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.


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





The Artist in Me… Photoshop Illustration

Last week I wrote about the joy of using Photoshop on photo retouch. Today, I would like to share other techniques I use Photoshop for.

Adobe Photoshop has come a long way since the first time I used it years ago. Those were the days when Photoshop was before its time and the computer were not able to keep up. The Mac I was using had only 80MB hard drive. I know… dinosaur… and yet it was considered¬†a top model at the time. I didn’t like using Photoshop very much because it would take up to 30 minutes for the screen to display the special effects I had applied. Of course, it only took a delete key stroke to get rid of the effect if I didn’t like it which was about 90% of the time. I¬†was so glad when¬†the computer finally caught with this amazing program. The last couple of years, I’ve been using some of the artistic effects to combine my love of photography and illustration to create something different.

These are the original untouched photos.

Here are the same photos with artisitic Photoshop effects.

These are the steps I used to achieve the results. First, I overexpose the image by +1.00 and then add Unsharpmask at 25%, three times.  I then chose the Poster Edges artistic effect. I set the thickness to 2, edge intensity to 1, and posterization to 2. I kept the settings small because I wanted to keep some of the photographic intergrity.