Category Archives: Special Effects

Face in the Mud

Face Abstract – Valley of Fire, Yellowstone National Park

Photography has taught me to keep my eyes open and be ready to see the unusual.  Walking along a path in Yellowstone’s Valley of Fire, I gazed down into a bubbling hot spring and saw this face looking up at me.  I stopped worked the scene and captured an image.  On my computer, I softened the image and added a little impressionistic touch.  Can you see the face?

Photography, vision, and imagination go hand in hand.

Sometimes I Just Need to Play

Bandon Beach

I just got a new B&W conversion SW plug-in (Macphun Tonality).  I picked out some photos of the beach near Bandon, Oregon to work on.  I played around to explore some of the secondary features.  After converting to B&W I added a “misty/dreamy” look.  I then added a paper texture and a vignette.  Sometimes I just need to play to get my creative juices flowing.

Think Creative

Onomea Falls Water Color

I recently visited the Hawaiian Botanical Gardens, near Hilo, Hawaii.  My mission was to photograph creatively.  I did not focus on the overall beauty of the environment around me.  My focus was on separate scenes, small vignettes, and macro detail while using creative photographic techniques.

For this image, I took multiple exposures covering the range from the bright water and sky to the dark shadows.  When I brought them together into an HDR, all the tonalities were captured. However, I lost the feeling of the dense tropical rainforest setting.  So I decided to play a little with Topaz’s new ‘Studio” software.  I used the watercolor effect to create this image.

I haven’t given up on the natural presentation of this image yet.  It will require a lot of luminance masking with layers to get the natural image that I saw in my mind.  I will do this at a future time when I am in a very patient mood.

See and Play

Sagebrush Swirl

As I look at things, an urge to play sometimes comes over me.  I couldn’t resist, the devil made me do it. I simply did a slow shutter speed circular swirl to capture this interesting abstract.  I tend to see these abstracts when I notice an object with at clear center point and things radiation out from the center.  This sagebrush provided an interesting opportunity.  The following is the sagebrush from a normal perspective.

Sagebrush – Normal Perspective

I enjoy play!

Experimenting

Sagebrush – Straight Out of Camera

This is an experiment to try to create an image that was in my mind when I shot this photo.  The above image is the base image I captured.  The sagebrush seems to blend into the background. I lost the 3D feeling that I had when I saw this bush.  I first tried to add structure to the bush and delete structure from the background.  That did not achieve what I wanted.  I then tried black and white.  That merged the brush with the background even more.  I then tried to blur the background.  That looked to “fakey” to me.  I then blended the blurred B&W to the color image to come with the image below.

Sagebrush – Processed

This came the closest to what I saw  in my mind.

Just Trying Something Different

Grass Clump Abstract

Walking along I spotted this interesting clump of grass.  I immediately thought that it would make a great subject for a hand-held circular pan.  It did.  Sometimes things just pop out in front of me.  These usually turn out to be some of my favorite images.

For reference, below is the grass clump with out the pan.  I like the abstract better.

Just a Clump of Grass

Abstract Fun

Colorado Blue Spruce Abstract 1

Sometimes it is just fun to play around with images.  I knew that I would use various ways of post processing when I first took the image.  Here is one version.  Playing around a little more, I came up with the following abstract :

Colorado Blue Spruce Abstract 2

Practice

160725_JapaneseMaple_AntiqueFuji X-T1, XF 18-135mm @ 18mm, f/8.0, 1/550 sec, ISO 800

My photography has not been very creative lately.  When I get this way, I like to walk around and just practice.  I do not have high expectations and just stop to photograph what catches my eye.  I usually do not carry a tripod with me during these practice shoots.  I use them as a scouting inspiration/exploration endeavor to come back and shoot at a better time.  This image was taken in mid-day light at the Washington Arboretum Japanese Garden in Seattle.  I spent 2 to 3 hours just walking around and enjoying the beautiful garden.  I shot for less than an hour.

Once home, I just started playing around with different processing techniques on a few images. Again, more practice.  This was one of the images that caught my eye.  The original image was full of bright yellows, greens, and some oranges.  I almost did not even try black and white processing.  I wasn’t happy with the standard B&W images either, so I decided to experiment (play) some more.  This sepia with a reverse vignette was the result.

Dogwood Impasto

160421_Dogwood ImpastoMultiple Exposure:  Dogwood Blooms and Asphalt Pavement

I got a little bored shooting in the garden.  Nothing was “Popping” for me.  So I thought I would have a little fun with multiple exposures.  This image is a combination of a Pink Dogwood branch and a texture photo of a section of asphalt pavement.  Magic happens.

To finish it off I decided to experiment a little with Topaz Impression.  Here I used the Impasto I preset.  Something a little different.