50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Still as a Statue

I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to post for the travel theme statues at Where’s My Backpack? when I saw the original post on Friday.  But yesterday I was looking through some of my files when I came across some images that almost looked like statues.  So I chose one and set out to make it look more like a statue.  Here is what I created:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

This is a Cape Thick-knee who lives at the St. Louis Zoo.  I had shot this image using exposure bracketing, so I created an HDR image using Photomatix.  I ended up thinking that the Black and White artistic setting ended up looking the most like a statue.  In Photoshop then I cropped and sharpened the image.  Here is the original:

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 400 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

It is a bird that blends in with it’s background, and it was sitting very still, so it would have been very easy to miss.  It has lovely colors, but what do you think of my stone version?

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Calla Lily in Black and White

It’s been a fairly busy week for me in my Photoshop class.  I was preparing for the ACA exam for Photoshop.  I passed it today. I was happy to pass on the first try, but to be honest I have some issues with “standardized” testing, and have some questions as to how much they really prove.

In terms of photography, I am thinking about a new project in Photoshop.  At this point the assignment is in a pretty vague spot.  So, instead of worrying too much about the details I am taking some photos and just thinking generally about some of the effects and filters from Photoshop that might apply.  With that in mind, I made this image this afternoon:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/8 1/80

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/8 1/80

For the project I am not sure if I will be working in black and white or color.  So, for this exercise I decided to convert the image to black and white and work from there.

One of the things I was thinking about when I was creating this image was the background.  I wanted it to be wavy and somewhat textured.  So what I did was create a duplicate layer and then applied the Oil Paint filter to it.  From there I put a mask on the Oil Paint filter layer and painted back in some of the realistic detail in the lily itself.

It’s an interesting effect, what do you think?  I’ll be trying some other things in the coming week, but I am thinking my final project will incorporate the oil filter in some way.  Here is the original image:

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/8 1/80

ISO 200 50mm 0ev f/8 1/80

I was inspired to try this in black and white in part because Open Topic is the theme for Cee’s Black & White Challenge. Since my project is just beginning and not even fully defined yet, I thought that certainly is open-ended.

Cheers!

 

 

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Butterfly

I hadn’t been in awhile, so last week I stopped by the butterfly exhibit they have at the St. Louis Zoo.  As butterfly houses go, this is a small one and it is often crowded.  It was when I was there, but I still managed to set up and use my tripod.  But if you are in the area I would encourage you to stop by.  It is a beautiful spot.  Despite the crowd, people seemed to be relaxed, perhaps a result of being around natural beauty.  I got this photo:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

You will see that the lighting on the butterfly is a bit uneven because he was in a sheltered spot.  Because I knew that I would have difficulty getting all the detail I wanted in one shot, I set my camera to get a bracketed exposure.  So, the final photo you are looking at is an HDR image I created using Photomatix.

In order to get as much detail I also used a low ISO, and therefore needed a slow shutter speed and a tripod for this shot.  Once I had created my image in Photomatix I then opened it in Photoshop.  I cropped the image, sharpened it and then applied a blur to the edges and background.  Here is one of the original images, to give you an idea of what I started with:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

Pretty big difference I think, but before I started editing, I thought the final image was in there, just waiting to be revealed.  What do you think?

I didn’t know it when I took this photo but just a few days later, gardens would be the announced travel theme at Where’s My Backpack?, so this image is my submission for this week.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Tempting

Sometimes when I am traveling, I am tempted to put my camera away.  Sometimes there  is a good reason for that, but honestly most of the time it is because I am tired.  I was just on the verge of putting my camera away the other day when a docent came up and told me I had to take this picture:

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 250 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

He was right, so three cheers for the docents at the St. Louis Zoo!

I am on a break from my Photoshop class, so for this photo I just did some cropping and sharpening in Aperture.  Is this an award winning photo? No, but it is a nice snapshot of this Red Panda in the morning light.  If you go to the zoo, I would recommend going early to get the best morning light and to beat the crowds.

This Red Panda spends a lot of its time resting and roaming around near the back of her home.  I have few photos of her, something I have written about before here and here.

Do you talk to docents when you visit places like the zoo? We do, they tend to be very knowledgeable and passionate about their subject matter.  Have you ever had a moment like this, where you were about to put the camera away and someone told you not to?

This post was written in response to the theme tempting at Where’s My Backpack?

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Winter Photos

We have had a lot of crummy winter weather here.  I’m ready for Spring, but while I’m waiting I have been taking photos of the snow.  Droplets is the theme at Sonel’s Photo-Editing Challenge this week, so I was working with this photo this morning:

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

ISO 160 50mm 0ev f/5 1/500

I took this photo back in December and at that time used Photomatix to make it into an HDR image.  The great thing about HDR photography, is the detail it brings out.  This can also be it’s downfall.  In the image above,  I really wanted all the detail of the berries, but the background was cluttered. Bringing more attention to the berries also accentuated all the details in the background which detracted from the photograph.  So, once I had created my HDR version, I opened it in Photoshop and duplicated the layer.  To the newly created layer, I added a black and white adjustment layer. Because I wanted the  berry to still have it’s color, I used the mask that came with the layer, and painted black over where I wanted the color back in the image.

I still wasn’t crazy about the result, the black and white was too flat and cold.  So, I put my layer that had some color still in it on top of the black and white adjustment and changed the blending mode to luminosity.  Here is a screen shot of what my layers panel looks like for this image:

A screenshot of the layers panel.

A screenshot of the layers panel.

This last step warmed up the image just a bit, which I think it needed.

So, another day of snow, ice, and rain here.  Hope it is nicer where you are! What do you think of my edited photo? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

This Project is Complete, On to the Next One

The last time I wrote about my Pictorialism project in Photoshop class, I was trying to decide which prints to turn in.  I decided on six of them, and of those six, four were chosen to be put on display in the hallway at school.  Of those two, two of them are portraits of my children, so I won’t be posting them here. The two others, you have seen on this blog as they were being created, and here they are on the wall:

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

I first wrote about the bird here.  The version that you see above had an additional step before I printed that I had not written about in that post.  I added another layer in Photoshop. Basically I duplicated the file and changed the blending mode to multiply which made the print darker.  I thought this was necessary because the original print turned out to yellow in my opinion.

The tree I wrote about in a post where I showed a few different versions.  The blue version that is on the wall is also a darker version of what I had originally shown.  I decided I really wanted a deeper shade of blue and so I used a levels adjustment to make it darker, and I also darkened the edges of the photo.

So, this project is complete, come full circle, you might even say.  I’m started now on my next project which is food photography.  I’m sure I’ll be posting about it in the coming weeks.

I know it’s not a major exhibit, but it is always fun to see your work on display don’t you think?

Cheers!

 

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Which Wood Would You Choose?

I had been working on this image when I saw that the travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is wood.  If you, after having looked this post over, have an opinion as to which version you prefer, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Usually I show the original last, but this time that is what I will start with:

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

I took this photo while on a short walk on a very cold day last week.  If you have visited my blog lately you will know that I am working on a project where the aim is to imitate the style of the photogravure.  I wrote about the creation of another winter image in this style here.

For the image above, I created a gold version and a blue version, scrolling down you will see them in that order:

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

Both photos were created in the same basic way in Photoshop but each then has it’s own variations.

First the basics.  Each of these is a three layered file.  The image, a gradient map layer, and a texture layer.  With the original image I went to the channels and created a new alpha channel.  With that active I selected the gradient tool and drug a reflected gradient from the middle of the photo down.  Then back in the layers panel, I chose Filter-Blur-Lens Blur and created the blur using a slider that is in that dialogue box.  Also in that dialogue box I had to check alpha channel as the source, in order for this effect to work the way I wanted it too. From there I created a gradiant map layer and added the color that I wanted to it.  Then I added a layer of texture, by bringing in a background that I had already.

Some ways that the two images differ is that the background texture layer is different on each.  Also the gradient map layer in each image is different.  It’s dark blue to light blue to white in the blue image and black to white in the gold image.  The layers are also stacked a bit differently and set to different settings.  In the gold image it is Gradient Map layer normal, opacity 48%. Image layer, normal, opacity 55%. Texture layer, lighter color, opacity 100%.  For the Blue image it starts with the Texture layer, multiply, opacity 51%, Gradient Map layer normal, opacity 100%. Image layer, normal, 100% opacity. If none of that particularly makes sense to you, I think the takeaway is that the layers can be placed in any order that is appealing to you, and that changes is blending mode and opacity can make a big difference.

The next step in this project is to print.  None of the photos I have created will be larger than 8×10.  Also, instead of photo paper I will be experimenting with a textured drawing paper.  This is something I have not really tried before so I looking forward to seeing what I come up with.

So, if you have made it this far and have an opinion about which image you prefer, please comment below.

Cheers!

 

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Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

In my Photoshop class we are working on a project that is supposed to channel the art of photogravure.  Photographs done in this style are often soft images with a sepia tone and a textured look to them.  To say that is really simplifying things, and the link I provided goes into much more detail and gives many examples if you are interested in taking a peek.

This week I have been busy creating a series of images that hopefully reflect that style.  Here is one:

ISO 200 18mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

ISO 200 18mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

I will show you the original image at the bottom of this post so you can see where I started. It was very cold this week, but I went for a quick walk in a local park looking for an image like this that I could work with.  This photo I shot with my point and shoot camera, because I knew that it could capture an image like this one well.  I also knew that my final print for my project will be a small one, no larger than 8×10.

When I got home, I opened this image in Photoshop.  I created a duplicate layer and then used the Filter-Blur-Field blur to create focus on the plant but blur the background. Then I created a Gradient Map layer. My gradient goes from dark maroon to blue to pale yellow.  Then on another layer I brought in  a background I had that is a journal page.  So those are my three layers, they are stacked in the order that I mentioned them. The plant is in a normal blending mode with an opacity of 45%.  The Gradient Map layer is also in normal blending mode but set at 67%. The journal layer is set to blending mode multiply and 80% opacity.

Here is the original image I was working from:

ISO 200 18mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

ISO 200 18mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

The theme this week for the WordPress photo challenge is juxtaposition, and my take on this theme is to create a single image out of the snowy scene and a journal page, something that you might not think of as being complimentary.  Do you think this combination works? What do you think of my editing? Feel free to leave a comment below. This photo has also been added to my Picfair portfolio.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Going Outside?

I knew I was going to have to go outside, despite the snow and freezing rain.  But before I did that this morning I set up my camera in a window by the bird feeders.  Here is one of my visitors:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

In order to get this shot I am using my tripod and remote shutter.  That way my camera can be close to the window to eliminate glare, but I am not there scaring away the birds.  I used the live view function on my camera which allowed me to see what I was going to take a photo of.  In this case I have also increased my ISO because despite the light of the snow, it was a bit dark.

Once I had this shot, I edited it in Photoshop.  I will show you the original at the bottom of this post, but I started my editing in Bridge and used Camera Raw to adjust the exposure and clarity.  Then I opened the photo in Photoshop and did a levels adjustment and some sharpening.  I also cropped the image. Here is the original:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/9 1/250

As you can see from the snowflakes on the bird, it was actively snowing.  It stopped shortly after so off I went to clear the walk. Hope you are warm wherever you are!

Cheers!

This post was written in response to Daily Prompt: The Outsiders.

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Travel Theme: Birds

Birds. There is a travel theme challenge that I am not going to miss.  One place I love to go and take photographs is World Bird Sanctuary.  Last spring I did a series of ten HDR images that features birds from the sanctuary.  Here is a Tawny Owl:

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

ISO 400 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/250

When I was creating this image, I was interested in accentuating two things.  The first was that this bird had a bath not long before I took this picture and I loved the fact that not all his feather were dry.  Also, I have photographed this bird many times and usually it looks as if he does not have his eyes all the way open.  In order to accomplish these two things, I zoomed in as close as a could to the owls face, and left my depth of field so shallow that not even all the feather are in focus.

I created this image using Photomatix which is software that can help you create HDR images.  So, in order to create the HDR image I combined three exposures of this same photo which I had captured using the exposure bracketing feature of my camera.  HDR can create a lot of really artistic looking effects but for the purpose of this photo, I was just looking to capture as much detail as possible.

I also created a 5×7 card out of this photo:

This is a 5x7 folded card of a Tawny Owl.

I have written about several other of the birds I created in the series.  They are a Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Eastern Screech Owl, Long-crested Eagle, Eurasian-Eagle Owl, and a Barn Owl.

What do you think of my very clean owl? Isn’t  it lovely how many shades of brown and gold he has in his feathers?  Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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