Photos and Photoshop

Photos and Photoshop

Years ago I did web support for some game sites. Part of my contribution was writing walkthroughs and presenting information for players. I learned a lot about the internet and web design during that period. I learned to use Dreamweaver and ftp sites and quite a bit about images.

Editing programs were expensive or I didn't have much money or both, but I learned to use PaintShopPro. It has since been bought by Corel and is still a pretty good imaging application. But nothing compares to Photoshop. This year I took the plunge and bought the program. And yes, I got the disk; I am still not sure I want to rent software that lives on a cloud.

And I want to share with you some of the things I have learned. Don't worry, this is not going to be a tutorial or detailed instructions. There are plenty of web resources for that. Or, if you want to email me, I will tell you in more detail what I did. I just want to show you some of the results I have been able to obtain with my photographs. 

Lotus Blossom from Brazos Bend State Park 

Lotus Blossom from Brazos Bend State Park 

How about this to get started? This is a Lotus bloom I took at Brazos Bend. If you remember I showed you one like this a while back in the Baby Alligator adventure. The flowers are yellow and creamy, with a darker yellow center. This image has been edited with some Photoshop plug-ins, and the colors changed a bit. Maybe there are peachy-coral lotus blossoms somewhere in the world; I have no idea. But, I was pretty happy with my first experiment in the editing world.

JJ Virtual Framing feature on Instagram

JJ Virtual Framing feature on Instagram

So, I tagged it for this Instagram site where you compete to show your photo in a virtual room. It is fantastic to see how your images might look in a real setting. And I won $11,500 in virtual money that I can spend on... virtual things. Well, it is the thought that counts, right?

Bunny from Brazos Bend 

Bunny from Brazos Bend 

And this guy was on a path at the Wildflowers Trail at Brazos Bend. He hopped into the brush and I caught up with him on the other side. Rabbits are a bit like squirrels in that they freeze in place, hoping you won't see them. That helps photographers a lot!

This rabbit got the editing treatment, too. I love the way the fur is emphasized and how the photo looks like an illustration. The Photoshop plug-in Fractalius can do some amazing things.   

Female Eastern Pondhawk, Brazos Bend State Park 

Female Eastern Pondhawk, Brazos Bend State Park 

And I haven't forgotten about the dragonflies. I turned this one into a painting with Fractalius and a Photoshop filter called Oil Paint. And I had some tutoring by my fave photographer Bill Maroldo. Take a look at his Digital Art Gallery if you haven't done so before.

Artistic Lovely Dead Crap 

Artistic Lovely Dead Crap 

The above is some dead and dying thing I found at the Houston Arboretum. It is a great place for butterflies, dragonflies, bugs and ... grasses and flora. The background here is a bit bright, but I love all the detail on the petals and leaves. 

Fave Squirrel with new edit 

Fave Squirrel with new edit 

Above is one of the stars of the Question About Squirrels adventure in a new light. The filters and plug-ins make a subtle but interesting difference. There are sliders and parameters and lots of moving parts to adjust. You just have to experiment.

Work scene 

Work scene 

I have been trying these filters on everything. Back in the Spring there were window washers at work. I took a lot of photos, and most of them show blue sky, blue glass and shiny surfaces.

In this one, I like the way the orange cones lined up; and I like this toned down version of the image. 

Old International Harvester Truck

Old International Harvester Truck

This old truck is off in a field on the road from Brazos Bend to Hwy 288. I took a lot of photos of this and got some chiggers for my efforts. It was worth it. This was processed with Fractalius, then a stepped up color saturation, and finally, Oil Paint filter.

Dragonfly Dreams 

Dragonfly Dreams 

And the one above is a Roseate Skimmer  dragonfly from Brazos Bend. It is supposed to be fairly common, but I don't see them very often. Well, let me clarify that. I don't see them perched and still very often.

My goal with the filters and edits was to pick out the wings, to make them more prominent. But, instead the colors were muted, the wings veil the body and ... it looks ethereal and dreamy.  

You never know what you might create.  

Lovely Dead Crap from Mercer Arboretum, Feb 2013 

Lovely Dead Crap from Mercer Arboretum, Feb 2013 

Who would want a painting of a dried seed pod? I thought it was interesting enough to photograph late last winter, so someone might want to do an oil painting... Oh, right. I just did.  

Rust and galvanized

Rust and galvanized

Instagram has a lot of tags for rust and rusted objects. We had a small discussion recently why so many are fascinated with rust. There are features every Thursday (my rusty boat won one time) and a new one I just found called @flaming rust. I think the images speak of the history that endures even as it changes.

This was processed with a different filter from Topaz Labs called Simplify. It has some colorful filters, plus some that find the edges and produce black and white drawings. I have been trying some of the black and white edits, but nothing suits me ... yet.

Soft flowers

Soft flowers

The above is some flowers I found at the Houston Arboretum back in the summer when it was too hot to look for birds. I like this soft, pastel look.

I am pretty sure I was into power sweating the day I took the photo even though the temperatures in August were relatively mild. We had only two days of 100F and four days of 99F. And one day the high was ONLY 84F (and I was at work that day, not out in the bush). But the humidity is always high here on the coast.

Weeds

Weeds

The vibrant colors are nice, too. Plants and animals with fur or fuzz take to the Fractalius treatment quite well. This one in real life is a creamy white with just tinges of green. I increased the black in the background and left the spiderwebs.

So what do you think of the art?  I will be adding edited images to the new Illustrations gallery section.

Tell me what you think in the comments. Click on the tiny comment icon. You can sign in with your Facebook or Google ID, but it isn't required. If you want, click on the Guest login and use any name you choose.  I would love to hear from you.

Bolivar Peninsula

Bolivar Peninsula

Wings but no Feathers

Wings but no Feathers