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The Art of Flower Photography

On August 13th Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris released their latest eBook ‘The Art of Flower Photography.’  As I read my way through the pages of this wonderful new eBook the imagery within has been filling me with the inspiration to get out and start photographing flowers again. When I first became interested in photography I began by photographing wildflowers and accumulated thousands of 35mm slides before switching to digital, and subsequently stopped photographing flowers as often.

Throughout the eBook Denise and Arthur explain how they approach flower photography, which is interesting as they each have different methods of doing so. Denise will often handhold a 100mm macro lens with impressive results, while Arthur won’t shy away from using a 600mm or 800mm lens to create stunning portraits. This eBook contains 203 pages and discusses various topics including; composition, lighting, selective focus, high key imagery, flower-scapes, light pads, pleasing blurs, multiple exposures, and lens / gear choices. There are also various ideas for creating artistic renderings with Photoshop plug-ins like Topaz Labs Simplify and Fractalius. And let’s not forget Denise’s signature flowers with texture overlays and how to apply these texture overlays to your own photos.

This is a must have eBook for anyone who enjoys flower photography. You will be inspired to take your own photography to the next level as you explore these creative ideas with your own imagery. For further inspiration from Denise and Arthur be sure to follow along on their respective blogs, which can be found by clicking on their names in the side-bar under the Blogroll section.

The Art of Flower Photography can be purchased by clicking here.

 

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Sigma Fisheye_1952

The newest member of my tool kit arrived yesterday and will find a permanent home in my gear bag and will likely spend a lot of time affixed to my Nikon D800. For those folks who have been following along here for a while and for those who may have recently subscribed Gentec International the Canadian Distributor for Sigma lenses was kind enough to loan me the Sigma 15mm f2.8 EX DG Fisheye Lens for a frog project I am working on and for my trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park in September 2013. You can read my review of this amazing lens here. Yours truly was also featured on the Sigma promotional card for this lens which can be seen here. In short, I have been so impressed with this lens and its versatility, not too mention how it expands one’s creativity, that I purchased this lens with my own hard earned money. I did not hesitate to get out today for a couple of quick images of a lovely field of rudbeckia flowers while I was in the town of Orillia visiting with my parents this afternoon.

Rudbeckia Flowers in Field, Orillia, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens, ISO 400, f11 @ 1/640

Rudbeckia Flowers in Field, Orillia, Ontario. Nikon D800, Sigma 15mm Fisheye Lens, ISO 400, f11 @ 1/640

 

Something Cool About Flowers

For those folks who love to photograph flowers and who like to create artistic renditions of their flower photos as well, be sure to check out the latest eBook by Denise Ippolito and Arthur MorrisThe Art of Flower Photography.” Based on my initial browse through of the eBook’s pages, I have to say WOW!!!

I will be away for the next week but promise to do a full review upon my return. Stay tuned for the complete review.

 

Please do click on the images above to see the larger, sharper versions of each.

 

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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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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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Winter Tree Fractalius ArtFlakes_4629-4

Fractalius Rendering of  Winter Tree

Fractalius is a Photoshop plug-in that is both fun and highly addictive. The winter tree above was photographed on a slightly foggy morning just down the road from my home. Often during periods of winter fog or hoarfrost I will jump in the car and go for a drive down some of the rural roads in search of pleasing subjects. For the fractalius treatment above I chose the ‘ArtFlakes’ preset as a starting point. I was quite pleased how the Artflakes preset picked up on the greenish lichen that covered much of the tree’s larger branches. Finishing touches were applied to the image using Nik Software’s Color Efex 4 Detail Extractor filter.

To find out more about photographing winter trees be sure to take a look at my latest article in Denise Ippolito’s ‘Creative Photography eMiniMagazine’ and while you are there be sure to check out the other great articles by the many talented contributors.

On another note: Denise Ippolito and I have completed working on an eGuide to using the Fractalius plug-in which should be published in the near future by Arthur Morris. The guide is loaded with many images with the Fractalius rendering applied to them, and we will be including both the before and after versions of each image, as well as our custom presets that we frequently use to achieve our desired results.

Do remember to click on the photo to see the larger, sharper version.

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While on my trip to Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba, I would play around with shooting creative blurs while either walking around or as in the image above, when a lack luster sunrise found me extracting rippled ocean blurs of the sun’s reflection with my 80-400mm lens. To learn about all the various techniques that can be used for shooting creative blurs I highly recommend “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. Click here to find out more about this wonderful eBook.

Below you will find some additional blurs created during my stay on Cayo Santa Maria.

Palm Frond Blur

Bouganvilla Blur

Agave Blur

Palm Frond Blur

Bouganvilla Blur

Palm Frond Blur

Boughanvilla Blur

Not sure on name of this shrub, but this is what it looks like after one too many Pina Coladas 🙂

Palm Frond Blur

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I love blurry photos. A pleasing blur of wildlife can help bring images to life by adding the sense of motion, while blurry photographs of subjects such as flowers or autumn leaves can create beautiful abstract compositions. Recently, I discovered how to create blurs in photoshop thanks to a wonderful new eBook – “A Guide to Pleasing Blurs” by Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris. You may check out the eBook here. I highly recommend this eBook. It has help me find new creative ideas for older images. The above image was created using techniques found within this eBook. The image below is the original, unaltered image direct from the camera. It sat in my archives, unoptimized, for a few years until I learned the various techniques to create the image above. Several times I almost deleted this image from my files, now I am glad I didn’t. You never know when you will learn new techniques that will give images life.

Hope you like the blur.

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