Revealing the artist within

Revealing the artist within

I love the Impressionists, and enjoy their work immensely.  When Topaz Labs created Impression - a software product that helps you convert your photos to digital paintings in a very realistic way - I was very intrigued.  Well I have used it for months now, and have found that it is having a profound impact on my photography.  Today's post is all about that, and of course there are a BUNCH of my digital paintings included for your viewing pleasure.  Hop on in!

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Ferry Building impressions

I love the Ferry Building and tend to shoot it from this same spot on nearly every trip I make to San Francisco.  It's just a beautiful scene in my opinion.  Consequently, I have a lot of shots that look pretty similar though.  But that's ok, because even though I shoot the same scene twice, in reality it never looks the same due to weather and lighting changes.

In this case, it was pretty dark already and this scene tends to sparkle a little more when there is more available light, at least in my opinion.  This is an HDR image and when I finished creating the HDR, the overall scene was somewhat "blah".  I briefly messed around with it and tried a few other things, but decided it was not going to make an impact.  But then I had an idea: how about changing it up and treating this more like an Impressionistic version or a watercolor-type of painting?  

So I popped over to Topaz Adjust and went to work. And you know what?  Topaz Adjust saved the image for me!  Thanks Topaz!

Irish impressions

So...your thoughts on the header?  Just trying to change things up a bit.  Curious about your feedback, thanks!

I really enjoyed Dublin.  It's a beautiful town and the people are so kind.  Plus, I love the accent!  I returned with a whole lot of photos, which I will keep sprinkling into the photostream here.  This one was taken at sunrise my first morning there.  I was wandering in the Temple Bar district, and when I saw those colors in the sky I raced out to the River Liffey to see what I could see.  I processed this HDR with a bit of a painterly effect, courtesy of Topaz Adjust.  Which reminds me, did you read my last post about the Topaz Adjust giveaway I am doing?

Dreamy Carmel sunset

Sunset on the beach in Carmel, CA is always a great way to wrap up a day.  This one was very colorful, which is always nice!  For this shot, I went with a little different processing, opting for sort of an Impressionistic look and a dreamy feel overall.  It seemed fitting to do so, since I dream of going back!

Cafe du Monde, painted

I have been messing around with the painterly effects in Topaz Adjust - if I recall correctly, the setting is called Painterly - Venice, or something like that.  Anyways, it's a lot of fun.  This is the famous Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, LA.  This is an older photo that I took about 2 years ago while visiting that wonderful town.  If you want to see the original version, you can find that here.  I don't often go back into the archives to reprocess shots - and not sure you can classify this as a reprocessing since I was going for a different look altogether - but once I started playing with the painterly effects, for some reason this old shot just popped into my mind and wouldn't leave me be until I created this version.  So, here it is, and now I can move on to something else!

Also, I absolutely hammered it in Santa Fe today, taking all sorts of shots and witnessed a fabulous sunset to boot.  Here's an iPhone shot of the St. Francis Cathedral that I took just a bit earlier tonight:

Pennybacker impressions

The Loop 360 Bridge (aka The Pennybacker Bridge) is a fabulous structure in west Austin which straddles the Colorado River (known as Lake Austin in that part).  It's just a beauty, and I have shot it from all sorts of angles over the years.  Recently we went out with some friends on their boat, and of course I brought along the Nikon.  Once we headed toward the bridge, I knew I was getting the chance to shoot it from a new perspective.  It was bright and sunny, as most summer days are here, so the lighting was not optimal.  As you can see, I intentionally processed this one with a bit of a painterly effect.  The colors are bright (and wrong!) but I thought it was fun.  Have a great Saturday and get out there with your camera!

Impressions of China Cove

Ok, one more photo of Carmel and then I will give you a break!  In this case, it’s more like an artistic rendering of a photo. I tried to turn it into a painting.  I snapped this photo (the one at the very bottom) while at China Cove in Point Lobos State Reserve, just outside of Carmel, CA.  That version you see is straight out of the camera.  It’s not bad but wasn’t exactly exciting to me.  Certainly I could do some things to improve it, but instead I thought it would be fun to get a little creative and mix it up a bit.  I have seen a lot of photos turned into these Impressionistic images, and figured I would try it myself.  So, here you go!  I had never done this before, and frankly I am not much of a Photoshop guy.  I do most of my work in Aperture and the Nik Software suite.  However, I do have Photoshop Elements for things like this.  So I just did a little Google search along with some trial and error, and here’s how it turned out!  Kinda fun right?

If you are curious, here’s how you do this:

  • Open the image in Photoshop and select Layer > Duplicate Layer
  • Select the top/duplicate layer and set the blending mode to Overlay
  • On the top layer, select Filter > Artistic > Sponge
    • Here I just moved the sliders until I liked the look of it
    • Then, hit OK
  • Select the bottom layer and select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur
    • I used a radius around 4 pixels
    • Then, hit OK

You are done!  Afterwards, I messed with it a little in Color Efex Pro, using the Glamour Glow filter to soften it up a little more and give it that little something extra.  All told, about 5 minutes work.  Pretty fun!  Thanks for visiting!

Here's the original, straight-out-of-camera shot, for comparison purposes: