I had fun yesterday giving this butterfly a painted look with three textures and two different Topaz Impression filters. It somehow satisfies my childhood desire to be a painter.
I’m back among the land of the living again! I haven’t quite returned to photography as yet, so today’s photo is a reworking of one I took last summer in Tucson. I played with it in Photoshop and added some textures to create a painterly look.
Yesterday we woke up to a couple inches of snow on the ground- which quickly became 4 or 5 inches at least, as it snowed steadily all day. It is super cold, as it was during and after our last snowstorm, so snow is still on the ground- unlike in our first two winters here, when it all melted away by noon. We are experiencing a real winter in the Arizona high country!
Around noon, my husband spotted this hawk sitting quietly on one of the birdhouses. It was snowing lightly at the time, and the wind was blowing. I’m not sure if he was just resting or was waiting for the birds that frequent the bird feeders in this part of the yard. I posted a shot of him on Facebook, and it was suggested he was either a Copper’s hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I didn’t enter the debate (I have no confidence in this area), but I did read that even experienced birders have trouble telling them apart.
For the above image, I cloned out all the distracting branches and the rocks on the hill in the background, and then added a texture at low opacity to make the background less stark. Below is a more natural photo- with the branches and background clutter. Both photos were taken through a bedroom window, and he was definitely aware of my presence!
It’s been over a month since we left Yellowstone, but I still am going through my photos. Here is a shot of the chapel with an elk grazing outside.
And below is a very early and very cold morning view of the Yellowstone Justice Center. Can you spot the elk in this photo? 🙂
We were out on a drive looking at majestic mountains and beautiful expansive views, and I was down on my knees in the snow, shooting icy weeds and wishing I had my macro lens. No, that’s not a bokeh texture- that is sparkly snow!
I love editing with textures, and the new Topaz program, Texture Effects, is giving me a whole new way of approaching the process. You can start from scratch, making basic adjustments and then adding dust or scratches, lens leaks, vignettes, borders, and/or textures OR you can start with a filter preset and then adjust everything from there. There is a masking feature, which works well, except that you can’t use the bracket keys to control brush size (I usually choose to mask in Photoshop, because it’s easier for me). You can upload your own textures into the program, as well as create your own presets, which you can choose to share with a community of other users of the program. To be clear- it’s not just about textures- it’s other effects as well. You might decide to not use a texture, but just other effects- or add your own textures in Photoshop afterward. It’s a very flexible program! With that said, I will add that many members of the FB group devoted to this program have had technical issues with installing it and getting it to save their edits. I have had no issues, thankfully.
So here’s an edit of a macro photo I snapped last weekend in our front yard (I think I used a filter and added 3 textures in Texture FX and then masked in Photoshop).
My friend, Carol and I took a walk at Willow Lake the evening before she left- hoping for a dramatic sunset, some birds, and golden light on the rocks. There was a lot of golden light, but no dramatic sunset and few birds. I enjoyed photographing the weeds and flowers backlit by the sun, which was hanging low in the sky; here are a few of my favorites:
I love how only one flower is facing the camera in this shot.
A hazy Granite Mountain can be seen in the background here.