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Archive for the ‘Fractalius’ Category

Amazon Milk Frog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Amazon Milk Frog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

A few months ago there was a wonderful exhibit of tropical frogs at Ontario’s Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. One day in April I made a trip out to see and photograph some of the species that were on display. Photographing such animals through the glass walls of their enclosures can often be a bit troublesome due to finger prints and scratches on the glass, however, there are few simple techniques that can be employed for success. When I photograph captive subjects through the glass walls of their enclosures I will always get as close to the glass as possible to eliminate / reduce the risk of scratches and fingerprints from showing up in the resulting images. To get as close to the glass as possible I ensure that I am using my rubber lens hood so that I do not become one of those individuals that has left unsightly scratches on the enclosures. A relatively large rubber lens hood aligned flush with the glass wall of the enclosure will often reduce the risk of the flash from reflecting off the glass, ruining the photos when it fires.

Rubber Lens Hood on Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

Rubber Lens Hood on Nikon 105mm Micro Lens

At public exhibits I often find it too difficult to work with a tripod, mostly due to the number of visitors and elementary school class trips that attend. As a result I do much prefer to work with flash and when I photogenic subject and pose is noticed I can then quickly grab a few photos without affecting the other visitors that are also there.

Dendrobates auratus Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60

Dendrobates auratus
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60

For the image above of the Dendrobates auratus I was able to get a very low perspective and a pleasing background by placing the lens flush with the glass wall at the moment the dart frog jumped to the front of the enclosure. Dart frogs are often very quick and sometime difficult to photograph, but this image gives the impression that I am lying flat on the ground in their rainforest home, yet I was dry and comfy :)

African Bullfrog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60

African Bullfrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60

Pictured above is an African Bullfrog. What is not to love about a frog with teeth! These frogs will eat anything they can stuff in their mouths from insects to full grown mice. You will notice that in this image the camera was pointed downwards, with the lens close to the glass and in a downward postion the flash will not reflect back into the resulting images, however, if I tried the same perspective after taking a few steps backwards the flash would be noticeable and the images would be deleted.

Argentine Horned Frog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60

Argentine Horned Frog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/60

Warty skinned frogs such as the above Argentine Horned Frog do pose some challenges with flash generated spectral highlights. In Photoshop I will often evict the most noticeably distracting highlights, for many of the smaller ones as seen above I will open Selective Color and add a touch of Black to the White channel which tones them down a bit.

Waxy Monkey Treefrog Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Waxy Monkey Treefrog
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Treefrog specimens are usually very uncooperative subjects as they are mostly nocturnal so when one is encountered alert and wide-eyed grab as many photos as you can because they will probably go back to sleep very soon.

Below is a Fire-belly Toad which is an Asiatic species and very common in the pet trade. Believe it or not I actually used to keep Fire-belly Toads in a large terrarium many years ago and they lived for roughly 21 years.

Fire-belly Toad Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

Fire-belly Toad
Nikon D800, Nikon 105mm Micro Lens
Nikon Speedlight SB400 on a Wimberley F-2 Macro Bracket
ISO 100, f16 @ 1/60

After photographing many of these wonderful frog species from around the globe in a single afternoon I thought it would be fun to take one of the images and create a frog fract using the Photoshop plug-in Fractalius. Below is a Goliath Frog skeleton. The Goliath Frog is the largest frog in the world, they live alongside streams and such in Cameron, in Africa.

Please do remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions :)

Goliath Frog Skeleton Fractalius Rendering

Goliath Frog Skeleton
Fractalius Rendering

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Sunrise on the Agawa River in Ontario's Lake Superior Provincial Park

Sunrise on the Agawa River in Ontario’s Lake Superior Provincial Park

This year I decided to come up with a ‘baker’s dozen’ of favorite photographs that I created over the past twelve months. It was difficult to narrow it down to just 13 images, but here they are. Please do click on the images to see the larger, sharper version.

This past year I re-visited my most favorite location within Ontario – Lake Superior Provincial Park, and was blessed with one of the most beautiful sunrises I have witnessed. In February I traveled to the Port Antonio region of Jamaica where I photographed one of the most picturesque waterfalls in the Caribbean and my favorite image of my daughter Ava while she was having fun in a swing at Boston Bay. I was invited to co-write the Fractasic eGuide with good friend, colleague, and mentor Denise Ippolito, and to do ‘The Three Frosties‘ guest blog post for one of the world’s premier bird photographers Arthur Morris.

A scouting trip for planning what will become the launch of my first workshop to the tip of Lake Erie’s Long Point Peninsula (a UNESCO World Biosphere) was a success. Folks wishing to be added to the interested list for this workshop, which will likely run in late spring, should shoot me an email here.

Also Gentec International, the Canadian distributor for Sigma lenses was kind enough to loan me the Sigma f2.8 15mm EX DG Fisheye Lens, which opened up a whole new world to me for creativity and fun times photographing the natural world.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I did creating them.

May you all have a safe and prosperous 2014.

Cheers!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Ava on swing at Boston Bay, Jamaica

Ava on swing at Boston Bay, Jamaica

Reich Falls on the Drivers River, Jamaica

Reich Falls on the Drivers River, Jamaica

Johnstone's Whistling Frog chorusing, Jamaica

Johnstone’s Whistling Frog chorusing, Jamaica

Lone tree after ice storm near Thornton, Ontario

Lone tree after ice storm near Thornton, Ontario

Storm clouds over winter wheat crop near Bradford, Ontario

Storm clouds over winter wheat crop Bradford, Ontario (Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens)

Bullfrog-scape with the Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens

Bullfrog-scape on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario (Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens)

Rusty Old Wreck in fog, Milton, Ontario

Rusty Old Wreck in fog, Milton, Ontario

The tip of the Long Point Peninsula at sunrise, Lake Erie, Ontario

The tip of the Long Point Peninsula at sunrise, Lake Erie, Ontario

Bullfrog (Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens)

Bullfrog (Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens)

Aspen Trees Multiple Exposure inspired by Denise Ippolito

Aspen Trees Multiple Exposure inspired by Denise Ippolito

Window Frost Pattern

Window Frost Pattern

Fractalius of Woodland Interior, Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

Fractalius of Woodland Interior, Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Window Frost & Reflection

Window Frost & Reflection

The last couple of morning here in south-central Ontario have been bitterly cold. This morning the outside temperature was -26 degrees Celsius, without factoring in the windchill factor. On mornings like this, my living room window gets covered with some very interesting frost patterns. While the window is in need of replacement and I dread the day when I do change the window and lose these cool effects, but for now why not have a little fun with nature’s frost paintings :) In the above photo, I stood outside to catch the frost pattern and reflection of the large spruce tree that sits in my front yard. In the two images below I sat in the comfort, and warmth, of my living room to carefully compose the resulting frosty paintings.

Window Frost

Window Frost

Window Frost

Window Frost

And with such cool patterns I could not resist the temptation to run a couple of them through the Photoshop Plug-in Fractalius. To learn more about how to use this very addictive and highly creative filter please check out the eGuide FRACTASTIC, which was written by the very talented  and creative Denise Ippolito and yours truly.

Fractalius of Window Frost & Reflection

Fractalius of Window Frost & Reflection

Fractalius of Window Frost

Fractalius of Window Frost

 

 

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Rusty Old Wreck - Original Capture

Rusty Old Wreck – Original Capture

Above you will see the original version of a lovely, rusty old wreck that was photographed today during one of Denise Ippolito’s numerous workshops that are planned during her visit to the Toronto area. This morning the weather conditions could not have been better as we were presented with lots of fog and some rain and drizzle to help saturate the colors of the rusted old wrecks we were photographing. Denise will also be presenting her “A Blend of Art & Nature Photography” lecture for the Toronto Digital Photography Club on Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm at the Edithvale Community Centre in North York. To find out more about how to sign up for the lecture, please click here.

Below you will see the various creative renditions I conjured up using various photoshop plug-ins. Each of the image captions will inform you of the software used to create the effect as presented. Please remember to click on each of the images to see the larger, sharper versions. Also, please take a moment to let us know which is your favorite of these renditions.

Rusty Old Wreck - Topaz Black & White Effects 2

Rusty Old Wreck – Topaz Black & White Effects 2

 

Rusty Old Wreck - Silver Efex Pro 2

Rusty Old Wreck – Silver Efex Pro 2

 

Rusty Old Wreck - Nik HDR Efex

Rusty Old Wreck – Nik HDR Efex

 

Rusty Old Wreck - Fractalius

Rusty Old Wreck – Fractalius

 

 

 

 

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Woodland Interior_9943-Fractalius“HIGH VOLTAGE” Woodland Interior at Killbear Provincial Park, Ontario

In the newly published and popular eGuide “Fractastic: A Creative User Guide for the Redfield Fractalius Filter” Denise Ippolito and yours truly share many of our favorite, custom presets that we use regularly to create artistic renderings of our favorite photos. Whether you use our presets or develop your own set of custom presets doing so will save you a ton of time. The three fractalius renderings in this blog post were each created by selecting the presets found within the guide. In fact,the presets chosen worked so well for these images that I made virtually no further adjustments to the slider settings in the Fractalius interface. I simply loaded the images into Fractalius, selected my preferred custom preset and then hit the green check mark to apply the settings to the image. For the fish-eye lens woodland interior above I chose my ‘High Voltage‘ preset and set the left asterisk to black and the asterisk on the right to white – done.

Dahlia_632-Fractalius“ELECTRIFY” Dahlia Blossom

By loading this stunning dahlia blossom into Fractalius and selecting my ‘Electrify‘ preset the above rendering was born.

Old Mercury_8648-Fractalius“LINES-FROGS” Rusted Old Wreck (Gimme a Bullet)

What do frogs and a rusted old Mercury truck with bullet holes have in common? My ‘Line-Frogs’ preset. To create this rendering I simply scrolled through my bank of custom presets until I found the one that seemed to work best for this photograph. It just so happened to be one of my newer presets that I created for my frog fracting.

Do note that I will often load my fractalius renderings into Nik / Google’s Viveza 2 and add a little extra punch with the Structure slider.

To order your copy of this eGuide please click here.

Please remember to click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper versions.

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Fractastic-Guide-Cover-1A Creative User Guide for the Redfield Fractalius Filter

I am pleased to announce the release of Fractastic – A Creative User Guide for the Redfield Fractalius Filter. It was an honor to be invited by the very talented and highly creative Denise Ippolito to co-write this eGuide. Denise was very instrumental in developing my creative, artistic rendering side.

Fractalius is a Windows only Photoshop plug-in (Mac users will need to run Bootcamp, Parallels or VM Ware to use (please click here to learn more). I have often described Fractalius as addictive and a ton of fun to use. The Redfield Fractalius Filter creates eccentric works of art as it extracts the so-called hidden fractals found within photographs. It is important to note that this filter will react differently from image-to-image based on the hidden fractals present within those images.

A very special thank-you and acknowledgement to both Arthur Morris and Cheryl Slechta for their skillfull editing and proofreading. And also for their image contributions to the Gallery section of this creative user guide.

From Arthur Morris:

Denise Ippolito gave Fractalius a huge boost in popularity about three years ago as moderator of the Out-of-the-Box Forum at BirdPhotographers.net. One of those whom she introduced to Fractalius was Andrew McLachlan who since wrote the popular “Ontario Landscapes – A Photographers Guide” for BAA Books. Denise came up with the idea of teaming up with Andrew to write and illustrate a Fract eGuide more than a year ago. The spectacular result: Fractastic.

In this fantastic eGuide the authors begin by explaining the usually mystifying Fractalius interface in clear, easy-to-understand terms. They even managed to make sense of the Colorize Mode button and the two large Asterisks at the top of the interface. The main body of the guide consists of more than two dozen intriguingly beautiful Fracted images with explanatory notes and screen captures of the settings that Andrew and Denise used to create their artistic works. You can use these settings to replicate the various effects that they have developed. Many of their creations are based on Fractalius pre-sets. The guide will teach you how to effectively apply many of the Fractalius pre-sets and how to create and save your own. The final section is an inspirational gallery of more than 35 superb Fracted images by Andrew, Denise, yours truly, and Cheryl Slechta who helped with the final proofreading.

You can purchase your copy of Fractastic for $27 here or via email to: birdsasart@verizon.net¬† being sure to note that you are paying for “Fractastic” or by calling Jim at Birds As Art at 863-692-0906 during regular business hours. A download link to Your eGuide will be sent via YouSendIt. Weekend and holiday orders will be fulfilled the next working day.

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Old Wreck_7229-Yellowed 2Old Wreck In Field – Silver Effects Pro 2 – Yellowed 2 Preset

After dropping my daughter off at school the other day I decided it was time to drive to a local conservation area not far from my home. As I made my way there the rains began to come in and were getting heavier. As I drove along the concession road bound for my intended destination I happened upon this old wreck sitting at the edge of an agricultural field. I could not resist the temptation and slammed on the brakes, grabbed my gear and proceeded to create a few images that I could take home to play around with on a rather wet and dreary day.

In the first image I chose to use Nik/Google’s Silver Effects Pro 2 and the Yellowed 2 preset as a starting point. I just love the aged look and border that this preset creates. To create the additional variations below I used Topaz Labs Adjust 5 – Psychedelic Preset and two of my custom presets from the Photoshop plug-in Fractalius. Denise Ippolito and I have written an eGuide for the Fractalius plug-in that should be available shortly.

For folks who love to get creative with there imagery I highly recommend heading to Kitchener, Ontario on June 3rd as Denise will be doing a presentation for the Grips Camera Club, click here for more information.

Hope you enjoy the old wreck creations. Do remember to click on the images to see the larger, sharper version.

Which is your favorite rendering?

Old Wreck_7232-topazOld Wreck – Topaz Adjust 5 – Psychedelic Preset

Old Wreck_7232-fractaliusOld Wreck – Fractalius

Old Wreck_7232-Fractalius 2Old Wreck – Fractalius

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