Photo

On the road

On the road

A photograph of one of the A830 road in Scotland that winds through the mountains of The Highlands.

A photograph of one of the A830 road in Scotland that winds through the mountains of The Highlands.

Another photograph processed in Lightroom and Topaz Textured Effects 2.. of the A830 road that winds through the hills of Scotland.

Advertisements
Posted by Bren in Landscape, Photography, 0 comments
The Lake at Leeds Castle

The Lake at Leeds Castle

A photography of the main lake at Leeds Castle near Maidstone in Kent, processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects 2.

A photography of the main lake at Leeds Castle near Maidstone in Kent, processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects 2.

I am on day 3 of my trial of Topaz Texture Effects 2 and I have to say I am getting more impressed as the day’s go on…  Below is the before and after, the before photo is SOOC with just cropping applied.

before-and-after-leeds-lake

And I have to say, one of the features that I do love about Topaz Texture Effects 2 is the masking and the power of the Luminosity Masking Panel.

luminosity-maskingThe sliders on the Panel Masking Panel give you so much range. You can use spot, colour, luminosity or the brush tool.

So far I have stuck to the Luminosity option and played around with the sliders and no matter what adjustment you apply to your image, each adjustment gives you masking options.

Now I don’t know about you, but when you use textures, sometimes you do need add clipping masks and Topaz Textured Effects 2 takes that into consideration by giving you an Enhance option.  Each adjustment option gives you the option to add clipping masks.  And the adjustments available within each panel are great, the sliders are easy to understand and each one gives you so much power and the ability to apply an adjustment exactly as you want to.

img_7161As you can see from the photograph on the left, I did some adjustments in Lightroom before sending my photo to Topaz Texture Effects 2.

And after I had added my textures and adjustments in Topaz when the file was imported back into Lightroom, I added a couple of radial filters and did some dodging and burning, just to enhance the photograph a little. I also played around with the sliders in the Basic Panel just to warm the picture up a little and to add some contrast and clarity.  However, the ability to do the vast majority of these edits was available to me in Topaz Texture Effects 2, without having to do them in Lightroom.  For me, no matter what software I use, I always do  my final edits in Lightroom, I think that is by choice rather than a reflection that Topaz Texture Effects couldn’t do these edits.

Yes I could have achieved the same effect in Photoshop, but… it would have taken me a lot longer to do and probably would have been a larger file size to save on my hard-drive.  However, there is always a downside and that being, once you have saved your photograph, and Topaz Texture Effects 2 has closed, you can’t go back and re-edit your photograph or make changes to any of the settings/adjustments you had previously applied.

Pros so far

  • Quick
  • Easy to Use
  • Great Luminosity Masking
  • Creative
  • Ability to save your work as Presets
  • Ability to enhance each adjustment (basically a clipping mask)
  • Fast
  • Affordable
  • Works with Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Free updates
  • Total control over your creations

Cons so far

  • Unable to re-edit or change settings once you saved your creation.
  • Software closes when you save your work.
  • Strips metadata from image.
Posted by Bren in Landscape, Photography, 2 comments
Duck Pond

Duck Pond

A photograph of a little pond at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent.

A photograph of a little pond at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent.

I really can’t believe how much I am liking this Topaz Texture Effects. The above photograph heading its way to the trash bin; I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like the sky. I didn’t like the texture of the photograph, so for experimentation purposes, I wanted to see if this photograph which was heading towards that recycle bin could be transformed using Topaz Texture Effects 2.  And all I can say is WOW.

My processing method for this photograph was:

  • Original edits in Lightroom, which included exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows, blacks, whites and clarity.
  •  

  • Using the Edit in Feature I selected ‘Edit in Topaz Texture Effects’ (which I had already set up via Topaz Labs easy instructions on how to use this piece of software with Lightroom).
  •  

  • A dust and scratches adjustment was added to top left hand corner, in a diagonal shape to add texture to sky to the sky. Again I could add my own dust and scratch textures should I wish.  But for this photograph I used one of the pre-installed dust and scratch textures.
  •  

  • I wanted a light leak within the main tree where there was a hole in the branches, so I used the Light Leak Adjustment, increased the size and lowered the opacity so that it was so prominent.  I just wanted that glimmer and the sliders with the Light Leaks adjustment gave me the exact adjustments I wanted.
  •  

  • One of the many things I like about Topaz Texture Effects 2, is the ability to add your own textures.. so all those textures you have saved over the months and years on your computer, are easily imported into this software for you to be able to use at the click of a few buttons.  So for this particular image, I used one of my own textures which I uploaded to Topaz Texture Effects 2 and then used the luminosity masking to keep this texture mainly in the areas where I wanted it to be more prominent. In fact you can add your own textures, light leaks, photos for double exposures.. easily and each panel gives you the ability to categorise your textures into groups.
  •  

  • I wanted to make the darks and contrast of the trees, pond and bushes more prominent and I found I could do this easily by adding a Basic Adjustment to the picture. And because I didn’t want the sky  affected as I had already achieved the desired look I wanted, I then add a luminosity mask to this adjustment so that it only affected the trees and pond.
  •  

  • When I was happy I saved my photo by clicking OK and Topaz Texture Effects automatically added my textured image back into Lightroom. From there I just added a graduated filter and did some dodging and burning.

This photograph was basically one of the first few I did in Topaz Texture Effects 2 and I have to say, you don’t need to be an artist to be able to create stunning work. The software is easy to use and very powerful.  The only thing that holds you back is your imagination.  If you can imagine it… Topaz Texture Effects 2 can do it, easier and a lot quicker than using Photoshop alone.

Topaz Texture Effects 2 is also a standalone application, so you don’t have to have Lightroom or Photoshop to use it, which is an added bonus within itself.

I have now been using this software for a few days and as each day passes, I am finding that you can do some of the basic things that you do in Lightroom. Yes there are some limitations with Topaz Texture Effects… one being not able to Watermark your photograph… And my earlier little gripe about not being able to dodge and burn has now been smoothed away.. you see  I have found a way to dodge and burn in Topaz Texture Effects 2… You just do the following:

  • Create a Basic Adjustment
  •  

  • Enable Masking
  •  

  • Invert the Masking Layer to Black
  •  

  • Select the Brush option, and lower the strength and hardness and paint in white at various strengths to do your dodging by altering the sliders within the Basic Adjustment Panel and then repeat the process to do your burning.

For me this software is exactly what I was looking for.. yes it does have its teething problems about stripping the lens profile from the metadata even after experimented to see whether the lens profile would still be there if I made sure that the Lens Profile was selected in Lightroom’s Lens Profile Panel in the Develop Module; but these are features that Topaz Labs could work on..

One other thing I have found, is this, if you want to do a post and show the enhancements you made.. or you want to create your work as a Preset make sure you do your screen captures as you go along and save the Preset before clicking OK.  Because once you click OK, the photograph is automatically imported back into Lightroom and the Topaz Texture Effects 2 software is closed immediately.

Again minor things, but enhancements that would make this particular software just perfect.

 

Posted by Bren in Landscape, Photography, 2 comments
Split-Toning

Split-Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W without Split Toning

I was playing around today with an image I took at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex.  As soon as I saw the image I knew I wanted to create a monochrome image of this tulip… I loved the shine on the petals.

Anyway after processing the image I thought about playing around with the Split Toning Panel in Lightroom. Originally the tulip was a red colour so I kept my image to crimson shades.

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

I love how the split-toning gave a shine to the photograph, so I decided to take it one step further and thought about a purple tulip.  So I altered the values of the split-toning to create a purple tulip

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Purple Split Toning

 

And then I thought about a gold looking tulip… so again I just played around with the colours in the split-toning panel

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriements Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Gold Split Toning.

It is surprising how playing around with split-toning can turn a monochrome photograph into a toned colour photo.  Below are the values I used for each photograph.

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 0 comments
Just Blooming

Just Blooming

New Dahlia Bloom

A photograph of a new dahlia bloom taken at Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex

 

Lately my photography has taken me to photographing a lot of flowers… whether it is because I am now confined I don’t know.. but I am thoroughly enjoying my new passion of photographing such beautiful blooms and buds… especially those with such vibrant colours.

 

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 2 comments
Yellow Flower of Lullingstone

Yellow Flower of Lullingstone

A photograph of a yellow flower taken in the World Gardens at Lullingstone Castle, in Kent.

A photograph of a yellow flower taken in the World Gardens at Lullingstone Castle, in Kent.

 

This flower was taken just a few weeks back when we visited Lullingstone Castle near Eynsford in Kent…

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 0 comments
Lily…

Lily…

A photograph of a lily flower taken at Pashley Manor Gardens

A photograph of a lily flower taken at Pashley Manor Gardens

 

The just love the vibrant colours in the above photograph… originally it was more of a sky blue background… which didn’t compliment the lily in my opinion… so after I processed the photograph I changed the hue of the blue of the HS/Colour/B&W Panel.

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 0 comments
Concrete Gazebo

Concrete Gazebo

A photograph of the concrete gazebo at Pashley Manor Gardens which is situated by the Anne Boleyn statue.

A photograph of the concrete gazebo at Pashley Manor Gardens which is situated by the Anne Boleyn statue.

As you stroll around the grounds of Pashley Manor you come to the Old Moat which has a small island in the middle.  To gain access to the island you cross the small wrought iron bridge.. once on the island you come across this concrete gazebo which is by the Anne Boleyn statue.  I can image this place as being a favourite location to shoot a bride and groom’s wedding photos. xx

Posted by Bren in Architecture, Landscape, Photography, 2 comments
High Key Castle

High Key Castle

A photograph of Lullingstone Castle processed to a high key effect.

A photograph of Lullingstone Castle processed to a high key effect.

 

I wanted to try something new today… I have been seeing a lot of High Key images lately and I am drawn to how they look…. Above is my first attempt… and I think I do need a bit more practicing… but it is something I wanted to try for a long time and finally got around to.

Lullingstone Castle - High Key -_MG_6201-Edit2

A photograph of Lullingstone Castle processed to a high key effect.

 

The second image is identical to the first except I have the whole image an emerald green tint to it…  Now the moral of this post is a note to myself:

  • Write down how you did it.. as you go along
  • And name your friggin layers… so that you can go back and at least guess what you did on that layer.
Posted by Bren in Architecture, Monochrome, Photography, 0 comments
Angel wing petals..

Angel wing petals..

A photograph of a white flower taken at Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex

A photograph of a white flower taken at Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex

 

A photograph of a white flower taken at Pashley Manor Gardens in East Sussex… those two petals in the bottom right-hand corner remind me so much of angel wings…

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 2 comments