The Black and White Treatment.

Life is very busy at the moment – lots of distractions – and I am having difficulty keeping focus on progressing my photography. Often at times like this I go over my older stuff with the intent of giving the old stuff a make over – edit them in a different way to produce something new; I quite like messing around in Photoshop and Lightroom so this quite suits me, although some might say that I should just get out and take some different photographs but somehow with everything else (life) going on it is not always that simple. I am off to Normandy in a few weeks and I have great plans for that trip so watch this space. In the meantime I have been going over my old (2011) Northumberland photos and thought that I would share with you some that I have converted to Monochrome (mostly black and white but I do like the toned effect too) within the Photoshop plug-in Nik Silver Efex pro. I really like these – I wouldn’t be showing you otherwise – and they have had lots of positive feedback when I have posted them on 500px, Pinterest, Facebook, Fine Art America and Photo4Me, so I hope that you like them too.

Lobster pots stacked on the quayside.

Lobster pots stacked on the quayside.

Abstract river flow - water taking on a milky form through long exposure.

Abstract river flow – water taking on a milky form through long exposure.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

Statue of Field Marshall Viscount Hugh Gough, K.P., GCB, GCSI, PC, who fought many campaigns oversees, now situated at Chillingham Castle, Northumberland.

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Warkworth Castle, Northumberland.

I love Northumberland and will go back there to capture its natural beauty again but converting to black and white or toning the images give the images a different dimension based on tone and contrast, light and shade rather than colour which changes how we view them.

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Photo project – three of a kind.

The camera club that I belong to Beeston Camera Club is always on the lookout for new and interesting ways in which to engage the members in activities as well as turn up for the great variety of interesting and varied speakers which have been hand-picked from fine photographers from near and far. One such activity was to create a photo project which was to be constructed from three separate photographs. We were sent some examples but the brief was very open (and essentially open to interpretation). The resulting works were presented to the members at a “members evening” last Thursday, the 11th February 2016. Several members produced works for the event. The result was wonderfully diverse in terms of interpretation. I contributed five works and had great fun doing them – here they are:-

Triptych 1

This was my first attempt. It is made up of the same image but in the three instances the image was given a different treatment in Photoshop with Nik Color Efex pro  4 and Nik Silver Efex pro 2 plugins.

Triptych Tulips

Next, I decided to use some square images that I had produced. This time it is three separate images/compositions and they were given different treatments in Photoshop and Nik Plugins. It started as just the three squares but it looked a bit long and thin so I extended the canvas above and below and coloured the extensions black. I think that it looks quite effective, but then I don’t let ’em out until I am happy with them! I was only going to enter one and this was my choice, but was encouraged to send more, so I sent my first work together with three further works after contributing this one.

Saint Emilion, one of the great Bordeaux wine regions and a beautiful place to visit. Saint Emilion is found to the North-east side of the City of Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France.

Saint Emilion, one of the great Bordeaux wine regions and a beautiful place to visit. Saint Emilion is found to the North-east side of the City of Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France.

I thought of a wine theme with this one. The larger background image is of Saint Emilion, the very famous wine region – part of the Larger Bordeaux region in Aquitaine, France. I have been there several times now and it is always a pleasure. It is a beautiful village, even if you are not interested in wine you will enjoy a visit. The grapes on the vine was actually taken outside of Bordeaux (not far) in a village called Villeneurve de Duras in the Cotes de Duras wine area, not far from Bergerac – it is one of my best sellers on Shutterstock and has sold all over the world. (I did take some photographs in the centre of St. Emilion and some of those have sold too). The third photograph was a still life photograph that I made and then put it through Smart Photo software from Anthropics to give it an older look.

 

A mixture of Oxalis, Kerria and Clover on a textured background.

A mixture of Oxalis, Kerria and Clover on a textured background.

A while ago I went out and picked some flowers – the Oxalis and the Keria grow in my garden – the clover from the Local nature reserve and I photographed them on a white high-key background in a light tent. The textured background was the back of a red granite grave stone. I changed the blending properties on that layer and altered the opacity (and probably the brightness). The flowers were placed onto the background by copy and pasting them.

Turbulence in Water - Abstract

Turbulence in Water – Abstract

Finally, the theme for this one was waterfalls. The background image was an abstract of flowing water from Aira force, approachable from the north side of Ullswater, Cumbria. Aira Force is a National Trust managed series of lots of waterfalls. The image in portrait format with the bridge is the first substantial waterfall that you come across as you ascend Aira Force – I would have been happy with just this one, but there are more falls – lots more culminating in a huge wide torrent at the top. The other photograph was taken at Watersmeet near Lynton and Lynmouth, Devon and is within the Exmoor National park.

I am sure that I haven’t done my last three in one composition; I enjoyed myself so much with this photography project that I am keen to explore more possibilities – why don’t you give it a try?

Portraits.

I have lot of photographs in storage and occasionally I will look at them and I get inspiration to do something different with them in an effort to expand my Photoshop skills. The following photographs were created on such an occasion. This is my friend Emma. She invited me to take photographs of her and her lovely family over a year ago. Recently, I revisited those photographs and these are some of the results:-

I changed the colour balance and added some diffuse glow.

I changed the colour balance and added some diffuse glow.

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All comments welcome; I am trying to create photographs that people will like and I am pleased with these, but I would really like to know if I was barking up the wrong tree.

Ebay Photo Sales.

I have decided to try my arm selling some of my prints on ebay.

Eilean Donan Castle.

Eilean Donan castle

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121315774125?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Seahouses Boat.

Seahouses Boat.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121315815709?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Alnmouth Estuary.

Alnmouth Estuary.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121315819142?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Bluebells.

Bluebells.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121315821279?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

 

 

 

Portraits – Nicole.

Image

I had the opportunity to photograph my friend and her lovely family. Part of the brief was to get some nice photographs of my friends daughter Nicole who was going to University to study a Drama based degree, the details of which escape me at the moment. Recently, I had the opportunity to look at these photographs again and have a “Play” with them in Portrait Professional and Photoshop. Portrait Professional is software for retouching portraits – removing wrinkles, dealing with skin blemishes and so on. You would guess right if you thought that Nicole wouldn’t need any of that, but I have used it to “Brighten” her eyes and a few other small adjustments for artistic effect. PhotoShop was only used for sharpening – all digital photos put through a RAW converter need sharpening – cameras that convert straight to Jpeg do the sharpening “in camera”. I also used PhotoShop for resizing to web size. Nicole 001 Mother & Daughter. Nicole 003

I usually use a filter called “High pass” then levels for sharpening, using “Unsharp mask” only if the first stage doesn’t work sufficiently, which is rare. You have a choice of light including “soft light” – my favourite for this sort of assignment, “Hard light”, “Vivid light” and a few others – the above photograph has had the benefit of “Vivid light” however, I had already made it quite contrasty in Portrait Professional. I wanted “Striking”.Nicole 002 Nicole 004