The Photographer and a Boring Spider

While walking around the yard looking for inspiration, I came upon a nice spider web covered with morning dew. However after a few shots of a boring spider on a web, I couldn’t get inspired to shoot more; the light wasn’t ideal to make the background interesting. Then a stream of sunlight broke through the cloudy sky and made the morning dew droplets sparkly and more inviting. I shot a few more frames, though I still find the images boring. But the sunlight helped stir up my creative brain and gave me the challenge of wanting to take the ordinary and make something unique with it.

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After a few close up shots with different aperture settings, I decided to shoot at the largest opening available for my lens (f/6.3) to get the most shallow depth of field and bokeh background. With this in mind, I shot all the images a little underexposed so the background would be dark, with very faint details while keeping the details of the water droplets as sharp as possible. In Adobe Lightroom, I converted the images into monochrome with yellowish undertone for the highlights. After adjusting the exposure, contrast, and clarity; I added more highlights by using the brush tool to dodge and burn. I used the tool more like a paint brush: adding highlights to create¬† a more illustrative, surreal image. It was a good experiment and helped me think outside of the box — which is always a good thing… ūüôā

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From The Heart

The best kind of love is the one that comes from a selfless heart.

love

(This photo was created by shooting a heart shape fire opal stone on a black granite tile in front of a window. I used the light from the window to create the bright contrast on the black granite background. In Lightroom, I changed the white balance, brightness and saturation to get the reddish color. I used Photoshop to create the etched text.)

Mosaic Architecture

Often times, I get unmotivated taking pictures of the same subject. When this happens — which is a good thing because it forces me to think outside of the box. During my recent visit to Vancouver, I had in mind to shoot the beautiful architectures in the city. While there were plenty of buildings to photograph, I felt most of the buildings looked similar: tall with a lot of glass. I took a few shots but wasn’t very excited by having just another image of a building. However, as I was checking the images for sharp focus, I became fascinated by the building’s reflecting glass colors, interesting geometric shapes and lines. The glass blocks and reflections look more like mosaic tiles. And that’s how I came up with the idea for today’s post.

The Mask We Wear

The mask we wear to show the world and yet it is so different from the one we really feel when it comes off. As we all struggle to find our place in life and live with the mistakes we have made… in the end, it’s your inner strength and seeing the truth of who you are that will give you the freedom to the peace and happiness you desire.

Digital Pixel Manipulation

Converting a photo into painting using Photoshop kind of reminds me of painting by numbers but just not as simple. I discovered that when painting a photograph, you still need to use artistic skills such as: understanding about shading, lighting, use¬†correct brush size, blending technique etc.¬†¬†Though, painting with a mouse is a lot cleaner than the traditional way —¬†I don’t need more studio space than my computer screen, no nasty chemicals or¬†mess¬†to clean up — for some reason it lacks the personal satisfaction I get when using real paint on canvas.

The thing about playing with PS filters — it’s addicting. There are hundreds of possibilities and combinations.¬†The idea of making the flower look more 3 dimensional came to mind.¬†¬†After some trial and error, I think this came close to looking like a 3D plastic flower.¬†This was achieved using the plastic wrap filter.¬†

While we are on the subject of PS/digital painting and techniques, here is a digital painting done by a fellow blogger/artist, Val Erde of Absurd Old Bird. I thought I would post it to show other digital painting styles.¬†Val’s¬†artwork is amazingly beautiful and full of life.¬†Her stories are humorous and thought-provoking. Anyway, she created this beautiful painting, temporary titled “Do The Funky Duck” as a gift for her readers. You can download it from her blog for personal use. Just make sure to give her credit or link it back to her if you use it for your blog.

Painted Red Dahlia

Here is another photo I’ve converted into a painting,¬†using Photoshop paint effect.

Before:

After:

Painted Lily

It’s amazing how much Photoshop has changed since the first time I used it many years ago.¬†Although at the time, it wasn’t a very fun experience for me because —¬†the computers were too slow to run the¬†software properly. The Mac computers at the university lab had only¬†10 mb of Ram or something like it and 80 mb of hard drive!! And¬†it was considered top of the line computers for its time.

At first I was very excited about¬†Photoshop’s painting filters but because of the slow computer process speed and depending on the filter selection —¬†it took up to 30 minutes of waiting just to see the result of the effect. Needless to say, painting with Photoshop back then wasn’t very productive and¬†I never used it as a painting medium again¬†until a few¬†years ago.¬†¬†

Can you believe the file size of the this lily painting I’ve created is 152 mb! I know, pretty crazy when you think about how the computers are today. Unlike my previous experience with the Photoshop, it was a fast and fun process to turn the lily photo into a painting.

Here are the steps I used to achieve the painterly look.
1. Make a duplicate layer of the main photo.
2. I added a dirt pattern layer over the photo. This gives it some texture and contrast.
3. I added a painting layer and use the smudge tool with various brush sizes.
4. I just follow the original photo and smuge paint away. Make sure to keep all the high lights, shadows, mid-tones as close to the photo as possible.

Traditional Artist And The Computer