As I departed Tiny Marsh the other day, due to the heavy rains, I came upon this old truck that was rusting away beside a storage shed with colorful turquoise aluminum siding and an old collection of tires perfectly lined up in front of the truck. Since the rain had slowed to a steady drizzle at this point in my travels home I stopped to create a couple of images of the scene from the side of the road. I knew when I arrived home I would use Topaz Adjust 5 to grunge the old wreck. For this type of rendering I will select one of the ‘Detail’ presets and using heavy-handed slider settings create the grunge-look achieved in the photo above. I find the grunge-look for old wrecks to be most addictive but finding old wrecks like this can be like looking for a needle-in-a-haystack.
Archive for the ‘Software Solutions’ Category
Posted in Frogs and Toads, Landscapes, Software Solutions, Wetlands, tagged abandoned trailer, color efex pro 4, landscape photography, nature photography, nik software, ontario, photography, photoshop plugins, stock photography on May 31, 2012 | 3 Comments »
After photographing so many frogs and toads this year I have decided that I would like to live a simpler, amphibious sort of life-style….and I just found the perfect piece of real estate. What do ya think?
Seriously though…I processed this abandoned trailer with Nik Software’s photoshop plugin Color Efex Pro 4 and ran the image through the ‘tonal contrast’ filter twice for a quick, down and dirty grunge look.
Posted in Landscapes, Software Solutions, Uncategorized, tagged color efex pro 4, landscape photography, nature photography, nik software, ontario, photography, winter, winter photography on March 1, 2012 | 7 Comments »
Above is a recently optimized photo from a couple of weeks ago. The Innisfil Creek is a small stream that flows through farmland and woodlots near my home in south central Ontario. I love to shoot winter details such as these. Often interesting patterns can be found in the ice formations along small streams and rivers at this time of year. I find over-cast conditions usually produce the best results, although some sunlit scenes can work well also, as you can see in the image below. What is different about these images is the way I have chosen to process the image files. After making the basic adjustments that I normally do in Adobe Camera Raw, I bring the image file into Adobe Photoshop CS5 and go straight for my favorite, recently upgraded, plugin from Nik Software – Color Efex Pro 4. My two favorite filters that are found within Color Efex Pro 4 are ‘Tonal Contrast’ and ‘Detail Extractor’. Both images in this post were tweaked with just a light handed use of each filter. If you haven’t tried this amazing plugin I urge you to download the trial version and give it a go. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results and will want to make it a regular part of your workflow for optimizing your image files. Download the trial version here and use the code ‘BAA’ to save yourself 15% if you decide to purchase a copy.
Posted in Landscapes, Software Solutions, tagged aux sables river, chutes provincial park, hdr, lake superior, lake superior provincial park, landscape photography, nature photography, oloneo photo engine, ontario, photography on September 20, 2011 | 4 Comments »
I have always been hesitant to give HDR imagery a try. Recently, I became aware of Oloneo Photo Engine and was very impressed with how natural images processed with this software looked. On my recent trip to Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park I decided to try a few scenes as HDR to see how they would turn out when processed with Oloneo Photo Engine. I was quite impressed with how easy the software was to use and how natural the end results were. The image above of the sunset at Katherine Cove is a 5 frame (-2,-1, 0, +1 & +2) HDR composition. In the image below, as I was photographing the Aux Sables River in Chutes Provincial Park, which was on my route of travel while driving to Lake Superior, the sun broke through the clouds creating rather unpleasant contrast within the scene. I decided to shoot 3 frames at -1, 0 & +1 as an experiment to see how the scene would be rendered after processing the image files with Oloneo Photo Engine. So far I am very pleased with this HDR software for keeping my landscape imagery looking as natural as possible. However, when I am seeking the grunge look it is hard to beat Photomatix. A 30-day trial is available from Oloneo Photo Engine so that you may try out the software before deciding to buy.
Posted in Black & White, Creative Visions, Software Solutions, tagged abitibi river, b&w effects, creative visions, kakabeka falls, killarney, muskoka, ontario, photography, photoshop plugins, stock photography, topaz on September 10, 2011 | 6 Comments »
Since downloading Topaz Labs B&W Effects, I have been experimenting with the various presets and sliders, to fine tune the treatment of each individual photograph. I absolutely love the detail and detail boost sliders for creating a HDR-ish, grunge-like effect. I am also becoming rather fond of the transparency slider for revealing a touch of colour from the original capture, for a desaturated appearance. While I am still experimenting with the program, here are a few recent images that I have applied Topaz B&W Effects too.
Posted in Black & White, Landscapes, Software Solutions, tagged black & white effects, black and white photography, landscape photography, nature photography, ontario, photography, photoshop plugins, stock photography, topaz labs on August 31, 2011 | 4 Comments »
After reading Denise Ippolito’s blog today announcing the release of the new photoshop plugin from Topaz Labs called Black & White Effects I downloaded the software and immediately began using it on several images to familiarize myself with the interface and found that I particulary liked how it performed on some of my images from last spring, as I made my way around several of the waterfalls found along the Niagara Escarpment near Hamilton and Grimsby. For most of my B&W conversions I use Nik Software’s Silver Efex and absolutely love the results, but with the release of Black & White Effects I now have another tool in my image optimization toolbox.
Posted in Creative Visions, Fractalius, Software Solutions, Tips and Techniques, tagged a guide to creative filters and effects, creative adventure, creative filters, denise ippolito, fotosketcher, fractalius, mini world, photography, photoshop plugins, stock photography on April 14, 2011 | 2 Comments »
I am lagging behind in my blog posts lately as I have been busy photographing the frogs that have begun to sing in the vernal ponds behind my rural home. In addition to my recent adventures in the frog pond, I have been enjoying Denise Ippolito’s eBook “A Guide To Creative Filters and Effects” and very inspired by her creativity. If you want one book on how to create stunning artistic renderings of your photographs, buy this book. There is a wealth of tips and techniques packed into the 166 pages, with before and after images to accompany them. Towards the end of the book you will find links to the various photoshop plugins and stand-alone filters discussed within the book’s pages. Some of these filters are free downloads while some require a purchase. Denise is a highly accomplished photographer and a moderator for the “Out Of The Box” forum at BirdPhotographers.net. I am often left in awe with her creative, artistic renderings. The images in this post were all created using various techniques and filters discussed in this amazing guide. To find out more about this guide and to purchase your copy please click here. To follow Denise’s adventure in creativity check out her blog in the link on the side-bar. I can’t wait to try the Flaming Pear “Twist” and “Swerve” filters next. Thanks a ton for sharing your creativity Denise!
Posted in Fractalius, Software Solutions, tagged creative effects, fractalius, landscape photography, nature photography, photography, photoshop plugins, stock photography on March 26, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Fractalius is such an addictive Photoshop plugin. I can’t help myself! Here is a collection of some recently fracted images.For most of the photographs I used either the “Glow 100″ or the “Rounded” presets within the Fractalius plugin and then tweaked the sliders for the desired effect. I always apply this plugin on a background layer in photoshop so that I can reduce the filter’s effect further by reducing the opacity of the background layer if I choose to do so. Most often I do reduce the effect further.
Posted in Birds, Software Solutions, tagged bird photography, Birds, cayo largo, cuba, lake ontario, mallard duck, mallards, nature photography, ontario, pelicans, photography, remask 3, stock photography, topaz labs, toronto on January 28, 2011 | 4 Comments »
I am by no means a computer genius and my photoshop skills are a little limited also. I tend to learn the techniques needed to achieve the results I am seeking. One such technique I have never mastered is masking to remove complicated objects or to change backgrounds for creative reasons. Recently Topaz Labs introduced Remask 3 which really simplifies the masking process. To find out more about this useful plugin click here. I have posted a couple of before and after examples of how this plugin was used to improve the photos.
In the Mallard drake images below I have always loved the pose of this duck as it came in for a landing on the frozen water of Lake Ontario in Toronto, but the white band of snow on the ice is very distracting and has always annoyed me. After masking the Mallard I was able to easily clean-up the distraction.
Before Remask 3
After Remask 3
The Brown Pelican (Atlantic Phase) below was photographed several years ago in Cuba on the island of Cayo Largo in the Caribbean Sea. I have always enjoyed this Pelican’s humorous pose, but the out-of-focus boat in the background simply ruins this image. After applying a mask using Remask 3 I was very pleased at how the software handled the fine feather details at the back of the pelican’s head. With the mask on a separate layer I was now able to remove the boat simply and efficiently.
Before Remask 3
After Remask 3
(I also rotated the image slightly and moved the bird to the right a little for compositional reasons)