“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.

“2015 My Year in Review”

Here we are at the end of 2015, and what a year it’s been! As I’ve done for the past four years in a row, I am posting my favorite images of this past year. Not necessarily the best, but my personal faves. It was hard to narrow it down to only ten, but I finally did after a lot of going back and forth. These are not in any particular order and are of several different subjects. I hope you enjoy them! If you would like to look at my 2014 year in review you can check that out here. Best of 2014

Jim Goldstein in his Blog Project has hosted the year in review or top 10 images on his blog for a number of years, and I always look forward to it!  There are photographers from all around the world with amazing images! I hope you’ll check out his blog and take a look at the wonderful array of photographers and gather inspiration from their images! His post should be up in the early part of January 2016!

"Kayaking at Miners Falls" Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!
“Kayaking at Miners Falls”
Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!

 

"Great Lakes Autumn Waves" A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!
“Great Lakes Autumn Waves”
A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!

 

"One Very Fine Day" This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!
“One Very Fine Day”
This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!

 

"Life is But a Dream" This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!
“Life is But a Dream”
This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!

 

 

"My Sweet Lady" This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!
“My Sweet Lady”
This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!

 

"Grape Hyacinth"2 One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!
“Grape Hyacinth”2
One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!

 

"Beautiful Cedar Falls" I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!
“Beautiful Cedar Falls”
I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!

 

"Afternoon in Shades of Gray" This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!
“Afternoon in Shades of Gray”
This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!

 

"Sweet Potato Mash" I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!
“Sweet Potato Mash”
I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!

 

"Song of Light" A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh- nature abstracts this year!
“Song of Light”
A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh-licious abstracts this year!

 

As we end this year and head into 2016, I’d like to wish everyone and their families all the best in the New Year. I wish you all good health, good times, plenty of adventures and family to enjoy it with!

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.  ~ Edward Abbey ~

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

 

 

“Garden Bench Floral”

While anxiously awaiting the dawn of what I hope will be a springtime full of abundant blossoms and flowers, I thought I’d take a moment and share an image from last summer.

This winter has been quite long, and even though the calender says spring, it still feels and looks more like winter.

This lovely garden bench with flowers growing around and through it, gives a glimpse of good times to come. An image from the garden during the most prolific time here, which is late summer.

I included some garden quotes and proverbs below. Enjoy!

"Garden Bench Floral"
“Garden Bench Floral”

A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
~ Victor Hugo ~

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.
~ David Hobson ~

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
~ Greek proverb ~

Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.
~ Allan Armitage ~

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!
~ Irish Blessing ~

“Winter Forest”

On a very very cold winters walk not too long ago, I ventured out towards the woods. The trees and everything else I could see, was covered in gorgeous glistening Rime Ice. Well, I say Rime Ice because it didn’t seem to meet the conditions for Hoar Frost. If you think you can tell the difference, feel free to leave me a note!

The sun had only been up for a short while when I first went out, but by the time I reached this location it had been out for a while. Still low enough though to capture the beauty of the sunlight on the branches. There were some pretty nice long shadows on the snow also.

I came away with totally frozen fingers despite wearing gloves, but it sure was lovely! We’ve had so many dreary winter days so far this winter. Today happened to be one of them, but on this day here, the sun was shining brightly with pure blue skies.
At least for a couple of hours or so till the clouds moved it! 😉

"Frosty Forest"
“Frosty Forest”

Beautiful sunlight on frosty trees.

"Forest Shadows"
“Forest Shadows”

Sunlight through frosty trees and long shadows on the snow! I decided to go monochrome on both of these images. I think it works well here. How about you?

“If This then That”

Maybe you’re wondering what I mean with the title “If This then That”. Well many times when I see an object, which in this case is the (This), my mind immediately goes to the idea of (then That). Which translates into making that object an abstract. As some of you might know, I really love free flowing form!

During the fall there were many times I’d see really colorful trees, but not the kind that would make a beautiful macro, or even a full tree photograph. These trees or leaves were not without a lot of flaws, they might have been diseased, or maybe it was really low light as it was almost dark.

Here below are two examples of  simple trees with fall color, and also two examples of the abstract motion blur images that I made out of those trees.

If you enjoy abstract photographs, then I think you’ll enjoy these!

 

Here are the fall leaves, I honestly have no clue what kind of tree this is.

"Fall Leaves"
“Fall Leaves”

 

Then this is “Pirouette”, a free form, flowing abstract.

"Pirouette"
“Pirouette”

 

These are yellow leaves of some sort, and red berries.

"Yellow Leaves and Berries"
“Yellow Leaves and Berries”

 

Then this is the golden yellow abstract I made called “Swirling Autumn”

"Swirling Autumn"
“Swirling Autumn”

If for some reason you’ve never tried any abstract photography, motion blur, tree panning, or anything with a longer shutter speed. I urge you to give it a try.
The subject certainly doesn’t have to be leaves or trees. You can literally take just about anything and make into something very free-form, light spirited, and fun!

Get out there and have a great time! 🙂

 

 

“Simple Garden Delights”

These are just a few of my simple garden delights.

This toadstool sprouted up one morning after quite a few days of rain and damp weather. I watched it grow from infancy to old age in a matter of four days. What a marvelous, yet simple thing to behold. Each day I eagerly waited to see what its next state of maturation would look like. All the time hoping no harm would befall it, and worrying that I might come out to find it crushed or destroyed.

"Toadstool"
“Toadstool”

On a late summer evening not long before sunset as I walked among the flowers, I made my way through the beds of roses and this lovely lady in pink gave me reason to stop enjoy her delicate scent and marvel at her wonders.

"Lady Pink"
“Lady Pink”

Early morning dew has a way of casting its magic across any landscape. In the grass, way down low, I lay quietly. I knew I would be covered with the wetness of the ground, but that didn’t matter. There was a whole world of dancing lights at my disposal. From near to far I watched as the sun rose higher until everything was golden and glistening! A tiny glorious moment in time, twinkling forever!

"Sparkling Morning Dew"
“Sparkling Morning Dew”

These small moments alone with nature are so important. They give us the much needed connection to something greater than ourselves. The time to simply watch and listen to the world around us. A few moments away from the rush of our lives, and the constant connection to technology that we are so immersed in.

What simple things delight you, make you curious? What do you enjoy in this wonderful natural world around us?

“How Soon is Too Late?”

I love this quote!  —–>” You can never do a kindness to soon because you never know how soon it will be too late”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
This one is a personal favorite of mine.  None of us are ever assured of what will happen next in our lives. We don’t know when we might lose someone near and dear to us. We also don’t know when our time on this planet is finished.

There’s no better time than the present to let someone know how much you love them and care about them. There’s no better time than now to do a kind deed for someone or maybe offer them help.

Everyone will only pass this way once, and we have just this life to do the best that we can for ourselves,  for other people around us and if possible to help others less fortunate than ourselves around the world.

How sad it would be if we had years to make amends to someone, but didn’t , or even just mend a broken relationship, but never tried. Life is so short!

Let the people you love, know it, and do it now. Hug your children now, and do it often. Is there a friend you haven’t spoken to in years?  How about giving them a call?

Try to help someone in need. Do a kindness for a stranger. There are so many ways that we can connect to our fellow human beings.

We are all on this giant blue ball in space. We are all brothers and sisters to each other. No matter where we live, no matter our circumstances, we are all connected to each other in an inescapable way.

So take some time to spread some love and cheer. We are not guaranteed anything, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, so show some kindness and love, and do it now before you lose your chance.

In a way it is like these lovely pink peonies. They bloom in such gorgeous abundance, but only once a year. They can only flourish if they’ve been nurtured and cared for. If they don’t receive enough water, if there is too much sun, or maybe too little. If the winter is too harsh or the soil too poor, they may not come back again.

We must care for these flowers. We must care for the gardens that contain them. We must care for each other and make sure that we as a world, we as human beings are nourished from within our souls as well as our bodies, and try to do our best to help others to enjoy these same pleasures and ideals that we are so lucky to have.

 

"Feeling Pink"
“Feeling Pink”

Again….. “You can never do a kindness to soon because you never know how soon it will be too late”

“Robert Frost in Michigan”

One of my favorite poets of all times is Robert Frost. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might already know that! 😉

Frost wrote so many wonderful poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken”.

Most people associate Robert Frost with living in and being from New England only, but what you might not know is that he also spent a bit of time in Ann Arbor Michigan, and loved it!

In 1921 Frost accepted a 5,000 fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He once said to a friend of his “I like Michigan people and I like Michigan”.  He stayed in Ann Arbor at the University lecturing, attending receptions and arranging poetry readings with other American poets of the time, and meeting with groups of students.

He used to love to wander the streets of Ann Arbor at night when he couldn’t sleep, which was often because he suffered quite badly from insomnia. On one of those walks he found a Greek Revival House that he thought was “charming”. This house which used to be in Ann Arbor on Pontiac Trail became his residence while here. The house was later moved to preserve it’s history and is now located at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan.

This is the house as it looks today at Greenfield Village:

"Robert Frost House"
“Robert Frost House”

 

Frost wrote two poems during his stay in Ann Arbor.  The first one is:

SPRING POOLS

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

“Spring Pools”  captures the natural rhythm of seasons in transition with flowing water and reflections as well as the transformation of  flowering tree buds to the deep dark green foliage of the summer woods.

"Time to Reflect"
“Time to Reflect”

 

This poem was written around the time he had a bout with the flu. He took to writing at that time for three full days. He stayed in this house  by a roaring fireplace on the couch and wrote, quite enjoyably to his hearts content!

In a conversation with Edward Latham a number of years later, Frost recalled the circumstances of that writing: “I lived out on Pontiac Trail then. One night I sat alone by my open fireplace and wrote Spring Pools. It was a very pleasant experience, and I remember it clearly, although I don’t remember the writing of many of my other poems.”

In the 1920s Frost became quite a well known figure in Southeast Michigan. He lived in this house from about 1924 through 1926.

I mentioned before, that he wrote two poems while in Ann Arbor. The other poem is called “Acquainted with the Night”, which I won’t insert into this post right now. I might bring that at another time with an image that reflects his words.

Robert Frost did also mention that He felt as though he did some of his best and most creative writing while in Ann Arbor!

I personally think that is really awesome!! 🙂

 

“Trillium”

This post is about one of my favorite wildflowers, Trillium. I have seen it many times, but was never able to capture it.

I was really excited this spring when I was able to spend plenty of time in the woods with not just Trillium but also many other wildflowers.

I found white, pink, red, and purple trillium. I found it in huge amounts! I called it Millions of Trillium! 🙂

This happened to be in both the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and in the Northern lower part also.

These images are of one flower, processed in color and in monochrome.

I hope you enjoy Trillium also, and for those of you who haven’t seen it, or are still on the quest to find it… here it is!! 🙂

"Trillium in Light Purple"
“Trillium in Light Purple”
"Trillium" monochrome
“Trillium” monochrome

“Blue Rail Sunset”

Just a quick post tonight. I grabbed this sunset a couple of weeks ago out in Grand Haven MI. It was totally last minute. I had driven through a rain storm from another location on Lake Michigan. The clouds broke up quite suddenly, and I raced to get to this particular pier in Grand Haven as fast as I could.

As soon as I parked the car, I literally just grabbed my camera and headed to the pier. I didn’t have time for a tripod, I quickly got in as many images as I could before everything was totally gone. There were quite a few fishermen and others on the jetty in front of me in silhouette enjoying the view as well. It seems a lovely place to be for any sunset! The hues were gorgeous and deep. I was very happy that I was able to catch these last bits of color because the rain started up again just as I finished, and it didn’t stop until the next day!

Enjoy!

"Blue  Rail Sunset" Sunset in Grand Haven MI.
“Blue Rail Sunset”
Sunset in Grand Haven MI.