One photo, a million possibilities

Some thoughts on creative possibilities, experimentation, and the benefits of changing your routine

I am having a lot of fun lately with photography.  It's always been fun - and I hope it always is - but lately something else has been going on.  I think I am going through some changes (no hot flashes thankfully though LOL) and taking a new, different and better approach to this craft that I love.

If you read my recent post about curbing my usage of Facebook, you may understand why I am having more fun.  I stopped wasting time scrolling mindlessly there, and instead am investing that otherwise free time into my creativity.  It's incredible.

I don't have to have hours of dedicated free time to get creative - I just need little bits of time.  And I am taking them, thanks to Facebook generally just driving me nuts over the last few months.  It's amazing how freeing it is to not be logged into that site very often.  And I am ashamed to admit that I have wasted precious hours there just scrolling for no good reason.  

I was a creature of habit, and it was a terribly wasteful habit.

When it came to photo-processing, I had become a creature of habit too.  I used to go into my library, decide on a photo (or 2-3 at times), and process them.  I followed the same general routine each time (using the same software product) partly because I liked the results (and still do) but partly because I didn't have enough time to learn anything new.  And why did I lack the time?  Well, partly because I wasted free time on Facebook.

Well, that's no more, and I feel great.

I have been embracing software that has lain dormant on my MacBook Pro for years (Topaz Simplify) as well as picking up some new software that I enjoy so much I am using it more and more (Macphun Intensify Pro), and even experimenting with something that is completely and utterly new to me (OnOne's Perfect Effects).  I am growing, learning, expanding my skills, and generally having a hell of a good time.

Isn't that what creativity should be about?

So today's post is just an idea I sort of stumbled across while processing the photo.  I actually had the time (and the idea) to process it in several different styles and in several different software programs, just to see how different I could make it look (and still like it).  Sure, I could do a whole lot more than I did here, but the point was just a creative exercise.

It really made me realize how fortunate we are as photographers to have these wonderful and diverse tools at our disposal.  You really can take a single photo and take it a million different ways.

Isn't that awesome?

So if you are like I used to be, take a break from your routine, try something new, and see where it takes you.  You might just learn something, but at the very least you will have fun trying. 

And by the way, this was a road shot I took earlier this summer in New Mexico.  I love road shots, and with the mountain range and those ABSOLUTELY INSANE clouds ahead, well...I just couldn't resist.  

All of these were built on the same base HDR, which is a 3 frame shot merged to HDR in Photomatix.  Editing was done in the software product mentioned with each photo.  Final touchup for each was done in Aperture.  (Yes, I still have Aperture, even though Apple is killing it.  You can read my thoughts on that here.)

By the way, do you have a favorite version?

(click any photo to enlarge)

This version was edited with Nik Software's Color Efex Pro.

This version was edited with Macphun Intensify Pro.

This version was edited in Topaz Adjust.

This version was edited in Topaz Simplify.

This version was edited in OnOne Software's Perfect Effects.

This version was edited in Nik Software's Analog Efex Pro.

This version was edited with Topaz ReStyle.

This version was edited in Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro.