipers and not Cedars - misnomer, I guess. They grow slowly and their wood is valuable for cedar chests and lots of other uses. We just like them because the birds love the berries.
Patti, I can't thank you enough for the help with masks. I will start watching some tutorials, as you and Jubilada have suggested. I don't know why, but I've always shied away from the topic. Time to put my doggone misguided notions to rest!
The butterfly is simply gorgeous and so is the effect. I love Tigers!
Bouquet of Sunflowers at the Farmers Market, Fotosketcher and PSE9. First, I painted the whole photo with Expressive Brushstrokes, using a large brush with low detail and precision. Then, I chose a small manual brush with high detail and precision to enhance parts of the centers.
Heehee! I'd share my red-faced smiley with you if I could find one that would work on DG. You are not the only one that gets to goof up from time to time. And, yep, that last one really shows the technique up close. Those flowers are so pretty and your subtle painting really enhances the image. I need to play with Expressive Brushstrokes again. I just never could get the hang of it. Are you using your own brushes or the ones that come with Fotosketcher?
I'm using what's built in to FS. I choose whatever effect with whatever settings and paint the whole thing. Then I go back, re-set the settings (another effect, original blendback, texture or whatever) to a really small brush with high precision and detail. Then, I click "Manual Brush". The brush that comes up can be adjusted in size and opacity. I haven't done too much experimentation with it but am enjoying having the options anyway.
Beautiful wildflowers! That patch would keep me busy with a macro lens for hours.
Big, big thanks for the Fotosketcher lesson! I never used the manual brush or if I did, I didn't have any concept of what it could do. I really didn't even know you could use a brush on anything but the Expressive Brushstrokes filter. Duh. I feel like a kid with a brand new toy.
I played with three images this morning and I'm off to play with more.
The first one I did is of the poppy I posted before. I ran the oil paint filter with a few tweaks to the sliders on only the background. It was so easy to paint. I liked the results, but I thought it was a bit too much, so I changed the sliders to a less intense effect and painted over with that. Now I just need to learn to be more subtle with it, but that will come with time I think. Or maybe not. I like intense.
Next attempt was with the Sleepy Orange butterflies. I only painted on the background and tried to be a bit more subtle. And, while I was at it, I sharpened that back butterfly a bit.
Next one was the sunflowers that I had framed. I love what it did on the frame. I painted over the whole photo on a less intense setting, but I didn't like what it did to the center of the flower or the petals. So, I stuck the final image in Photoshop, copied and pasted it on the one I started with and using a mask, I painted about 60% of the effect away from everything but the frame and then I painted 80% away from the petals and 100% away from the center. So, I still can't get away from layers and masks.
Those a so nice, Patti! I noticed the sharpness on the butterfly right away, before I read that you had enhanced it. The Poppy is so sweet!
For both of my wildflower images, I used only Expressive Brushstrokes, both for the initial paint-over with the large, non-precise brush. With the small, maxed-out-detail & precision brush, I went over the flowers...but not the whole flower. Indiscriminately (almost), I chose petal-tips and -edges or flower centers. Sliding the manual brush size to a very small setting, I did almost a hit-or-miss touch up on those. I left the foliage alone.
I'm learning...and I'm enjoying playing with it even when the results aren't so great!
Out of curiosity, how big was the Poppy image when you started? I love the fineness of the effect and I suspect it was quite large.
Wow. I have not been paying nearly as much attention to detail. Now I have even more to think about. The size of the poppy image was not all that big. I just used a 500 x 750 pixel at 72 dpi jpeg image to start. I usually use small images for FS because it takes forever if I use a high resolution (2000 pixels on long side at 300 dpi for example) images. Maybe I need more memory or a faster processor. My computer is getting old. Or, maybe I just need more patience.
Oh, my, oh ,my ... you guys are having fun. What a pretty bunch of stuff, I must say!
Miss Mary, going back to that sunflower shot ... that is really wonderful! I just love it!
Patti, your fotosketched poppy and sunflower triptychs are really swell ... and lovely sleepy butterflies! (no sleepy butterflies around here!)
I played some with fotosketcher on one of my Shirley poppies ... first I used the expressive brushstrokes, added a few manual brush strokes, then did an intense watercolor, and a few more manual brushstrokes and finally a frame ...
Then, just in Photoshop, first bouquet of sweetpeas ...
And, Nasturtiums and Pansies on the front porch ... much masking, layers, oil paint filter, etc., ad nauseum ...
What a cool treatment on that already eye-popping Poppy, Jubilada! Those are all gorgeous and the Pansy/Nasturtium shot looks like something straight out of a gardening mag!
Well, I had an interesting experience with Fotosketcher. While right at the end of working on #1 below, a message popped up that said there wasn't enough storage to finish. Huh? What's that all about? Well, I closed everything I had running and still got that message. It wasn't my computer. It was Fotosketcher. Unfortunately, I was using the manual brush, which meant that I had hot pink (the default on-screen color of the brush for visibility) spots on the worst possible part of the image -- the placque. I fiddled and twiddled but was stuck in Fotosketcher Purgatory.
In a last-ditch attempt not to lose all my work (and it was a lot of work!) on this photo, I chose to copy it to the clipboard. PSE won't let me past a new image from the clipboard but PSP will, so I tried it and ~boom~ it worked...hot pink spots and all. Then, I started working on the spots and successfully got rid of them. Whew!
1. This was taken at the Cancer Survivor's Park. Though some of the letters on the placque are covered by foliage, I think you will know what most of it says. The last word is "cured."
2. Also at Cancer Survivor's Park (also Fotosketched, but without the stopover in FS Purgatory)
3. Tiny Abelia blossoms in my front yard
Oh, dear. I'm glad you were able to recover that first image! It is lovely and the message is so thought provoking. 6 million is more than half and a huge improvement over the success rate just a few short years ago. But, my heart goes out to the other 5 million.
Love the composition in the Mexican Hat image. Perfect placement of the main subject. I love it just like it is, but I think I would have liked to see the flowers in the background even more blurry. I don't know if your camera can do that on a macro setting? Or, can you set the aperture to the smallest number to get the least DOF?
The angle for the Abelia is great and the depth of field is wonderful with the sharpest point at just the right spot!
My camera is strictly P & S. I can adjust the exposure and it's got more zoom capability than any other camera I've ever had. I got the great background blur in the Abelia shot but most of the time, I can't do that. I was so close to those little blooms and most of the time my camera won't focus when I'm that close.
I was hoping for more blur in the Mexican Hat shot, too. After I did my two-step FS thing, I went to PSE with it and did a little gaussian blur, painting (masking?) the FS'd finish back in on the main flower.
I might give it another shot in a few days if the heat breaks. I'd like to go back over there anyway.
I love that wall of poppies! As Miss Mary said, each is lovely, but a whole wall full is a real treat to see. And those veggies look yummy. Can't beat those volunteers! I remember my Dad getting excited when he would have surprise plants in his garden. Since I am constantly pulling out anything I didn't plant, I don't get those surprises. I'll have to chill out on the weeding efforts and maybe I'll have a nice surprise. My problem is not knowing what is a weed and what is good until very late in the game.
Good catches on all those bees! They don't sit still long! The triptych presentation is a fun one! Fantastic capture of the moon. I just love daytime moon images. This one would be a good one to use as a "throw down" moon. You can copy and paste it on top of other images, move that moon layer around until you get it where you want it, size it and then if PSE will allow (pretty sure it does), change the blend mode of the moon layer until you just see the moon.
Your Mexican Hat flower images have me thinking about what I can do on my upcoming Wildflower Photography Workshop. I am practicing using all the techniques I know to get pleasing wildflower images. Sometimes I like to see the rest of the habitat in the shot, but usually I prefer a blurred background and foreground with just the flower or even just a part of the flower in focus.
Camera equipment is a huge trade-off in features even in the dSLRs that I use. There is the proverbial triangle in which you can have two at the expense of the third. In your case, you got the fantastic telephoto zoom, so, as you have shown with that Abelia image, to get blurry backgrounds, you'll have to use one or more of the other techniques.
A review of what makes for a blurry background (less DOF) should help ...
1. Use widest open apertures (large f-numbers). That won't work for your camera, but it is one of the techniques.
2. Get closer to subject. That's what you did with the Abelia. Worked well!
3. Get background as far from subject as possible. Sometimes you just can't do this, but trying a different angle (closer to the ground) might help.
4. Use a longer (telephoto) lens. Longer lenses/more magnification will result in a narrow depth of field, so you could try this one since the lens on your camera will zoom quite a bit.
I think a combination of the last two might work well for you. It might pay off to actually get farther from your subject and use your highest zoom which will give you less DOF. Worth a try... You could just do it in your backyard with props. Put a stationary prop behind another one and try get as close to the front object as your lens will focus on your macro (flower) setting and just see how far away you have to place the second object to get it blurry.
Then, take camera off of the macro setting, zoom it in as far as it will go (highest magnification zoom), position yourself so that the first object is about the same size as it was on the macro setting and then see if you can move that back object closer and still have it blurry.
Sorry if this sounds silly. I am just in experiment mode. I am trying all of the "stuff' I have at my disposal to shoot macro.
Yes, Patti, indeed it does make sense but it will take some doing (and maybe a new camera some day) to get it down pat!
This afternoon, I went out after a long-awaited rain (yippee!) for some raindrop shots. The sky was still very overcast, so there wasn't a lot of light. Sometimes, I was able to get very close and focus; sometimes not. Here's one shot I got of raindrops on a Balloon Flower. All I did to this picture was adjust the exposure and put a beveled edge on it. No cropping, sharpening, etc...
I used a tripod and yes, I took a number of shots. This was my favorite. I couldn't believe I actually wound up with that effect. What do you call it...focused in the middle with the foreground and background out of focus?
Yes! This is a very, very narrow depth of field (DOF). By being so close to your subject (one of the ways to minimize DOF), you have reduced the depth of field to a very narrow range. It looks like you only have maybe 1/2 to 1 inch DOF from front to back and you have put that one inch toward the middle of the frame. This works great to emphasize a subject.
The best example I have of a very narrow DOF is this ladybug image. The lady bug is sitting on a table in a camping trailer. There is a brown wicker basket behind the bug. As you can see from the tiny strip of the table that is in focus, the DOF was very narrow. I was pretty close to the bug and I was using a very wide aperture because it was dark in the trailer and I didn't have a tripod and that darn bug kept moving. So, in order to get the shutter speed I needed, I cranked the aperture open and the ISO up as far as I could stand (800). Being that close with the open aperture gave me a very narrow DOF (probably less than 1/4 inch), so I had to make sure the focus was exactly on the bug's face. It took about 5 shots to get it right.
Thanks. Here's an example of what it took to get there. This was shot at an aperture of f10 which gives a lot more DOF, but at the expense of shutter speed. As you can see, the wicker basket is more in focus (and not pretty) and the Depth of Field is a lot wider, but you can see his little legs moving. The shutter speed was only 1/6 of a second. That's way too slow to handhold even with the camera sitting on the table. There was a lot of general motion just from me and 1/6th second isn't nearly fast enough to stop the little guy's movement. When I looked at this on the back of the camera, I knew I had to open up the lens more, so went from f10 to f 3.2 which is almost wide open for this lens. That sped up my shutter speed from 1/6th of a second to 1/60th of a second.
Results of some experimentation to see just how much magnification I can get out of my Canon 100mm macro lens:
The tools I have that will allow me to increase the magnification are
Kenko set of three extension tubes, the 12 mm, 20 mm and 36 mm tubes,
Canon's 250D Close Up Lens
Canon's 1.4 X Teleconverter and Canon's 2.0 X teleconverter. I only used the 1.4.
I started with the 100 mm lens by itself. I set the lens on manual focus and cranked it all the way over to the closest focusing position. Then, I moved the quarter closer and closer to the lens until it was in focus and snapped the shot.
I kept adding more and more to the lens and followed the same procedure to get a shot of the quarter as close as I could focus.
The last two images have that Close Up Lens that you screw on to the front of the lens. I don't like that thing and I think it really reduces the image quality. But, in all fairness, when things start getting that magnified, it is really, really difficult to position the quarter so that it is in focus. Just a little bit off and it will be OOF. I need to do this over and screw that lens on first before I start adding the tubes and TC to give it a fair chance.
I didn't crop any of the images, so what you see is what I got. I did sharpen the last two, but not the first three.
Ah, and ignore the title. I called the Close Up Lens a Diopter instead of what it is. Sigh. I'll fix it one of these days.
I picked this daisy and supported it with a Wimberley Plamp - one end hooked to my tripod and the other holding the daisy. Then I set up the tripod so that the flowers in the butterfly garden would be in the background. I tried to find an aperture that would get most of the flower in focus, but keep the flowers as just smooth, colorful blobs in the background.
I think the f2.8 (top) is good for the background, but not enough DOF for the flower. The middle one at f3.2 is a decent compromise with most of the flower in focus, but the background still OOF. The last one (f8) is great for the flower but the background is too sharp and not what I was trying to get.
2, 3 and 4 are just the same images.
5 is the flower with grass in the background. The grass is farther away than the flowers were, so I could use a smaller aperture (f8) and get the entire flower sharp with a nice OOF background.
The wildflower workshop is mid-June. Hopefully all of this will be second nature to me by then and I will get some good shots.
Very interesting experiments, Patti ... thanks for sharing that information. I'm really interested in getting some extension tubes and maybe some teleconverters, but definitely know I want a Canon 500D closeup filter ... it's not cheap, however, so I've been dragging my feet.
Off the subject, that house with the circular windows is on the market, and the open house has started, so I had a chance to go in as I was passing by on my way to the bank today. The house was built in 1923, and its last resident was a little old guy who was pretty much a recluse. I have no idea what the history of the place is, and one of the real estate agents said he thought that originally it was some kind of meeting hall (haven't been able to locate any info on line). It's on a 15,000 square foot lot (corner), a four-bedroom, 1-1/2 bath, home, one story, going for 3.6 million. It's completely original. It's absolutely gorgeous inside, all oak and fir and eucalyptus. I really hope they're not going to tear it down, but it's not on the historic register, so ...
I got a few shots of the main room interior (on my trusty G10, ISO 400, much work in RAW to try to get rid of the noise, and then a little topaz, so here are three views, two of opposing windows (the first set faces the back yard, the other faces the street), and one closer up of the window facing the street. The real estate guy says there are stained glass inserts for the round windows. It's quite a place, and in remarkably marvelous condition...
And, I misunderstood the price, not as much as I thought (ahem) by a measly hundred thou ...
The thing is, with old places like this, there is a smell ... in this particular house it wasn't too bad, but definitely a musty odor ... it's in the wood, there's nothing you can do to get rid of it ... I personally would learn to live with it in this case ... however, I've been in some of these older homes in Palo Alto that were built back in the 20s or earlier, and I realize there's no way anyone could learn to live with such odor ... in a couple of cases I remember it was horrific ... and they were beautiful homes!
Well, for that one room, their photos are nice, but yours are better. If you had a wider angle lens or better yet, a tilt shift lens, yours would be a whole lot better. Their photos are sterile. Yours have character.
Patti, all your experiments are fascinating. I especially like your results on the Daisy, though I'd have to say I like them ALL! Each one has a different "feel" and projects its own unique persona. Whoooo-eee! You'r going to come back from that Wildflower workshop with some gorgeous shots...I just know it!
Jubilada, that house is so wonderful and your photos are great. What a chunk of real estate, though. *Gulp!* I know what you mean about the smell that wood develops. Last year, I had the carpet taken up in the hallway and was unsure if I wanted to have the hardwood floor refinished or have tile put down. One night without and the carpet and my mind was made up. The smell was really strong. Down went the tile!
I went outside this afternoon and played around some, trying for macros. In some instances, my camera wouldn't focus closer than 6 or 7 inches from a subject, so I moved back and zoomed. In other cases, I got within 1/2 inch and the focus was fine. Needless to say, the bee shots were taken a foot or so away. He didn't stay in one place long enough for me to approach and focus!
A simple collage...background is a photo of corn tassels. The small, off-white flowers are Elderberry blossom. Each tiny flower is about 1/8 inch. Bottom left is a Zinnia budding out.
I guess I never looked closely at a corn tassel before! I had no idea they were so colorful. That is so cool to see. I love the shots of the bee on the cone flower. The flower is such a beautiful color and that bee is a huge bonus. Great perspective on shooting the zinnia bud.
I think it is interesting that your camera will not focus at the same distance all the time. At the same zoom setting, the close focusing distance should not change. I wonder if it just can't find anything contrasty enough to focus. My lens does that when the light is low. It searches and searches back and forth for a focus lock and can't find it on a soft flower or something that doesn't have much contrast. I usually just have to pop it into manual focus and do it myself.
Miss Mary, very lovely selection of photos on that collage ... and nicely juxtaposed, too! Nice work!
From me today ...
Cardoon kaleido from that photo
Sweetpea kaleido from that photo
A rose, and from the way the sun is hitting it, it almost looks backlit ... did some camouflaging to the background a bit to hide cars and stuff ...
Jubilada, haw do you keep out-doing yourself? Your Cardoon kaleido seems to be growing like a Chia Pet as I gaze into it! And the Sweet Pea kaleido is absolutely stunning. The beveled edges on one layer and the (appearance of) slightly curled edges on the other...and that beautiful white ruffle around the center! I love the way it appears to be effortlessly floating! Whew!
I went walking at Dixon Gardens last week. In their pool within the garden, they have Lotus, which are just beautiful. This is a collage I made with PicMonkey.
First Fireball Hibiscus bloom, Fotosketcher
Balloon Flower kaleido
Wonderful stuff! Very cool the way the gradient background on the Cardoon kaleido picks up the colors in the image. And I have to agree with Miss Mary. That Sweetpea kaleido is stunning. The petals around the edges look like glass. What a fantastic stained glass this pattern would make! I love that butterfly vase! The rose image looks 3D. Very nice!
Your collage is filled with such beautiful images. The color of the Lotus is spectacular! The ones I've photographed are plain old white. Good to see that Fireball back and beautiful. The swirling kaleido is a very cool pattern and the complementary colors are awesome.
I'm off to check out PicMonkey. I can't remember if I ever went there after the transition from Picnik.
Miss Mary, your lotus collage is just wonderful! Beautiful selection of pictures! There goes that fireball Hibiscus of yours again! Whew! I'm so tempted to get one of those "dinnerplate" types, but don't know where I'd put it, or how to care for it! Very interesting kaleido ... great effect!
Jubilada, the only thing I ever do for the Fireball is cut it down in Fall (maybe 8 inches or so) and throw some mulch over it. I think I have occasionally put some Miracle Gro on it when I've fertilized other things, but not very often. I do have a round tomato cage on it and have learned to "train" the branches (or canes) into that for support as it grows in the Spring. I think even that won't be enough this year, though, because it's so loaded down with buds.
OK, I did a little research Miss Mary, and I see the kind of Hibiscus you have is considered hardy and perennial, so I could grow one here. Just have to stay away from those "tropical" babies ... Now, I just have to find the "right" place to put it!
Here's what I played with today ... not too impressive, but I wasted enough time on them ...
Grecian (or Roman) head planter pot with Leonotis Leonoris alongside
Ah, I meant to comment on your images, Jubilada. I have to disagree with your assessment. The first image is way cool and I would say that the second image is very impressive! For one thing, I love those pineapple guava flowers. They are so pretty and even the name is pretty. And, your window frames within image frames had me studying for quite some time trying to figure out if there was a mirror in there or what. Very intriguing!
I thought this young Yellow-crowned Night Heron was interesting. As per one of my bird books, they don't get the full adult plumage until the third year. So, my guess is that he is in his second year. No doubt he's a YCNH, but he just looks a bit strange. Normally the adult is a gray color. The younger ones are brownish, so that fits. But the juveniles and first year birds have streaking or spots on their breasts and bellies. This one has an almost solid color as do the adults, just the wrong color. I haven't found a drawing or photo of a second year bird, so just a guess on my part.
First image just has a bit of a frame around it. Second version was made using the Vintage action and tweaking. Now that I look at it, I should have added a vintage frame. Sigh. It's way too late to start over. Maybe tomorrow.
Patti, I really like that first Heron ... color-wise it looks like "waiting for sunset" ... and that dragonfly is just so sweet!
Yeah, PhotoShop claims there's too much of a programming fiasco to include PixelBender with CS6 ... I don't particularly understand that, but ... that just means I'm going to have to keep CS5 so I can use PixelBender for special things ... like this Leonotis, for instance ...
Jubilada, Your treatment on the Leonotis is wonderful! Great use of the PB filter and the lighting is awesome. That squirrel is posing for you. They might be pests, but they are cute little pests. Well, you know I like birds and this little youngster (I think) is sooooo cute! Have you posted it on the Bird ID forum to see what it is? I'd love to know.
Here's another couple of photos of that young Night Heron. He has some pretty good hunting skills for a youngster.
Cool. That's what I thought it was, but wasn't sure. It looks like a juvi or at least young bird to me. We see the Eastern Phoebe around here and it resembles the Black Phoebe. I did see a Black Phoebe on the South Texas trip.
Yes, he gobbled that down and went looking for more. I watched him for about 30 or 40 minutes and he managed to catch several crawfish and lots of little things that I couldn't ID. Ha, spellchecker wants me to call that critter a crayfish. That's not what those mud bugs are called down south. They are crawfish, crawdads or just plain old mud bugs. Whatever you call them, they are very tasty. I prefer mine cooked though.
Interesting! This is similar to naming of some birds where the naming conventions in the US are very different than those in the UK. The Buzzard comes to mind. What we call a crawfish in the southern US and crayfish more in the north and east is freshwater and it is in the lobster family, but they are much smaller than what we call lobsters.
The processing on the castle images is fascinating. Reminds me of infrared. Have you posted the originals anywhere? I'd love to see them.
Wow. Incredible place! I like how the second image shows off some of the landscaping. The building seems to cover a very large area. I'll have to look it up and learn more. Thanks for posting those originals.
Cool idea and beautifully done. That is a gorgeous flower!
Beautiful little flowers for the kaleido. When I first looked, I thought that the flowers were so pretty, but no critters to find. Well, a little more gazing revealed those critters. They are always there and I always have to look. I saw eagles, butterflies and hearts. ^_^
What a cute little (very little!) Katydid!
Went to some barrel races back in the winter. Some of the girls that I knew wanted something different. So I threw the pics in Photoshop and came up with these. The background in the 2nd pic was the same BG as the 2 pics in the 1st image before Photoshop. They loved them.
DWMike, I can see why they loved them! The photos are incredible and the PS work even more amazing. The arrangement on the first collage is very clever and the font is fantastic. That background on the second image is stunning. The attention to detail (hair strands) on the selection is excellent. Very cool to see. Thanks for posting!
Jubilada, Good name for that poppy! It is bright! Cool views on the triptych. Lots of bees! Next time I run across some Bee Balm, I'll have check out the fragrance. I've photographed it before, but didn't know it smelled like honey. Cute little Katydid!
DMersh, I like both the original and the golden version of that leaf. Lovely!
I'm digging around in my files looking for something different to do.
Did a kaleido since I haven't tried one in a while. Dayflower
Made one of the Gavin Hoey Filmstrips - I think Miss Mary unearthed this technique a long time ago. I went through all the steps to make the filmstrip way back when and I saved it as a PSD so all I have to do now is drop some images behind it, size them and then do the warping and shadow.
I'm still playing. And the good fairy didn't do my chores. Darn.
Ran this sunset image through DAP Camille and saved as layered PSD. Opened PSD and blended original back slightly and masked back original at around 20% in a few spots. Flattened and saved as Tif. Opened in Adobe Camera Raw and tweaked contrast, vibrance, and a few other sliders that I can't remember. Then, duplicated the layer, ran CS6's Oil Paint on the dupe layer, reduced opacity to 50%.
God bless your wild and crazy moods, Patti! That's awesome. Just wonderful. And the kaleido is super -- you can't beat those little dayflowers for blueness, can you? I love the way it seems to be strung (almost crocheted!) together.
DMersh, that gilded leaf is quite a sight! Reminds me of Autumn in all its glory. Of course, you know I like the original over on the Backlit page as well!
Jubilada, I didn't know about Monarda's scent either. I'll have to go out and sniff mine tomorrow. That's a lovely collage. The background looks like a subtle gradient, capturing at least two tones in the flowers. That's clever indeed...!
A partially open Black-eyed Susan with lots of bug holes filled in and then Fotosketched.
DMersh, love your inverted leaf with the lovely veins!
Patti, thanks for reminding me about that filmstrip stuff ... more on that later ... lovely kaleido, and swell filmstrip! Your "wild and crazy" sunset with birds is riveting indeed! Forget about the chores, the Good Fairy is surely on the way!
Miss Mary ... very nice work with that Black-eyed Susan!
I was trying out a 3-D filmstrip version by Scott Kelby, and after two hours of messing about wound up with nothing! I'm stymied, don't know what's amiss! Rats ...
So, I winged it (at least I got part of the thing done) and here is my version of Butterflies and whatnot ...
I love that BE Susan image! The composition is perfect and the lighting is lovely. The exposure and tonal range on the black "eye" is so perfect - There is even a bit of detail in the shadows. The colors are vibrant and beautiful. And finally, the Fotosketcher work is so nicely done for a wonderful, painterly look.. This is another one of those "print it and hang it on the wall" images.
I don't know what you were going for, but that filmstrip is fantastic.I really like how it fills up the frame, so the individual images have a bigger presence than in the filmstrip technique I did. Each of those individual images are so colorful and they all fill up their little frames too. Very cool!
I'm taking "The Art of Seeing" through the on-line Picture Perfect School of Photography (PPSOP) from Bryan Peterson and Chris Hurtt. Bryan founded PPSOP and seems to have a ton of energy around it. I am looking forward to getting some inspiration. I have taken one other course from PPSOP - the Night Photography one by Kevin Adams.
This is week one of four weeks of class. Our assignment seemed pretty easy compared to the ones Jubilada has posted, but still hard for me since I just don't see all of these artistic photo ops.
The assignment is to:
"SHOOT AND UPLOAD THREE IMAGES WHOSE SUBJECT MATTER IS WIDE OPEN; NATURE, CITY, INDUSTRY, AND ALL THREE IMAGES MUST BE FILLED EDGE TO EDGE TOP TO BOTTOM WITH EITHER LINE, TEXTURE, COLOR OR PATTERN. YOU MAKE THE CALL – CHOOSE YOUR WIDE ANGLE, TELEPHOTO OR MACRO LENS!"
I've been wandering around in my backyard for three days taking photos. Not too thrilled with hardly any of them, but I did settle on three to submit.
For the tomato, I was going for the complementary colors red and green. I used a little bit of flash at a low FEC to get the highlight. I shot it at f2.8 to get the sweet basil plant in the background nice and blurry. I actually painted that corner of the 2 x 6 edging around the garden just for the photo. I really needed a different color green, but that's what I had.
I shot #2 on the kitchen table right next to the window with morning sun coming in to light up this yard ornament (image 4). I tried to find a place with interesting lines and colors. The fifth image is another of these. I had a hard time deciding which to use, but I went with #2.
The third image I submitted to PPSOP and #3 here was the brick on my house with morning light creating shadows and making the texture stand out a bit more. This is my least favorite. As a matter of fact, I don't much like this one at all, but just ran out of ideas. I think there must be a good way to shoot that wall, but I don't know what it is. This is with the camera sensor flat to the wall. I tried it at an angle so that the lines converged toward the camera. Interesting, but not as contrasty with the shadows. Maybe at a different time this might work? I dunno. I also tried shooting the wood fence in the backyard. Hated all of them.
I didn't do much to these in the way of manipulations. I don't think that's allowed, but I don't really know. I slightly cropped #1 and #3. I did a little blemish removal on the tomato and added some extra contrast to the wall. Other than that, it was pretty much just adjusting the ACR sliders and saving as jpegs. I did do a noise reduction on one of them. Don't remember which now.
I'll report back with the critiques that I get from Bryan and Chris. Feel free to add yours as well - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Patti, #1 and #2 are my favorites. After I read your thoughts on #1, I pulled up the picture. I like that shade of green...it pulls out a hint of the same color in the distance behind the tomato. Also, in my opinion, it keeps it from looking "staged". The ornament is so pretty -- and I love that close-up of it. I want to keep looking at it to figure it out...is it going this way or that way? Those are great and I can't wait to hear the feedback you get.
Well, Patti, this is what my last class instructor would have called "do an abstract" ... and certainly images #2 and #5 are exactly that. I'd choose #5 simply because it has those wonderful little starbursts! Image 1 is very nice, but it's probably not abstract enough ... I know that's a tomato on a fence. Image #3 is also very attractive texturally ... but maybe not quite "abstract" ... that being said, they're all swell photos! I'll be curious to see what Bryan says! Good work, for sure!
And please forgive me, but here's a cropped version of your tomato on a fence: what I might have considered as falling in the prescribed guidelines ...
Unattractive background -- that's what I hate about taking pictures of my Fireball Hibiscus! Seems like no matter what angle I choose, there's something to deal with. This bud was so pretty, I just had to isolate it from all the mess. not sure I chose the best of all backgrounds but, since the plant is over 6 feet tall right now, it's how I see many of the buds anyhow.
Wow, Miss Mary ... that's some composite! Almost surreal! Definitely abstract!
Back in the normal old world, my cat Frankie responds to the fluctuating temps in our little micro climate:
#1 --- Oooh, it's 60, under the blanket!
#2 --- (23 hours later) Ooof!, it's 80!
(like me, he's a California Sissy ... we absolutely hate wildly fluctuating temps (!))
And, a composite of a sunflower and a morning moon ...
Miss Mary and Jubilada, Thanks much for the feedback on the assignment.
Miss Mary, The yard ornament ended up being my favorite thing to photograph. The funny thing is that I walked all over that yard looking for things and never even considered it. When I walked under the tree and had to duck to avoid getting hit in the head by it, I finally had the light bulb moment.
Jubilada, That is what I was struggling with. I love the little starbursts on the second ornament image, but I think it has too much white and white is a dominant color that draws your attention. So, I went with the other, but it could have gone either way.
Thanks for taking the time to crop that tomato image. I really value your creative eye and I like your redo. It really concentrates the two colors I was going for and focuses more on the colors and less on the subjects. I don't think the images had to be abstract, though. Some of the examples Bryan gave were similar to the tomato image. He did an industrial image that had lots of lines and geometric shapes, but it was still an image of a crane in a construction site. Hopefully I didn't misunderstand that, but I'll find out. I think I will go ask on the Q and A forum just to be sure. I can still change out the photos as long as the instructors have not critiqued them. I probably need to change out that wall for something else. It is just too blah.
Miss Mary, I love the background of your Fireball Hibiscus! I think that was a great choice of angle to shoot. It is not distracting at all. The red and green subject dominates the scene and my attention was focused on the sharpness and shape of the flower.
A trick I use to isolate one flower is a Wimberley Plamp. It has a heavy duty clamp on one side that you can hook to your tripod or a chair or just about anything. Then it has an "arm" for lack of a better description that is about two feet long and ends in a soft, gentle clamp that you can hook to a flower stem. It won't hurt the stem. Then you can drag that flower away from the plant and position it so that you can improve the background. Google it. It seems expensive for what you get. But, after trying many times to make my own similar device, I finally bit the bullet and ordered one. I can find the clamps at Lowe's or Home Depot, but it's the arm that I don't know how to simulate. These things also work great when it is windy outside. They will hold the flower still. I also bought a similar one to the Wimberly that has a short metal stake on one end and it goes in the ground. That works when I'm not using a tripod and don't have any chairs or other devices handy.
Jubilada, Thank you and Frankie for the chuckle this morning. I've missed seeing photos of the kitties. More, please!
The composite is beautiful! That sunflower is such a lovely color and the foliage looks like velvet. The moon looks very realistic. You know I would have made it huge and totally unreal. ^_^ All the sunflowers I see are the same old yellow color.
Patti, I checked out that course you are taking ... boy, I can hardly wait to see what you come up with. I know you're going to knock our socks off! It seems to be quite a bit more challenging than the little course I took!
I reworked those butterflies into a cube and put it on a sunflower face ...
Very cool butterfly cube, Jubilada! I keep thinking it will fall over if I watch it long enough. So realistic!
I'm not too sure about this class or knocking socks off. I think your assignments were incredibly difficult. This one might change dramatically, but it doesn't seem all that difficult so far, but I've read about design elements before. I already knew about lines, colors, textures and patterns. I've read Bryan's book. I still don't understand how he is going to teach me to see what I can't see, but I'll keep an open mind and high hopes. We will "see."
A little play today ...
Kaleido with that ornament.
I've recently "discovered" the 3-D application in CS5 Extended ... largely because I noticed that in my upgrade to CS6 Extended there was no 3-D capability, and that is because (after talking to Adobe) I need to upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows XP. Phooey! That means a new computer, and the accompanying fol-de-rol ... not up to that just now ... Anyhow, here are a couple of things I wasted time with today ...
Jubilada, that's not wasting time...that's frittering! And I do so enjoy myself when you fritter!
What fun...love the Sunflower box with the light casting on each side a little differently. And "Sunshine in a Box" -- well, that's just magical! The effect you used on the wording makes it look like a butterfly and the burst of design and color in the background is pure excitement! Wonderful!
Wow! I love the "Sunshine in a Box" title. The 3D effects on both images are amazing - I see the bits of petal turned up and the entire flower jumping out of the top of the second box! I have never played with the 3D feature in either CS5 or CS6. I don't think I even had it in CS5. I'll have to check it out. Very cool!
EDIT: Well, I checked it out.
I need one of those little smileys that bows at the waist. My hat's off to you, Jubi. You are brilliant! But then we've always known that.
My head hurts. I need another cup of coffee. I need a pot of coffee. I need a head transplant. Holy mackerel. I'm so lost. I'll never see the light of day again. Watched a few tutorials that tell me 3D is so much easier in CS6. Oh, yeah, that's just what I needed to know when I can't figure out which end is up. Back to the tutorials. And, just for the record, after all that typing, CS6 is still trying to render the monstrosity I tried to create. I think I'll have to Control-Alt-Delete and kill Photoshop.
^_^ ^_^ ^_^ OK. Drama over.
PS: That was fun. I've never tried the Drama Queen role before.
Patti, please don't kill Photoshop! (Great Drama Queen soliloquy ... check with central casting!) ... I went through the same machinations, and I'm just sorry that I can't get to the CS6 version ... sigh ...
So, the reason I even got involved with that 3-D stuff was I was trying to do the 3-D filmstrip in Scott Kelby's CS4 Down and Dirty Tricks Book (still have not perfected that) ... but he references an introductory tutorial on the book's related website, and it's pretty good as an introduction ...
Oh, how pretty, Jubilada. I really enjoy your "contrasting-textures" compositions.
Patti, that was the best daytime drama I've seen in quite some time. ☺☺
Well, I went to the Nature Center today to photograph the Lotus, which are just starting to bloom. My camera decided to be uncooperative (to the nth degree!) and I was about to toss into the marsh lake by the time I left. I took 80 shots and had to open/close, re-set/readjust blah-blah-blah it 11 times! I was so frustrated that I ended up getting a smudge on the lens doing all that and I didn't notice it until I got home. So...needless to say...I'm having to salvage what I can however I can.
Thanks for the links, Jubilada. I watched most of the first one. Some of the controls are the same in CS6, so I might figure it out one of these days. I haven't found many CS6 videos for 3D. And the ones I have found are either way too simple or way over my head.
Ditto what Miss Mary said! I didn't realize that the texture difference is one of the things so pleasing about the bouquet image, but the soft flowers and the rough wood really complement each other and the earthy yellow and brown tones work well together too. You always pick great angles to shoot.
Miss Mary, That is a lovely scene. I wish I was walking across that bridge and soaking up all of the beauty. I like how you have the foreground framed with the foliage. And the Fotosketcher frame is perfect to bring out the color of the bridge! I hope you will be able to salvage some Lotus images. The last ones you shot were beautiful. Sorry about all the grief with your camera. That camera just didn't last nearly long enough. But, you did get a lot of clicks out of it and some fantastic photos.
Wow! Miss Mary, you did an amazing job with an ailing camera! All of the images in the collage are excellent. I love the top right lotus! What a beautiful flower and framing it with the darker area behind it really shows it off. And you did the same magic with the dragon on the right side - framing him up with the white behind him!
You caught a really cool behavior on those dragons. It must have been very warm out there. The posture of the dragons is the way they keep their abdomen from heating up too much. Great captures!
Here's a quote from Gary Clark, a naturalist in the Houston area. Gary does an article in our local newspaper and this one about dragonflies appeared last week ... He was talking about the Eastern Pondhawk in this paragraph.
"If the sun is high in the sky, the pondhawk will point the end of its abdomen toward the sun, a behavior called obelisking, to prevent the surface of the abdomen from overheating."
Patti, that's a wonderful article! Thanks for sharing. I only learned about that curious pose they strike last night. Well, to me it was curious, anyway. To echo Jubilada's thoughts...nature is indeed amazing!
That dragonfly perched on the floating branch and, to my surprise, did not get spooked by my fumbling with the camera. I took advantage of that and changed positions several times, to capture him with various backgrounds. In the top left, Lotus leaves and stems in the distance. In the middle, a Lotus leaf just behind him (at a different angle to the sun, showing it's grayish-green color). The ones I took that cast him against a darker background were too contrasty and the shimmer on his wings glowed too much.
And yes, Patti, it was VERY hot out on that lake.
Here's one with a darker background, but the highlights weren't as blown out. I had to do quite a bit of editing on it to remove glowing red-orange fringe around the wood.
Today I chased a skipper all over the front yard, and got enough "usable" shots to accomplish this little layout. The skipper likes the lemon balm, which is also all over the front yard ... it self sows ...
Cute little Skipper, Jubilada! Love the flower arrangements. I don't know how you make a pile of wood look cool, but you do. Love the textures on the second image. The second house looks like it would be a really nice project for This Old House. I like the angles you shot for both of the houses. Very interesting perspectives.
Here's one more image ... Library wall, with window and light fixture ...
That house on Melville is in the process of being severely remodeled ... I took that picture just as they were beginning to cut down about 80% of the foliage ... today it looks like it's in the middle of a dessert ... it has always reminded me of what a house in an Erskine Caldwell novel might look like, or better yet, a James Thurber parody of an Erskine Caldwell novel ... "Gramma was standin' in front of the house, in her tattered black velvet evening gown, a cast iron skillet in her hand ..." (my paraphrase ...)
What a cool idea! Sunflower Totem! And, yes, Roxi is a Lab.
Went to the park with her today...
1. She is a typical lab - likes water.
2. I think she would have gone down that slide if I had let her. It was really hard holding the leash and taking photos and asking a puppy to sit still long enough for me to get the shot. But, she was good.
3. A Pixel Bender Oil Paint from a shot in the backyard.
She goes home tomorrow and I'll be sad.
Edit: PS: All of these were taken with my cell phone! ^_^
Well, Roxi is definitely a sweetie-pup! And what can I say about the pictures you got with that cell phone?!?! Almost makes me want to get one just to take pictures with!
Now, here's something that's just plain silliness ... This is St. Albert the Great Church, a couple of blocks from my house ... two ends merged ... and I'm sure you can tell where the merging took place. I was struck by how the front entrance almost mirrored the rear entrance (there's a lot of building inbetween) ... thus I was tempted to give this a shot. Of course, when I finished I touched it up some (there's also been some skewing and puppet warp and stuff like that) ... I sure do know how to amuse myself!
Patti, thanks for the link to that grunge frame ... I've bookmarked it!
Here's one of my little "pumpkin" baby spiders, busily spinning a web ... the photo was out of focus (hand-held), underexposed, and just generally no good ... however, I was able to squeeze something out of it with all kinds of sharpening and other little tricks ... I think the web stands out pretty well. That spider was only about 1/8 of an inch and it was moving rapidly (I guess it was some kind of exam in web-spinning) ...
So, Patti, your Gavin Grunge frame examples are very cool ... I tried it out, and although (at least according to Gavin's suggestions) I may have not used the best candidate, this is the one I chose for this first experiment ... I'll call it "Grunge's Little Acre" ...
Just got home from Brazos Bend State Park where I took the new trike out for a trial run. I think it's a keeper. It did take a while to learn how to ride it, though. It doesn't steer like a bicycle at all. Strange.
I had two cameras in the front basket cushioned with a towel and some microfiber cloths. I put the camera bag loaded with more lenses and stuff, the tripod and my lunch bag in the back basket.
It was a lot of fun riding around. And I can see where I can really cover a lot more ground and have the potential to get more photo ops. This time I just went on the same trails that I have walked before. I wanted to concentrate on learning how to ride and not have to worry about getting lost. ^_^
1. 5 shot HDR with Fisheye lens Camera on tripod and set to shoot the 5 shot burst with exposure bracketing. Friendly park visitor pushed the shutter button for me.
2. Front and Back. I used the timer on the one with me in it. I just ran in, jumped on the bike and looked up just in time.
I guess my assessment would be ... if you are comfortable riding a bike and don't mind setting the kickstand when you jump off to take a photo, stick with it. Bikes are so much easier to ride IMO. But, if you are worried about falling over with expensive camera gear (me!) and like the ease of just setting the brake, grabbing a camera out of the basket, jumping off and shooting, get a trike!
Patti, your new trike looks like so much fun! How cool! And what fun photos! And what exactly is that colorful ornament on your handlebar? A parrot? Isn't RT jealous?
Now and again I've ridden with my "big" camera in my bike's basket, but always with great trepidation! Where I live there aren't nature trails that nearby, and getting to them on bike or trike would pose real safety problems in terms of traffic!
Jubilada, That is a parrot! Good eye! It is a bicycle horn. RT was okay with it. He said, "riding on a tricycle is for children, old ladies and parrots." His smart mouth (beak) almost got him a swim in the lake. ^_^ (Haha. I never even thought about RT.)
Ah, yes, you would need a vehicle to get the trike to a park. The park I went to is a 30 minute ride in the truck. Getting that trike in and out of the truck wasn't so easy. I had to drive our little truck which is lower to the ground. I'd never be able to get it out of the big one. DH is looking into either a winch or a truck crane to lift it in and out of the bed of the truck. That will help tremendously.
Okay, I need help. I took some photos while I was at the park for my next PPSOP assignment. I am not too thrilled with them and will probably try to get more, but I would like some honest, brutal, no holds barred opinions from any one that would be willing to critique them.
There are three assignments.
A) A wide angle shot where LINE is being used as the dominant foreground subject.
B) A wide angle shot where TEXTURE is being used as the dominant foreground subject
C) A wide angle OR telephoto shot of LINE or PATTERN taken from ABOVE, shooting down!
Image 1: I tried the Line as dominant foreground assignment (A) from the top of the tower at the park. I broke two big rules here - rule of thirds and shot into the sun. But, LINE is the dominant foreground subject, by golly. Just too dominant, I'm afraid.
Image 2: This one is for the shot where Texture is the dominant foreground. I was going for the rough tree surface and the gravel in the trail. I tried it both "as shot" and ...
Image 3: same as above converted to Black and White.
If the tree works for the second assignment, which is better - color or B&W?
Example of Photoshop's (PS CS6) defringe capability ...
This is a small section of the skyline in the tree stump photo above. The purple fringe monster reared his ugly head as you can see in the first image with the preview of the correction turned off.
When I turned the preview on, you can see how much better it looks. Not perfect, but a lot better and all it took from me was sliding one slider over to the right. Took about 1 second. I don't really know how to use this feature. I don't have a clue what the slider underneath does. I need to read up and maybe I can get it even better.
Patti, first of all, those are really fine photographs ... and I'm definitely going to vote for number 2 over number 3 because I feel it has much more "depth." As far as either one satisfying the assignment ... gee, there's so much that depends on personal interpretation. I love the "lines" in number one, but is it enough? Does one get a little overwhelmed by the "line" of the path going straight up the middle? (That is to say, is that the dominant thing or fighting to be the dominant thing?) The same might be said for the tree stump ... is it fighting for attention with that pathway? That's just my perception. And it's not even a particularly educated perception, either. I'm going to be very curious what the instructor says!
And speaking of PS6's ability to do away with CA, I find it absolutely fabulous! Cannot believe what a good job it does!
Here are my little efforts for today ... a bouquet of sunflowers (much manipulation trying to get rid of the wrinkles in that red cloth I decided to use for a background) ... and a Bird of Paradise Kaleido ...
Thanks, Jubilada. I appreciate your thoughts. The competition with two type of lines - the trails as leading lines and the foreground lines - is something I didn't consider. I plan to go out again tomorrow. I will try to get some more images and try to get some that have lines only in the foreground. I think the one of the tree stump is probably okay. I think the texture is dominant in the foreground even if the line might be dominant in the mid and background. I don't know. It all depends on what the instructor thinks. I'll have a better idea of how they think pretty soon. We just got our critiques for the first assignment. They were done in video and I can't see mine. It says it's private. Hopefully they'll get that fixed.
I love the sunflower arrangement and the image. It has tremendous depth just in the arrangement itself and the way the light plays on the fabric adds to the sense of depth. The kaleido is wild and fun! Great vibrant colors!