Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Anyway, these days a lot of people (do a search on Flickr and you'll find a lot of examples) have figured out ways to create the effect in Photoshop. And to be honest, it's pretty simple, but some of the people that are describing it have convoluted it a bit. The best teaching site I've found for it so far is Photoshop Girl (and what a cool name for a site). There is a video tutorial (lots of clicking involved--so yes, you really do click on the things she says to click on) that uses the same technique that I used to create the photo of my kitty Buddha (shown here). The effect is kind of subtle in my shot, but if you click on the image you should see it pretty well. Basically all that you're doing is duping the image a few times, adding a Gaussian blur and changing the blending modes as you go. It's not difficult and there is a lot of room for play in the various steps.
For some reason the technique works better with some subjects than others--and landscape and portraits (animal or human) seem to work very well. Again, do a search on Flickr and or do a Google Image search on "Orton Effect" and you'll see more examples. It's a fun thing to play with on a cold winter night and it doesn't require a new lens or a new camera, just Photoshop and some imagination.
By the way, this is my 489th posting on this blog. Amazing. I'll be at 500 soon and then I think I'll retire it :)
Photo Notes: The photo was made with a Nikon D90 and a 70-300mm Nikkor zoom. Exposure at ISO 200 was 1/60 at f/4 and fill-flash from the built-in flash was used.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
by: e.e. cummings (1894-1962)
- ITTLE tree
- little silent Christmas tree
- you are so little
- you are more like a flower
- who found you in the green forest
- and were you very sorry to come away?
- see i will comfort you
- because you smell so sweetly
- i will kiss your cool bark
- and hug you safe and tight
- just as your mother would,
- only don't be afraid
- look the spangles
- that sleep all the year in a dark box
- dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
- the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
- put up your little arms
- and i'll give them all to you to hold
- every finger shall have its ring
- and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
- then when you're quite dressed
- you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
- and how they'll stare!
- oh but you'll be very proud
- and my little sister and i will take hands
- and looking up at our beautiful tree
- we'll dance and sing
- "Noel Noel"
Thursday, December 15, 2011
One funny editing note: There was a thread sticking out of the top of the mouse on the left and I cloned it out in Photoshop (no one wants to see a mouse with a loose thread). But I forgot to edit the thread out of the shadow--look at the red circle here:
Photo Notes: Shot with a Nikon D90 using an 18-70mm Nikkor zoom. Shot with available light and captured in RAW; processed in Photoshop CS3. Exposure was 1/100 second at f/6.3, ISO 640.
Book Notes: If you're going to buy any of my books for Christmas this year, please shop locally--preferably at an independent book store. Amazon has recently released an app that allows you to scan bar codes at the local book store and then buy the book cheaper from Amazon. The net result of that is that you save a few bucks but you put the local store out of business.
Monday, December 12, 2011
When I processed the images I was pleasantly surprised by how surreal and interesting the background looked. Tino doesn't usually perform in such an outlandish costume, but this year it was part of the show and that, along with the white background, adds some nice color to the shot. By the way, you really can' see it in this shot, but Tino is about 40' or more off of the ground and working without a net--as usual (he never works with a net). I've photographed him at more than twice that height, but it's still a scary feat. And he did a headstand on the chair during the performance--something I'll never get used to seeing.
Incidentally, a quick editing note: Since the background of the blog and the background in the shot were white, I added a thin black line around the frame in Photoshop. That's easy to do: just use the rectangular marquis selection tool to outline the shot, then go to Edit>Stroke and select a pixel width for the stroke (outline). I used a black 3 pixel stroke here--otherwise the shot would have just faded into the page.
Photo Note: Shot with a Nikon D90 with a 70-300mm Nikkor lens. Exposure was 1/160 second at f/7.1. The shot was recorded in RAW and white balance was set to cloudy day (to warm up the shot a bit).
Exposure Book: There is an entire chapter on exposing for difficult subjects in my new book Exposure Photo Workshop, 2nd Edition. It's available on Amazon and at most bookstores. The original edition of the book has been translated to Spanish, Polish, Chinese and both editions are available on Kindle or Fire (you can read both on your iPad with a free app).
Thursday, December 1, 2011
This past Sunday I took a walk around a local pond and experimented with some fun in-camera effects (that I discovered purely by accident while looking at the menus). Two of those effects are show here: the "soft focus" effect at top and then the "reflection" mode below that. There are others too: including a pop art filter (you end up with a purple and black silhouette basically), a fisheye lens effect (which is actually kind of cool), a watercolor filter and five others. These aren't the kinds of things I'd use seriously (I can create them better in Photoshop), but they are still a lot of fun to play around with--and everyone I've shown them too is getting a kick out of them. I thought both filters did a fine job of capturing the mood of an overcast November day in New England.
Too many people take cameras way too seriously. They're supposed to be fun and have an experimental nature to them, I think--that's how you learn what you like and it's also away to just break out of your day-to-day visual limitations. So, for me, discovering weird stuff like this in cameras is just great. Don't let people tell you that "it's just a gimmick" because hey, gimmicks are fun, too. When I was a kid I always wanted a Lite Brite set to play with (and never got one!) and guess what--I still want one! I think I was born being in love with light and color!
Holiday gift idea: If you're looking for something different and easy to buy for a Christmas gift, consider making a donation in someone's name to a worthy cause. One of my favorites is the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. The sanctuary is a non-public refuge where elephants that have been rescued from the circus or from zoos can live out their lives in dignity and peace in a wild and free environment. They deserve nothing less.