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

2019-09-08: 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.   

2018-12-09: Artistic Impressions

This week, I felt inspired to play around in Topaz Impressions and create some of my artistic impression images.  Or as I like to say, what I would paint, if I could paint :).

Next week, I am going to try and work with the new AI Sky Enhancer that Luminar just released.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

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A young elephant seen on an early morning game drive.
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A leopard scanning the horizon at sunset in the Okavango Delta.
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A regal lion laying in the tall grass just after sunrise.
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A large warthog moving through camp.
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A fiery sunset – Africa has the most expressive skies!

2018-09-23: Topaz Studio – Week 3

So far I have been concentrating on learning to effectively use Topaz Studio for standard editing, like I would do through On1 Photo Raw or Luminar.  I still have a ways to go to figure out exactly how this would work into my regular workflow, but I decided to do a departure this week and play around with photo art instead.  I watched a few tutorials during the week and one of them featured a new (to me) adjustment called AI Remix.  The effects that the presenter was creating looked really interesting, so that’s where my focus has been this week, along with the more familiar to me adjustments through impression and simplify.

This first image was shot with my Panasonic camera whilst in Botswana, and it was after the sun went down so the image was incredibly dark and noisy; completely unusable as a regular photograph (just being 100% honest).  But, I loved the posture of these two bull elephants jostling in the shallows of the Boteti River, and knew I could make something fun with the image, even if it wasn’t an something that I would traditionally mark as a keeper.

 

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For this image, I did some basic adjustments first to brighten the image and remove some of the noise, and then played around with a combination of AI Remix (Platinum Rose) and Glow.  For me, the posture of the trunks was the most important element of the image, and I feel the boosted saturation of greens and oranges behind the elephants really helps to showcase their shapes.

 

This next image is of a goliath heron.  I wanted to simplify the details without losing all the texture and pattern of the feathers, and bring out colours and tones that reminded me of old film images.  The result looks like a cross between a painting and a snapshot from an old point and shoot camera, but for me the image works.  Perhaps because it brings back memories of the type of pictures I would see around cottage properties when I was younger.

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A goliath heron spotted along the banks of the Boteti River in Botswana.

This last image is bit hectic, but it fits with the subject, the amazing African Wild Dog.  The combination of adjustments I used diffused the background significantly, but in doing so brought out repeating patterns of triangles in the vegetation which corresponds with the triangular shape of the dog’s ears.  It almost feels like the dog rushed through a huge pile of fallen leaves and quickly laid down, while the leaves slowly drifted back down to the ground.

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Creating painterly images or abstracts from photos isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is something I enjoy playing around with once in a while.  Topaz Studio definitely provides a lot of different options to use to create these types of images.  Because I own the Topaz plug-in collection, I have access to a lot of these tools that aren’t available within the free portion of the software.  The AI Remix adjustment is one that I currently have on trial, and it’s something I would need to experiment more with to figure out if it is a tool I’ll want to have available once the trial period is over.

2018-05-27: Painterly Effects Project – Elephants

Anyone that has read this blog more than once or twice is familiar with my love of elephants.  So it should come as no surprise that I have created a painterly effects project using elephant images.

I’ve really enjoyed working with elephant images this week, as the large, recognizable shape has allowed me to work with some very abstract settings, without compromising the ability to know what it is you are looking at.

I hope you enjoy my images for the week, and wishing you the best for a positive and happy week ahead.

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A pair of young elephants greet each other with affection.
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A pair of bull elephants test each others strength in the shallows of the river.
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Follow me.
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A herd of elephants gathered at a dam.  This is an 8 shot stitched panorama.
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Mother and daughter stealing a drink from a broken pipe.

 

2018-05-20: Painterly Effects Project – Namibia

I was inspired this week to explore images from Namibia with my painterly effects project for the month.  In the brief time I have spent there, I have found it to be a magical place. The light is beautiful and the landscapes are at times surreal.  From the air, the vast open spaces seem lifeless, but on the ground, it is a completely different story.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the week.

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A group of oryx walking in front of one of the impressive dunes in Sossusvlei.
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A lone elephant moves through the desert, looking to catch up to her herd that had already reached the river.
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Sunset over the desert in Hoanib.
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A group of flamingos in flight over the Skeleton Coast.
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The land of vast deserts sometimes surprises with lush greenery.  This lion was lounging in the cool grass with the rest of his pride nearby.
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Large groups of seals awaited us when we visited the Skeleton Coast from Hoanib Camp.  Inland it was a clear, blue sky day, but on the coast, fog and mist obscured the view.
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A group of lions, newly evicted from their pride, roaming through Etosha National Park.
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In Damaraland, you can easily feel like you are the only people for miles around.

 

2018-05-06: Topic of the month – Painterly Effects

To some, using software to make a photo look as if it were sketched or painted may seem like an abomination.  Photographers often go to great lengths (sometimes at great expense) to create sharp and crisp images that show the viewer exactly what the scene looked like.  But what about those times when that beautifully crisp, perfectly exposed image doesn’t convey the feeling of the moment?  Or, heaven forbid, what if you goof up on the exposure, or mess up the focus a bit, but the moment was great and you still want to do something  with the image?  These are just some of the reasons for exploring painterly effects with photography.  I’ve edited photos in the past for all those reasons and while I don’t post them too often, I do have a gallery of my favourite Artistic Impressions or Photo Art images.

This week, I was inspired by a vintage style travel poster I have had hanging up for around the last 12 years or so.  I see it every time I walk towards my sitting room; this week I was struck by the interest in creating a photo series inspired by it, whereas most of the time I just look at it and think “I really want to go to the Serengeti someday”.

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A quick snap of the poster that inspired this week’s editing.

I decided to do a series of Big 5 animals; I can imagine these in a vintage travel brochure advertising visiting the “Dark Continent” to see the wild and ferocious Big 5.  I edited all of them using the Topaz Simplify filter through the Topaz Studio program.

I hope you enjoy!

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