On first impression, the swamp is chaotic. With its high canopy, most of the scene is dark with shadow. The day’s bright sunlight barely filtering through. Large tree trunks, felled by past storms lie at random angles and decay. Walking the boardwalk, I look down into the murky water for alligators, frogs and snakes. I hear a variety of bird calls, but looking around and above me, I cannot spot the birds.
I walk and observe my surroundings for more than an hour. My vision is drawn to the ferns, which spring from the decaying tree trunks and at times fill in a section of the swamp. I see the color, the pattern and the contrast of a narrow trunk, speckled with lichen. I have found a composition. As I work with the image later, I developed a painting. What do you think?
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When travel restrictions keep a photographer at home for months at a stretch, it’s a perfect time to exercise one’s creativity with new ways to process images in the archives. On this sunny day in June, I pulled up one of my favorite images of 2020: my daughter and son-in-law on a dog sled in Wyoming with a stunning background.
I was so happy that my dogsled, traveling just behind Courtney’s sled stopped in an opportune spot for me to frame her sled before tall pines, snow-capped mountains and a happy sky, blue with puffy clouds. And for just one second, Courtney and her husband Scott looked up at me and smiled. The triangular composition gives the scene balance and also offsets the white dogs.
Our winter adventures in Jackson Hole will give us some interesting options for holiday cards this year, and maybe a 2021 calendar. I’m sure your photographs from your family trips bring you joy at this time.
These two White Pelicans flying low and in unison as they come in for a landing remind me of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels performing in a summer air show. As a spectator, I find myself entranced by the tight formation and flying agility.
Having captured this moment in a photograph, I realized that the simple yet striking composition and blue/white color combination would translate well into an oil painting. So, I used my digital paint box to create my best rendering. What do you think?
In the age of iPhone photography, most people seem to think that shooting a photo is all there is to it. Well, first you have to see the image, that is pre-visualize it as an interesting two dimensional image. Next, you have to have a camera or iPhone with you. Third, you need to compose the image and click. Then, many will share the image instantly on social media. Done.
Often you will get pretty cool results with that workflow, but professionals know there is much more to image making. Much expertise goes into lens choice, camera settings for depth of field, selective focus, and then processing. My workflow includes processing first in Adobe Lightroom, then Photoshop, and sometimes even a third application such as Topaz or Nik/Google applications. The impact of this tulip image is the result of my experience with shooting choices as well as processing choices.
A non-photographer will often ask the question, “Is that photoshopped?” as if the question were really, “is it real?” I like to explain that processing a digital photo with image editing software like Lightroom and Photoshop is an essential part of the creative process. I MAKE an image. I don’t just TAKE and image. Using Photoshop to process images is, in fact, my job.
Today Nature is giving us bare trees and gray skies in the Pittsburgh region. I’m thinking back on a more colorful day at Sewickley Heights Park. I captured a photo of the foliage lining Tortilla Flats. Today I made a painting out of it with Topaz Impression. Does this painting make you feel a bit brighter inside?
Who enjoys the hydrangeas the most? Is it the deer? The bees? Me? The good news is that the bees and I can share the love and leave the plant for each other.
The blue hydrangea is a favorite snack for the deer. The bad news: the deer have stripped my garden and only left one bush with beautiful blossoms for me to enjoy.
These two photographs are also good examples of different ways to process an image. In the white one, I was going for a clean and crisp look; for the blue one, I choose a creamy, more painterly look. I choose an approach based on the strong elements of the photo.
Have you ever looked up into a tall Royal Palm and seen pink and yellow highlights? Well, now you have! I hope you enjoy the second image in my series of painterly effects on photographs of tropical plants and scenes. In this work, I began with a strong composition featuring a receding diagonal line leading to a star pattern, and applied a Topaz filter to enhance the lines and colors of the palm tree. The resulting image connotes a brilliant sunny day when you have time to look up and soak up the scenery. Of course, you will be wearing your Lily Pulitzer or a Tommy Bahama fashion statement. How does this image make you feel?
I am looking for input from my followers for what kinds of notecards, tiles and prints to bring to the Sewickley May Mart. Would you be interested in this technicolor palm on a notecard, or a tile, or as a print? Let me hear from you! And if you like this post, please share it on Facebook or your favorite social media outlet.