Paintings and Illustrations

Paintings and Illustrations

Recently I told you how much fun I am having with Photoshop and the various plug-ins and filters. This adventure is going to show you some familiar nature subjects and places in a new light. I am learning to process the photos and make art that looks like paintings or sketches. There is a new gallery Illustrations where I will be posting these efforts.

White Ibis with BIG crawfish

White Ibis with BIG crawfish

This is a White Ibis. Poor thing, it has to be my least favorite bird. And since it spends most of the time probing in the mud, usually it is a dirty white. I just cant get excited about such a homely bird.  Adding the Fractalius filter and then Oil Paint, it looks a bit more interesting. That is a huge crawfish this one found one day at Brazos Bend.

Little Blue Heron at Brazos Bend

Little Blue Heron at Brazos Bend

This Little Blue Heron benefited from the Fractalius and Oil Paint treatment as well. Behind the bird was all duckweed and vegetation, so the filters made that into a smooth, less distracting background. Not sure what he was trying to tell us, but birds are so much more interesting if they are doing something. Eating or hunting or scratching or taking off or landing. I think that is why I prefer the wading birds. Songbirds are brightly colored and pretty to look at, but they mostly just perch and hop around.

Pied-billed Grebe in breeding plumange 

Pied-billed Grebe in breeding plumange 

This one looks more like a watercolor than an oil painting to me. I really like the soft-tones; the original photo is bright and clear.  It is a setting on the Photoshop Oil Paint filter that makes it look like it is on handmade paper.

Awesome Alligator with dragonfly 

Awesome Alligator with dragonfly 

Now, I know I posted this a few months back. I still love the photo and the edit has given it a new look. The Oil Paint filter is infinitely adjustable; you can vary the strengths of the various parameters. 

I think I saw this same alligator last trip to Brazos Bend. I was heading toward the Observation Tower and he came out of the canal on the left. The water level at Brazos Bend was very low, and the alligators were on the move looking for deeper water and I suspect, food. He walked along the grassy part of the trail at a rather rapid pace. I was backing up, taking photos all the time. Finally he stopped and I was rather relieved. The alligators at Brazos Bend are accustomed to humans, but they are not tame by any stretch of the imagination.

Entrance to the Bird House at the Houston Zoo 

Entrance to the Bird House at the Houston Zoo 

These filters and effects can be applied to any photo. I was playing around with this from the Tropical Bird House at the Houston Zoo. This photo got a different treatment, something called Topaz Simplify. I like the way it looks more like a drawing than a photo. Here are some more zoo photos; new and old.

Merkat on patrol 

Merkat on patrol 

You might recognize this old photo of a Merkat from the Houston Zoo. I used this one on my Archive page, but the new edit is much more satisfying. I won't go into detail about what I did with this, but I learned a TON of new techniques and tricks. If you really want to know, send me a mail from the Contact page.

Flamingo from the Zoo 

Flamingo from the Zoo 

The Flamingos have a new exhibit at the Zoo; in fact they were building nests and might even have babies by now. But, the vegetation and plantings looked raw and unappealing. The light was way too bright and harsh; so I was disappointed with my photos. Until I started playing around and came up with this version. I really like this one. What do you think? 

Larry the Lemur 

Larry the Lemur 

This is a ring-tailed Lemur. They have the best habitat for photos in the Houston Zoo. It has the moat where they can't get out, but no cages and you can get up pretty close. There are trees and branches for them to climb and the light is nearly always good. This guy is fairly young and was quite active. The new filters and techniques I am using are super on fur.

Tug of war 

Tug of war 

These are Asian, not African Elephants, so they are not so huge. The larger adult elephant was sucking up water and flinging it over his head for a cooling shower bath. They young one was in the pool swimming about. They look like they are having fun and playing here, but just a few minutes later the larger one pushed the baby back in the water!

Purple Iris

Purple Iris

Remember when I went to East Texas in the Spring? This is a photo of an Iris in the front yard of the Bed and Breakfast where I stayed in Palestine. The photo was too bright or too harsh or too something, but it looks rather soft with the edits.

Old gas station

Old gas station

This is another photo from that East Texas trip. This station was right off the square in Palestine and must have been a busy place once. The pumps have Phillips 66 markings and the counters would only register prices per gal in cents and tenths. I remember when gas was less than a dollar a gallon and a lot of you do, too! So, the filters and edits emphasize how abandoned this old place really is.

Juvenile Tricolored Heron at Storey Park  

Juvenile Tricolored Heron at Storey Park
 

And of course, there are the birds. I love editing the bird photos. This is a juvenile Tricolored Heron I photographed last weekend. He was fishing at the edge of Brays Bayou. I got all the way down the grassy slope to waters edge without spooking him. Then I scooted over closer and closer, waiting a bit between each move to take more photos. Finally, I was within about 15 feet and he was totally ignoring me. I took ... 219 shots. Really. The birds are beginning to look better now that the hot summer is over. Their feathers look nicer and they don't look so stressed. The mornings are already a bit cooler, so look for more birding adventures soon.

So, the comments are working and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the edited photos. Janet is already on record as liking them, but what do the rest of you think?

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Quick Trip to Texas City and Other News

Quick Trip to Texas City and Other News

Bolivar Peninsula

Bolivar Peninsula