“Digital Painting or Not?”

Well, I’ve been having some fun recently with my processing. I don’t know if I’ve been just feeling winter blahs or is it that I just feel the need to do something new, but whatever it is, I found some new inspiration by trying something different in my processing.

My first go to, in my workflow is always Lightroom, and quite often after that, OnOne Software as well. In the past week or so, I’ve been having a whole lot of enjoyment experimenting with many of the Topaz Plugins, like Topaz Impression, and Topaz ReStyle. In this post I used Topaz Impression.

I have created special galleries for my “Photographic Art”  and “digital Painting”  here in these links. I have just a few images at the moment, but am adding to them pretty quickly.  You can check out these here too for more Photographic art . It’s not that I plan to be doing this form of processing all of the time, I don’t. It will never replace my normal processing of my photographs, but it did give me a change to have some fun, look at things from a new perspective and have a new creative outlet, especially during this winter.

In this first image you’ll see the lovely Charlevoix Michigan Marina,  it’s a very peaceful image in my opinion. I love it as a simple photograph, it has a nice soothing blue color and  quiet mood. If you’d like to see other images of Charlevoix as well as other Small Town images you can find them here in  The Small Town .

I decided to take that same photograph and do something different with it. I brought into Topaz Impression, and chose one of the oil painting presets in order to give me a starting point. After that, I used sliders to make a lot of adjustments, including those to paint saturation, type of brush used, brush stroke sizes, paper or canvas texture, vignette, and many more.

My final product was this beautiful digital oil painting! I kept the blue tones, the shimmer of light on the water, and the feeling of motion on the water as well. I added lots of texture, brush strokes and a slightly fanciful feeling.

 

"Blue Hour Oil Painting" The same image above, but processed as a digital oil painting.
“Blue Hour Oil Painting”
The same image above, but processed as a digital oil painting.

 

I had also been doing a lot of processing of spring buds, blossoms and flowers recently. These were images from last year when we had an abundance of blossoms!

In this first image a simple photograph of crab-apple blossoms of varying hues, and stages of blooming, with a lovely bokeh in the background, I first processed this ever so slightly, in Lightroom. It didn’t really need much work in my opinion, it was a beautiful floral in pink.

 

On the spur of the moment one evening, I decided to turn it into a digital oil painting. Again, I used Topaz Impression and one of the Oil Painting presets as a starting point. I did a lot of experimenting with the sliders until I came up with what I feel is a lovely image that has a lot of color, depth, and a  feeling of movement.

 

I know many of you have tried this type of processing before, and there are also some of you would never try it, as it feels to be untrue to the original photograph.

I would enjoy hearing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with your processing forays and journeys.

In the end it is up to each of us to find new ways to keep inspired, to get our groove back, or maybe just try something purely for fun.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these images and might even be inspired to try something new yourself! 🙂

 

"Pink Bling" Lovely colorful pink crab-apple blossoms from last spring.
“Pink Bling”
Lovely colorful pink crab-apple blossoms from last spring.

 

"Pink Floral Oil Painting" The same image as above, but processed as a digital oil painting.
“Pink Floral Oil Painting”
The same image as above, but processed as a digital oil painting.

“Crystal Plumage”

The title of this post might seem a bit strange when you see this first photograph of some beautiful yet very simple leaves on a row of plants. In fact, I have no idea what these plants are.

I had originally gone out looking for some late summer flowers. Unfortunately it turned out to be a pretty windy day. The few flowers that I found weren’t very cooperative in the wind.

As I went around to the other side the garden I found rows of these leaves. They had a really nice flow to them. My first inclination, after making one simple photograph was to do a long exposure and have a nice motion blur effect. I made three photographs using different exposures.

My favorite out of the ones I made was the second image you’ll see here. It had just the right silky flow that I envisioned in my mind.

Please scroll down to see that image and also the image that gave me the idea for the title to this post.

These are beautiful leaves by themselves with a nice flow.

"Long Leaves"
“Long Leaves”

In this image I used a slightly longer exposure to blur the motion and give it a soft, silky, and flowing feel.

"Ride the Wind"
“Ride the Wind”

What I did in this next image is a different story altogether.

"Crystal Plumage"
“Crystal Plumage”

After I had processed the previous photograph in Lightroom, I decided to reprocess it again in Lightroom for a totally different effect.
I played around with solarization a bit, which I have done many times before with certain types of plants, especially succulents and cactus. However I almost always process these in monochrome.                                                              This time as I was trying out the different colors and effects, I found that I really liked the way the blur of leaves took on a look of bird plumage! Maybe some exotic bird from a far away location! The colors are of course totally unlike the original, but to me they looked like Crystal Plumage!

So if  you are a Lightroom user, but haven’t yet tried out the solarization panel,  I advise you to give it a try for something really fun and different!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos! 🙂

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“IDS and Foshay Towers Minneapolis”

On my last visit to Minneapolis MN. I spent a day in this beautiful city just wondering around the streets essentially with my eye to the sky.

My original destination was The Foshay Tower, which I went to first. I toured the inside, then went to the observation deck for the spectacular view from the top. I love the historical aspect of the architecture there! You’ll see the Foshay Tower in the last image.

The IDS Tower was the building that called for my attention next! It’s such a lovely building with it’s glass facade, angles, and height. Two of the images below are from one frame and processed differently. The third image is from a slightly different angle of the same building that reveals some of the reflections of other structures in the area.

I really like the sharp edges and deep contrast of the architecture of the IDS Tower itself. When processing I also used high contrast in these two images, whether color or monochrome. Only the last image is done in a softer tone.

The IDS Tower is 57 stories tall, it became the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis when it surpassed the height of the Foshay Tower, which is 32 stories tall. This happened in 1972, which then ended the Foshay Tower’s 43-year reign over the Minneapolis skyline. In addition to being a lot taller, The IDS Tower occupies much more real estate than the Foshay does. The Foshay Tower was desighed to look more like the Washington Monument so it has an obelisk-like look to it.

Enjoy these images from a small part of Minneapolis as you look to the sky. Be careful don’t strain your neck! 😉

"IDS Tower Framed" mono
“IDS Tower Framed” mono

“IDS Tower Framed” mono

"IDS Tower Framed"
“IDS Tower Framed”

“IDS Tower Framed”

"IDS Tower Reflections" mono
“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

"Foshay Tower" monochrome
“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Nissan Juke Nismo”

As promised in my last post, I would bring you more images from the 2014 Detroit NAIAS that happened last month.

The first image is a full color detail, or abstract of the Nissan Juke Nismo. A sporty little high performance car from Nissan. I felt particularly drawn to it for its lines, curves, and beautiful sleek details.

I love doing this type of abstract from automobiles. You’ll find quite a few of my images done in this way. They make such great subjects!!

This image was processed in Lightroom, and a quick bounce into Nik Color Effex Pro before coming back into Lightroom for the final touches.

"Nissan Juke Nismo"
“Nissan Juke Nismo”

This next image is of the same car (Nissan Juke Nismo). I processed it first in Lightroom, then in Nik Silver Effex Pro to give it a nice monochrome polish! I usually go with a straight Selenium finish on cars, which is cooler in tone, but this time I decided to go a bit warmer before bringing it back into Lightroom to finish it off.

-Nissan Juke Nismo-  1 mono  900by700
“Nissan Juke Nismo” mono

I hope you enjoy these two images. I might bring you some architectural photography next week, as that happens to be what I’m currently working on! 🙂

“Free Form”

Going back to last spring, we had an abundance of beautiful flowers and blossoms. Thanks in part to plenty of snow in winter, and lots of rainfall in early spring. I have just finished processing all of my floral images from that time period! Finally! 😉

These two images are a Magnolia abstract. I first processed the color version, then decided it would do well as monochrome too.

I like them both equally. What do you think? Are the deep hues of pink and burgundy better with this subject, or does it take on a different quality in monochrome?

Enjoy! 🙂

-Free Form-  mono

-Free Form-

“Raindrops on Springtime”

As you can see, I’m still trying to get in some more spring images before fall arrives, and being that it is now September 1st, well it’s certainly on our doorstep!!

In May, I found large areas of beautiful bright pink Azaleas in Virginia. This day happened to be a rainy one, which played really nicely with the flowers.

For the most part I’ve been processing them in color, but I decided to do one in monochrome. This one was processed first in Lightroom, then in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

There isn’t a lot of contrast here, but I like the tone on tone look to it. When adding more contrast, it seemed to detract somehow from the flowers themselves.

Take a look, and see how you like it!! 🙂

-Raindrops on Springtime- mono

“Rockin the Terraplane”

This post is a really simple one. I have an image of a really cool Terraplane. Don’t ask me the year, for I haven’t a clue! Well maybe a 1935. Feel free to let me know! 🙂

This baby is gorgeous Ruby Red!! I processed it first in color, then again in B&W using Nik Silver Efex Pro.
I tend towards the color version, but I do like the way it processed in the monochrome also!

Your mission should you chose to accept is to………………let me know which image you prefer and why. 🙂

“Ruby Red Terraplane”

-Ruby Red Terraplane-

“Ruby Red Terraplane” mono

-Ruby Red Terraplane- mono

“Cascading White” B&W

While doing some botanical photography recently I took a quick stop at the orchid section of the conservatory before heading to the desert climate area for some succulent images.
I thought I’d like to process these orchids in a strictly black and white form, giving them more of a contrast. They really came out with what I feel is a contrast of darkness and light in a very literal sense!
On 500px I uploaded a very similar image, although not the same one, but in color if you’d like to take a look at that.
So if you’re having a dark and rainy today like we are, and want some some black and white drama, here’s the image for you. All we need is a little thunder and lightening to go with it! 😉

 Orchids in monochrome

Orchids in monochrome

“Sunlit Fern”

Quite often as many of you also probably do. I process an image in more than one way. Sometimes it may be variations of clarity, vibrance, removal of noise, etc. Other times, as in the case of this image, it was a conversion from color, to monochrome, than back to color again. I started with a very sunlit fern with quite direct overhead lighting, which was pretty harsh.

When I decided to process it, after messing around in color, I felt it really worked better in monochrome. I played around with it using solarization, but decided against that. I processed using settings in Lightroom, Nik Color Efex Pro, and then Nik Silver Efex Pro with a final toning in selenium for the first image.

At first I was going to leave well enough alone and have just the monochrome version, but then I got a hankering to go back and re-process the original color one also. I again used a combination of Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro. What I came out with is a very vibrant and leafy green bit of fern fronds.

I like both versions equally as well, but in different ways. Which one do you like better? Which one gives you the feeling you’d like to see when thinking about ferns? Feel free to let me know your thoughts! 🙂

A Fern in monochrome.
A Fern in monochrome.
A Fern in full color.
A Fern in full color.

“Solarization: A How To”

After doing several images recently, that were monochromatic in nature. I was asked by quite a few people just how I made the images. I thought I’d give a short explanation of what I did with this image.

This will give you a idea and an example of what you could achieve using this particular method in monochrome. This can be used in color also, but I was going for something very different in an abstract, and chose to go with monochrome.

In this first image of the lovely succulent, what I assume is a type of Aloe Vera. I initially imported in into Lightroom, made no adjustments at all, but sent it directly into Nik Color Efex Pro. There I gave it a standard tonal contrast, and boosted the highlights and saturation a bit. I then used the Solarization setting. I scrolled down to the first setting in monochrome in the row, (after already having experimented previously with other settings). I slid the slider for saturation from 50 back to 20, and then experimented with the time lapse slider setting until I was satisfied at 39. Doing this gave me what I wanted in general. I knew all it needed was just a bit more fine tuning.

I then sent it back into Lightroom and straight into Nik Silver Efex Pro on the standard setting. I then took the brightness and toned it down to -8, I changed the contrast by sliding the slider down to -4, and then boosted the structure just a bit up to +8. At that point I knew it was ready for some toning. I chose to go with number 4 Selenium. I like the Selenium a lot for certain images. It has a nice metallic shininess to it!

Finally after sending it back into Lightroom for the last time, I boosted the clarity up by +22, and the vibrance by +1, I also took the exposure down to -0.05. My image was then ready to export!

So, in the first image “Thorns of White”, you’ll see a pretty Aloe Vera plant of green, with red tips, and white spines or thorns growing all over it, almost like little teeth!

In the final version in which I had used solarization, the image is called “Thorns of Black”. As you can see it took on an almost metallic and shiny feel to it, with a smoother look in general. Also the thorns, or spines became black, which gives it a nice contrast!

I hope you enjoy these images. I certainly had a lot of fun working with them!!

Succulent- color version
Succulent- color version
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.
Succulent using solarization and monochrome toning.