What with Easter just being around the corner and a lot of things to do… today’s photograph is one I took on a windy cold spring evening at Rochester Castle in March 2017. After a bit of manipulation in Photoshop to remove a litter bin and a flagpole without a flag… here is my quick photo for today.
As time is of the essence… I am afraid it is just a post and run post from me today. And I will leave you with a brilliant Lightroom tip courtesy of Lightroom Killer Tips about using the HDR/Panoramic Feature in Lightroom.
Happy Easter everyone xx
Now I love Lightroom and the majority of my work’s carried out in Lightroom. However, Lightroom does have its limitations and one of those limitations is that you can’t work with layers or add textures to your images. So Photoshop is my number photo editing software that I turn to when adding textures. But what I hate about Photoshop is the time involved when having to use masks. You know the process, selecting elements and then refining the masks. Anyway the other day I watched a video from Blake Rudis of f64 Academy about Topaz Remask.
Honestly, I just couldn’t believe how easy he made it look! And as Topaz, Labs this week, are having a 40% off sale for Spring.. (link in sidebar – just enter SPRING40 in voucher code box) I just couldn’t resist buying Topaz Remask.
Like the subject in the video, the little owl above was photographed against a bright blue wall. And boy was it easy to mask him out with Topaz Remask. The software is simple to use, and does a great job. You don’t have to worry about being precise. You just paint the areas red that you don’t want, green for the areas you want to keep; and then use blue around the edges of your subject. The blue markings tell Remask that these are the areas I want you to pay particular attention to and mask out. When finished just select Computer Mask and the job is done.
In the above image I added a couple of textures and used a powder paint effect with a gradient background reflecting the colours from my textures added.
The Topaz Remask algorithm does all the hard work of computing the mask. Of course, this allowed me to carry on editing my image without getting stressed over trying to make quick selections. You know when you select something and then you have to add to that selection or subtract from that selection when using the Photoshop tools only. I don’t know about you but sometimes I get rather frustrated with this process of masking subjects. But now with the power of Remask all my frustrations over selecting subjects have just flown out of the window. Yes there will be times, I suspect, when a little refinement maybe necessary in Topaz Remask. But after watching the videos on Topaz Remask it seems a lot easier refining the mask than it does in Photoshop.
Thank you Topaz. And thank you Jambs Owls for allowing me to photograph your wonderful owls.
I really can’t get my head around the date change of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge… anyway here is my entry for this weeks challenge Security. The above photograph was taken at Leeds Castle back in September 2016 and shows the security of the moat in protecting the castle from invasion.
Now you all know how much I harp on about loving Lightroom, well!! There is only one thing I wish Adobe would change.. that is the order of their panels in the Develop Module or give you the ability to drag and drop the panels as per your workflow schedule and the order you do things in Lightroom.
The most important three panels when working on an image, for me, are the Camera Calibration Panel and Lens Correction Panel. And guess what one is at the bottom and the other is the sixth one down. These two panels are the panels that most people go to first before they do any adjustments on their photograph. Another panel used widely is the Transform Panel.
And again I wish this panel could be placed before the Basic Panel. In most images you really can’t see how bad the lens profile correction is… especially if it is a landscape photograph with various rocks, mountains and trees in the distance and the elevation of each element of your photograph has different altitudes. But when it comes to seascapes or anything with an horizon that is so predominant then you really need to get the horizon straight before you do any work on your image.
My workflow always starts out with Camera Calibration, Lens Corrections, and Transform. Once I have these three panels set to how I want them.. it gives me the chance to decide whether I want to continue processing the image. At times we can’t use a tripod or wait for people to pass. Or we can’t get to a place to get the best shot possible, especially with architectural buildings, so the transform panel is an asset. There is nothing like working on an image and then finding when you achieved everything you need you go to the Transform Panel and your composition is totally wrong and you’ve lost part of what you wanted to capture when you go to get your buildings perspective straight.
Take this image for instance (which is a 3 shot hdr – merged in Lightroom before any corrections)
You can clearly see how skew-whiff the horizon was. And just by enabling the Lens Correction automatically the horizon became straight
Basic edits, white balance, exposure etc enhance an image, but! You need to get the basics correct before you start enhancing your image. Horizons are my bugbear… I can’t stand skew-whiff horizons or images where you can clearly see distortion. And when working on an image, for me, the perspective has to be correct. Whether I do further work in the Transform Panel is just another part editing for me. But I like to work on editing an image.. with the correct perspective. I am still working on the above image.. and will post the image when finished.
So please Adobe… give us the ability to drag and drop panels in your different modules of Lightroom. And if you can’t do it for all panels in Lightroom; at least let us have this option in the Develop Module. Perhaps you could ask users? Would they prefer to have the Lens Correction Panel, Camera Calibration Panel and Transform panels before the Basic Panel? Like I want.
I thought I would give you a guide into the processing I did on the above image. I knew in my mind I wanted to create a soft but saturated image of a fallen tree at Ashenbank Woods near Cobham. As I was adding a slight texture to my image, I knew I would be using Photoshop – so I broke down my workflow into three stages.
Most of the processing I could have achieved in Lightroom alone, using the adjustment brush but I knew I wanted to add a texture so I used a texture from my collections which is courtesy of Kerstin Frank who is on Flickr. If you are into textures, her work is superb.. I just love how she combines her textures with her images. A Great Artist.
To keep myself out of mischief today I decided to play around with a singular daffodil that was photographed in the greenhouse of Hall Place in Bexley. And believe it or not it is of a miniature daffodil.
I wanted to enhance the colours of this singular daffodil to make the petals a more vibrant orange colour.. so in order to do that I used Lightroom. I then edited my image after my Lightroom Adjustments in Photoshop.
Note – At each stage of my edits… as I had used Lightroom initially to edit my photo in Photoshop… I used File – Save As and named each stage. By doing this when I went back to Lightroom to Export all my edits to WordPress – I had each stage as a separate image in Lightroom.
Another week and another WordPress Photography Challenge, this week the top is Dense. Density can come in many forms, and in various objects. Glass can also be dense , even to the point that you can’t see through it… A woodland might be dense with trees that you can’t see sky. And in the photograph above this grassy area was full of daffodils.It was so dense that you couldn’t even walk to the trees without treading on the daffodils. I love spring time.. the sun shines, the weather gets warmer and the spring flowers start to bring colour to our gardens. Daffodils, tulips and crocuses are signs that summer is just around the corner. I adore Spring with its beauty.
To the original image I added a texture to the whole photograph and added a sun-flare to highlight the daffodils in the corner. Again for the vignette I used Matt Kloskowski’s method of adding a vignette in Photoshop. Which I wrote about in my Weeping Willow Post.
I love taking part in these weekly challenges that WordPress curate.. and should you wish to enter an image.. just mosey on over to the WordPress Topics and select a challenge you want to submit a photograph to. I am sure there is a topic that might interest you. Taking part in photo challenges if you are new to blogging, especially photographic blogs, is a way of increasing your site traffic as well as getting other people to see your images. As well as being fun to do.
Have a good weekend everyone… and happy snapping !!!
I must remember that the Weekly Photo Challenge set by WordPress has moved from Friday to Wednesday.. anyway this week’s topic is about being Green. Green is everywhere, in landscape and floral photography.. so this week’s images were easy to find. Especially when it came to a weeping willow tree.
My first two images are flowers where the stems and leaves are green..
For my last image into this challenge it has to be a photograph of the Weeping Willow tree the straddles the banks of the River Cray at Hall Place in Bexley
Now I don’t know if any of you follow Matt Kloskowski on YouTube.. but if you don’t I highly recommend you do so. He has such wonderful tips for both Lightroom and Photoshop and yesterday I watched one of his videos where he explained how to do a wonderful vignette in Photoshop
It is explained at roughly 9.41 minutes into the video but I would recommend watching the whole video, because he goes into depth about dodging and burning as well as sharpening both in Lightroom and Photoshop.
The steps for this vignette method are:
Have a good weekend everyone!!
Whilst looking back over previous photo challenges that WordPress curates and I found one called Path. A path comes in many shapes and forms, like the image above. Which is of a wooden bridge. A path is made by using different materials that enable a person to walk across an area with ease. It could be concrete, decking, timber planks, paving slabs or even shingle. A path will lead you from one place to another.
The above photograph was taken back in July 2016 when we visited Scotland for our annual holiday. And this wooden bridge was a pathway over the River Coe in the woodland area of Glencoe at Red Squirrel Campsite.
For this particular image again I used my Powder Paint Effect but this time I removed the outline box that I normally use. Within Photoshop I played around with gradients, photo filters as well as colour lookups. As per my usual workflow, this image originated in Lightroom. With Lightroom edits finished I then processed the image in Photoshop to get the Powder Paint Effect.
Once I finished my edits in Photoshop, I saved the filed and imported it back into Lightroom for further edits.
I know a lot of my workflow’s done in Lightroom, which is a supped up version of Camera Raw. However my preference for editing a photograph has to be Lightroom. I know with both programs you can do exactly the same edits and do the same effect to an image. But there is something about Lightroom that I find easier to use. I only use Camera Raw within Photoshop when it is a necessity. Otherwise I always work in Lightroom.
For me Lightroom is my first port of call. I don’t know about you but if I can get away without having to use Photoshop I will. But due to the style of editing I am doing lately I have to use Photoshop as Lightroom doesn’t allow you to blend two images together, or allows you to work in layers. Wouldn’t it be nice if that feature, one day, became part of Lightroom – the ability to work in layers.
Do you have a preference when editing your images? Is it Lightroom or Camera Raw? I would love to hear your thoughts on which one you use when editing photos and the reasons why you find that particular piece of software easier to work with.
Another week and another photography challenge from the WordPress Team. And the topic for this week’s challenge is called Wish. And boy am I wishing for spring and summer to arrive early. Last year for me was to put it bluntly horrendous. What with not being able to go out and about.
Yes, I had the wheelchair. But, look, sitting in a wheelchair and not being able to access the beautiful parts of gardens which were uneven and not easy accessible is one of the things that I found rather frustrating. You see, I love taking woodland walk photographs. I love the shadows and how the sun glistens through the trees and casts shadows on the ground. I love the bluebells and woodland flowers and believe me I missed it.
Keeping with the Powder Paint Effect is something that I wanted to do.. and I just love the muted pastel beige tones which in my opinion compliment the stark brightness of the white flowers.
I can’t wait for the spring to arrive properly and long for those summer days, with walks in the woods and the warmth of sun on your back.
Our holiday last year to Scotland was a little marred by my hip pain and lack of mobility. I would have loved to walk the Highlands and go off the beaten track a little, just to photograph the amazing scenery. But unfortunately that was not to be so most of the photos I took were in fact taken by the roadside. And for the WordPress photo challenge called The Road Taken, for me this was a perfect example of a photograph being taken on the road.
My inspiration for this photograph was the dark looming storm clouds. Rain? Yes Scotland has rain practically every day. Hubby and I laughed so much whilst on holiday about the weather. What we would call heavy rain down here in the South of England is just a little shower in Scotland. Heavy rain up in the Highlands is like monsoon weather. It reminds me of someone turning on a hose pipe full pelt and aiming it at the window.
The noise of the heavy rain beating down on the caravan roof was a constant thing we learnt to sleep through. The stormy look of the rain clouds in the sky above the mountain tops did add drama to photographs. Stormy clouds in my opinion add drama to your photographs. In landscape photography being able to photograph storm clouds is a lot better than having a dull bland sky. A sky that is just one toned grey and dismal adds nothing to a photography. When photographing skies that are dismal you either have to process the photograph in black and white or replace the sky in Photoshop. And that is something I don’t like having to do unless it is completely necessary.
Driving to Glencoe is a breath-taking experience. To see waterfalls by the roadside and unspoilt countryside everywhere you look is what makes the long drive worthwhile. If you are into Landscape Photography take a trip to the Highlands. The whole area is inspirational, relaxing and worthy of a trip. Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen is in Scotland. And yes I will be returning and hopefully going off of the beaten track this time.
For just under £10 a month, I subscribe to the Creative Cloud and Lightroom Photography Package and personally for me, it suits my needs as I get both Lightroom and Photoshop. However Lightroom Mobile is another thing. I do wish Adobe would give Android users the same features that are available to iPad and iPhone users. Android users can’t do local adjustments which is rather annoying. I keep moaning and I keep being told it is in the pipeline. But all I can say it must be a friggin big pipeline. 😀 😀 Read More
Today I thought I would approach a subject that has many opinions on it. In my talking point discussion I want to ask is using a Lightroom Preset created by another photographer cheating? Or just a time-saver?
I have downloaded free Lightroom Presets as well as purchasing Lightroom Presets. I bought a collection of Lightroom Presets from Serge Ramelli. And I use these Presets on a regular basis. But is it cheating to use another photographers collection of Presets on your own work or should you play around with that particular Preset to make it your own? Read More
I’ve played around with the Oil Paint filter at times in Photoshop before. However, due to it not working on my desktop I invested in Topaz Impression. What I like about Impression is that the software applies different styles and brush strokes to your image. However, for this Blue Rose image I wanted to stick primarily to using the Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop. Read More
As many of you may have gathered by now I am an avid Lightroom User and if I can do all of my processing in Lightroom I will. Have WordPress excelled themselves? You bet they have, but I will get back to that in a moment. First of all it seems absolutely ages since I did a WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge and this week’s theme is called Shadow. And I found the perfect photograph from Leeds Castle which has loads of shadows in it. Read More
To create the above photograph, I started out in Lightroom. To the dahlia I cropped the image and then did a few minor edits to the image. Over-processing the image at this point was one thing I didn’t want to do, as I knew I would be giving it an Oil Paint Effect in Photoshop.
As per my usual workflow, the real PSD file containing the Powder Paint Effect was exported to Photoshop by clicking the Edit in Photoshop in Lightroom and by selecting from the options Edit a copy. Read More
As I mentioned way back… I have had 3 blog posts produced on the Topaz Labs Blog.. I have felt very humbled in being asked, by Jodi Robbins, to write articles for them. Anyway.. the post I wrote was about adding Paint Effect to Photos and I used a photograph of a gate that was taken at Eltham Palace in London. Read More
One of the places we love to visit is Eltham Palace Gardens in London.. which is owned and maintained by the English Heritage… The Palace is surrounded by a moat, with two of moat being water and the other two sides being formal gardens…
To gain access to the Palace you have to cross a stone bridge and the above photograph was taking whilst standing on that bridge looking down at the moat.
Even though I liked the above photograph purely processed in Lightroom; I wanted to take it a step further and decided to process the image in Photoshop using Topaz Texture Effects 2 and Topaz Impression.
What I liked above using the Topaz Texture Effects 2 was that it gave more definition to the tree branches and trunks as well as the sky. I didn’t want a heavy texture applied to the image as I wanted the texture to add subtle hints of texture. The above image is straight from Photoshop without adding any further edits in Lightroom.
The above is the final image after adding Topaz Impression 2 to the image… I love the paint effect and I added some dodging and burning using radial filters in Lightroom to give the image a feeling of there being many light sources.
Even though I love all three images my favourite is the painted effect image created by Topaz Impression 2… and I am quite pleased with the effect these plugins gave the image especially when you add the image to a frame.
I have to say I am really enjoying myself with Topaz Impresssion and it is a wonderful plugin to add to my Topaz Collection. Again I feel very humbled that Jodi Robbins of Topaz Labs asked me to do another tutorial for their blog… which you can read here and it is based on using Topaz Texture Effects and Topaz Adjust to get a peeling paint effect image.
Within the grounds of Great Comp were some winter flowers which were absolutely beautiful in colour and this is a photograph I took of one of those flowers.
And for this image I used my scaling technique to make the photograph more about the flower.
A few months ago I came across a site called The Graphics Fairy where you could download free images to use in your digital artwork.. whilst browsing I found this wonderful angel on a crescent moon… and just loved the colours used in the image, so I based my entire composition on those colours.
Here are the steps I used to create the above image.
Happy New Year everyone xx
Well Christmas is over and only the New Year celebrations left to get through before I start getting back to my photography… And boy was Santa a good Santa this year… I did get my soft-box and a new 24mm Pancake Lens and an extension tube for my camera… plus Topaz Impression plug-in.
As many of you have read… no way can I get the Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop to work on my desktop PC no matter whatever I try and I do like playing around with this filter… so hubby treated my to Topaz Impression which gives you many styles of painting effects. Again this plugin is compatible with both Photoshop and Lightroom and the above photograph was created using the Photoshop and Topaz Impression
This photograph was created primarily in Lightroom with Topaz Impression being used to give it a painterly look.
I am loving this new plugin and there is a lot of learn and many things you can do to a photograph and again you have the great opportunity to be able to download presets from the Topaz Community.
I was very proud to be asked again to write another article for Topaz Labs… And for this article I thought about using multiple Topaz Labs Plugins to create an image. And for my tutorial I used this Photograph.
You can read the full article at Topaz Labs.
Have you ever taken a photograph and wished you could have got closer to the subject? Or you wish that you could crop the image without losing the original size of the image? Well here is a quick tip for Lightroom Users..
Under the Transform Panel in the Develop Module, there are a set of sliders that allow you to scale you image to 150 and you can also move your scaling around by using the x and y sliders.
With regards to the above image.. I scaled my image to 125 played around with the x and y sliders until I achieved the look I was looking for… and by doing this I kept the original dimensions of my photograph. Whereas if I had cropped the image to get the composition I wanted it would have decreased my image size, from 5472 x 3648 pixels to 4621 x 3080 pixels.
As you can see from the original photograph… there were elements I didn’t want to keep, as I didn’t want the viewer to be distracted by all the greenery and I wanted this image to focus primarily on the Bridge and Gate House.
I hope this little tip helps you out… try scaling your image before using the crop tool.. and that will hopefully keep your image as close as it can be to the original image size… very helpful if you have to upload to certain sites… like 500px.
There is nothing more magical to see than a howling wolf under the moonlight.. Lately I have been doing a lot of composite images… and I decided to create two images… from the wolf and moonlight, with various processing techniques. And I thought they would be ideal for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Magic.
For this set of images I used the Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop before doing my final processing in Lightroom.
Carrying on from yesterday.. I have found another few sites that offer free png files for download.. Anyway for today’s creation I thought I would use these images… and have processed the above image in Lightroom, giving 5 different versions of the image.
I think my favourite has to be the second processed photograph (light purple) which has a pastel and dreamy looking feel to it. I am also entering this into the Daily Post Mythical challenge.
If any of my readers know of any good sites where you can download free png files I would be most grateful if you could leave a link in the comments…
Have a good weekend everyone xx
It has been ages since I have entered the WordPress Photo Challenge… so I decided to enter this tiny little flower into this weeks theme called Tiny.
For me Lightroom is my first port of call when processing an image. I like its simplicity, its versatility and for me the easiest post processing software to use. My main aim of using Photoshop is to remove elements that you can’t remove in Lightroom.
The above photograph was created by using Lightroom’s HDR feature. Once the HDR image was created I immediately sent the image to Photoshop to remove some of the distractions, mainly the people standing just above the water cascade.
This was done easily in Photoshop using the Spot Healing Tool.. I could have sent the photograph back into Lightroom but I wanted to use some filters I have the first Filter I used was Nik Collection Color Efex Pro. Read More