Category Archives: Painterly Effects

Beauty of Molokai 1

Art, Color and Beauty are Everywhere

I recently attended a contemplative photography retreat at beautiful Hui Ho’olana on Moloka’i.  The next several posts will be from the retreat.

Beauty was everywhere I looked.  It presented itself along every path, around every corner. It seemed that it was just asking to be photographed.  

Red, green and yellow
Spiked leaves shoot out like a star
Just asking to be noticed

A Different Way of Looking

Sandhill Crane Landing Abstract

Last spring I took 3500 images of Sandhill Cranes near Othello, WA in a 3-day period.  After the trip, I quickly went through and picked a couple of my favorites.  Today, I decided to go back and pick out a few more of my best images.  I found this one of a crane landing in a field.  I used an equivalent of a 600mm lens, but still did not get a good close-up.  This image was further enlarged by a factor of 4.  As expected, the resultant image was not very sharp.

So what can you do with a fuzzy image???  Why not try an abstract processing method.  I used Topaz Impression to get this result.

Lesson Learned:  Don’t take so many darn images.  It is a real pain to review 3500 images. (I am still not done.)  I took a break to post this one.

For reference, below is my original image:

How Van Gogh Would Paint a Boat

Boat Graveyard & Repair Facility – Charleston, Oregon

I spent a couple of hours exploring an old boat graveyard in Charleston, Oregon,  I was fascinated with all the chipped paint on the old boats from a by-gone era.  They had seen a much better time.  I can just imagine the stories these old boats could tell.  I picked an image at random and played with it in Topaz Impression.  I applied a Van Gogh painting style as an overlay.  Today I needed a break from reality


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.

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.

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

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.


Christmas at Fonthill – Conclusion

151231_FonthillChristmas_YellowTreeDetail_Impression by Karl Graf. Fonthill Yellow Room Christmas Tree Impressionistic Detail

This image is an impressionistic perspective of yesterday’s post of the Yellow Room Christmas tree detail.  I used Topaz Impressionism plug in to achieve the look.

This posting ends my series on the Fonthill Castle Christmas Decoration Exhibit.  I hope you have enjoyed the series.  I have enjoyed sharing it.

This probably be my last major project at Fonthill.  I will be moving back to the Washington State next Spring.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at Fonthill starting with a workshop led by my good friend John Barclay.  I want to also thank Ed Reidell and the staff at Fonthill for the opportunities to help out.  It was truly my pleasure.  I enjoyed every moment of it.

Tomorrow starts a New Year.  Every day is a gift to be enjoyed to the fullest.