2019-09-15: Photo Arts – Birds

As much as I had hoped that my photo art topic would allow me to get comfortable with Topaz Studio version 2, I haven’t actually even tried it yet.  Fingers crossed that this week coming up I can make some time to a watch a tutorial or two and get familiar with the program operation, but for now, I have stuck with the original version, and I am really happy with the results of this weeks experiments.

I decided to focus on birds this week, and played around with two basic combinations of software.  The sunbird and hornbill were edited primarily using the Topaz AI Remix module, while the rest were done with Impression (along with the usual basic edits to start for tone, cropping, etc.).

Do you have a favourite this week?

I hope you enjoy, and wishing you a great week ahead.

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Lilac breasted roller
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White bellied sunbird
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White backed vulture
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Ground hornbill
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African wood hoopoe

2019-09-09: Monochrome Monday

Like impala, vervet monkeys can sometimes be seen so frequently from camp and when out on game drives that you stop paying attention to them, or taking the time to take photos of them.  The alarm calls of the vervet monkeys can sometimes lead to predator sightings, so they are definitely an animal worth paying attention to out in the bush.  They are interesting and inquisitive animals, and can often be seen up in the trees near camp buffet tables, trying to work out the best way to steal a muffin.

None of the vervet monkeys in the photos below were up to any such mischief (though I have seen it happen many times).  These were from two different troops that we stopped to spend time with while out on game drives in May.

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2019-09-08: Photo Art – Giraffes

I’m focusing on photo art this month, and decided to start things off focusing on giraffes. The easily recognizable shape of a giraffe meant that no matter how far I took the editing, the shape of the animal would still be recognizable as a giraffe.

Since I don’t have any natural talents in drawing and painting, creating these painterly interpretations from the photographs that I take is my opportunity to set aside the need to keep an image looking realistic, and instead focus on what the image is saying to me.

I hope you like my selections for the week; check back next Sunday to see the next instalment.

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I took this image in a lot of different directions before coming up with this final edit.  It is almost starting to resemble a photograph of a giraffe painted on the fabric.
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The rosy tint and soft focus effects give this image the feel of a vintage photograph.
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Even though they are enormous animals, giraffes have an amazing ability to blend into their surroundings.  I wanted to highlight the camouflage nature of the coat in this edit.
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This giraffe image reminds me of some of the animal paintings I have seen in old stately homes.   

2019-09-02: Monochrome Monday

Today I wanted to share a few of the images that I captured while driving the Panorama Route in South Africa earlier this year.  It’s a beautiful scenic drive with lots of opportunities to stop and take short walks to view waterfalls and breathtaking vistas, like the three rondavels.  If you are travelling to South Africa, it is definitely a day trip worth taking.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the day, and wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

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The three rondavels under stormy looking skies (not a drop of rain fell during the entire time I spent in South Africa though).
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Some of the small waterfalls at Bourke’s Luck Potholes, another stop along the panorama route.
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Berlin Falls

2019-09-01: August in Review

August’s topic of the month

I chose bird’s for the month of August, partially with the (misguided) hope that I would get out shooting some of the local birds.  Unfortunately, work and life got in the way of that, and the hummingbirds have come and gone this year without my taking a single image of them.

I really enjoyed focusing on birds though, and I still have a lot of images to go through, so I am sure it is a topic I am going to revisit.  I did a lot of the bird image edits in Topaz Studio, as I find that the AI Clear function is excellent for bringing out detail in feathers, without the image ending up looking crunchy.  It makes some images so easy to edit it almost feels like cheating!

What’s new this month

All work and no play are making Jen a very dull girl indeed.  That’s not really true; I have been getting out golfing and enjoying the last of the summer-ish weather, but my photography blog is not really the place to be talking about my golf game!  I haven’t picked up my camera a single time the month of August, and I absolutely need to change that moving into September.

5 favourites of the month

 

Head on over to my gallery page for more of my favourite images.

What’s coming up next?

I feel like getting creative this month, so I am going to concentrate on sharing some of my artistic impression images this month.  I have a few I have already flagged as candidates for editing, and am looking forward to the task 🙂  Topaz software, where I generally work on these types of edits, has released a new version of Topaz Studio, and I really need to learn how it works, rather than looking at the icon on my task bar, and using the original version instead.  Hopefully this will force me to spend the time watching a tutorial or two on how the new software works, and get it into my workflow.

For those of you that are printing out the half fold or clipboard style calendar pages, here are your links for September and October:

Full Page Calendar for September & October

Half fold calendar for September & October

2019-08-31: Birds – Shades of Blue

Travelling through southern Africa, pretty much any time of year, will provide the opportunity to see a great variety of birds.  Today I chose to focus on ones with feathers in shades of blue.  I hope you enjoy the variety of images today, and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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A lilac breasted roller
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A burchell’s starling
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A white-bellied sunbird
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A pair of cape glossy starlings
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A green wood-hoopoe
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A cape glossy starling
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A wire-tailed swallow
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A double-collared sunbird
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A lilac breasted roller

2019-08-26: Monochrome Monday

It’s no secret that I love elephants, and that I love editing elephant images in black and white.  Here are a few from my most recent travels.  I hope they brighten up your Monday 🙂

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This little elephant was precocious and kept all of us laughing and smiling as he played with sticks and branches, tossing them over his head.
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A mama guiding her young calf across the road to join the rest of the herd.
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Another adorable youngster; this one was very inquisitive and spent lots of time near the vehicle, seeing what we were all about.
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A large bull elephant in musth.  Our guide was very cautious as this guy approached us on the road, but the elephant turned off into the bushes, after giving his head a dramatic shake at us.
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Drinks stop while Mom graves.

2019-08-25: Red-billed Queleas

It seems a little bit strange creating a blog post that doesn’t actually show you what a red-billed quelea looks like up close.  I don’t think on any of my trips to southern Africa I have managed to get that type of shot.  What I wanted to share with you today was some shots of the stunning murmurations that the quelea display.

These little birds are the most abundant bird species on earth, and many farmers consider them a pest, given the way they can strip a cultivated field in the blink of an eye.  I can understand the devastation that they cause when they end up in cultivated areas on mass, but watching them out in the bush against a colourful sunset is an absolute sight to behold (and definitely one worth putting down the sundowner glass of wine, and picking up the camera).

My only regret is I didn’t switch into video mode at any of these sightings; I’ll put that on my to-do list for the next time. 🙂

I hope you enjoy these images, and wishing you a fantastic week ahead.

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