Twirl Effect

My first week on Social Media…

As much as I like blogging… it has been really nice… just processing photographs and uploading them to Social Media… Many years ago I joined 500px and never really posted much to it… but with my new work flow from Lightroom, I have been posting quite a bit to 500px.  In fact I have now reached my 20 uploads a week quota… and I am in the process of thinking whether to upgrade to the Awesome package…

Ashenbank woods is close by to us… and I just love how the bluebells mingle with the trees..

A photography of Ashenbank Woods near Cobham in Kent

A photograph of Ashenbank Woods near Cobham in Kent

It is a great place for an afternoon walk with the kids… and there are lovely picnic areas..

My next two photographs are ones that we took whilst in Scotland… the first one is of a Quarry in Ballachulish, Scotland that has been turned into a country park…

Ballachulish Quarry

A photograph of Ballchulish Quarry in Scotland

My next photograph was taken also in Scotland and it is of the rapids of the River Coe, near Glencoe in Scotland…

A photograph of water rushing over the rocks heading towards the River Coe in Glencoe, Scotland

A photograph of water rushing over the rocks on the River Coe in Glencoe, Scotland


To get this shot I had to send him as trying to walk over uneven ground was definitely a no-no for me. I just love how fierce that water seemed to flow over those rocks… and it was so crystal clear.. you could see the riverbed…

Over the last week…. I have been experimenting with abstract photography… by simply turning a normal photograph into a piece of art using twirls and spirals in Photoshop… It is a 8 step process… so I have broken the steps down into three stages and created an action for each of the 3 stages…  If you would like the actions please click here (note for step 7 make sure you are on the background layer – this action will only create the twirl effect to the background layer. To complete the creation of your artwork select the top layer and change the blending mode of that layer.)

I really love this form of artwork.. and it is something that I definitely will be continuing with…. an added bonus of this form of artwork is that you learn how to do things in Photoshop… things that you would normally by-pass.  Plus once you have created your Twirl looking photograph.. you can go further by using other filters and creating duplicate layers and flipping that layer horizontal or vertical…  The only thing stopping you is your imagination.    Here are a selection of photographs that I have created this past week…


I have found by cutting down on my blogging that I have had more time to experiment and find something I really like to do… and I am looking forward to next week’s post…. and I can guarantee there will be definitely more abstract art involved somewhere in that post.

Have a good look everyone…  and if you don’t want to use the actions in Photoshop… here is the process for creating twirls… with many thanks to Julie Powell for instructions

1.) Open your image in Photoshop

2.) With your background layer selected > select Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint. Set your mode to “Medium Lines.” OK.

3.) Next select to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Change settings to Amount 100, Blur Method zoom, Quality best. OK.

4.) Repeat step 3 as many times as you like. I ran mine about 3 times.

5.) Create a duplicate layer [CTRL/CMD J].

6.) With the background layer highlighted, Select > Filter > Distort > Twirl. On this layer you want to use a positive number ie +200.

7.) Highlight Layer 1, select > Filter > Distort > Twirl. For this layer we need a negative number ie: -150. OK

8.) We now need to blend these two layers together, select Layer 1, and change your blending mode, try darken and lighten, Exclusion and Difference, it really depends on your image and what effect you like. Try all the blend modes, some will work, some wont.

9.) Now flatten or stamp your image (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, E) and transform it (flip horizontal or vertical) and use another blend mode, or even the same one, to create a really great piece of unique art.


Posted by Bren

I am an amateur photographer, blogger and digital artist as well as being the female half of RyanPhotography. We both have a keen interest in landscape and floral photography. And we live in Kent, also known as the Garden of England, in the United Kingdom. We both have a desire to travel and hopefully one day move to somewhere where it is picturesque and a photographer's delight.



BREN: I have no experience with Lightroom. I have enough trouble with Photoshop Elements 6. I guess I should have waited for Lightroom. But how could I have known it was coming. Anyway, Lightroom always seems ro get rave reviews and fhanks for sharing.

I bought Lightroom years ago due to the reviews.. and have never regretted it… I did have Photoshop Elements once (very many years ago) but it was so outdated that half of the things people were doing I couldn’t do… so I stuck with Lightroom and upgraded to Lightroom 5… until Adobe offered their Photography Package at just under a £10 a month… where you get all the extras of Lightroom, which you don’t get with Lightroom 6.

Have a look in your Filters Menu of Elements 6 and see if you have the filters needed if so you will be able to do the abstract art thing should you wish. I know what you mean about struggling with software… I was petrified of Photoshop… but it is only by trial and error and a lots writing down how I did things that has given me some confidence in it now.

Jean Reiland

Check out NatGeo’s Yourshot. You can’t sell your photos there, but the community is large and friendly.

Thank you Jean I will check it out xx


I like the swirls!

Thank you very much xx


Thanks for the like on my Heqds up on Finches.

You are welcome xx

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