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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! 🙂

“Mini-World” of the Toronto skyline at night

Gerbera Daisy – desaturated zoom blur with Fractalius

Winter Farm – Fotosketcher watercolor with Fractalius

Pincushion Protea – multi-zoom blur

Abandoned Car in Killarney Provincial Park – Denise’s texture technique

Yellow Gerbera Daisy – Fractalius Glow 100

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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.

Icicles

Highway 634 in Ontario’s remote boreal forest

Robin

Smooth Green Snake

Spider Web

Barred Owl

Ring-billed Gull

Cuban Iguana

Brown Pelican – juvenile

Ornamental Inukshuks

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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)

 

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