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Star Wars Canyon

Having visited Comic Con and spent a day photographing, I actually ended up with some interesting pictures that I have used in my compositing. Here I have a scene with Storm Troopers and R2D2. The x-wing fighter is a picture of a plastic model of my son’s. The landscape is 2 different rock formations pieced together. Add a moon and it looks like it could be a desert planet from Star Wars.

Winter scenes

Although I hate the cold, you have to love how the trees get transformed with a little snow and frost. Here are 2 recent composites where I’ve used a few shots from a recent snow. This is just 5 layers, the foreground a hill near the new park on 22nd in Loveland, the row of trees from a subdivision above Lon Hegler Reservoir, the right tree from a school yard behind McDonalds, and a sunset including the foothills not far […]

Approaching, a series of composites with a train.

Once I create something I like, it’s always fun to experiment and see how alterations change the mood. Here are 5 installments after my first which can be found in the previous post. Here is the first which may have lacked balance, but still created the surreal effect I was after. Here the geese are on the opposite side. Here I’ve added steam and shifted the geese slightly and flipped the smoke. Here we are with a sunset, shadows and […]

Creative Portraiture Landscapes

Photo shoots are generally in a studio and seldom have an interesting backdrop. Thus compositing. The following images bring the subjects into the great outdoors with additional elements. Approaching is my latest as of 12-09-2015. The engine was taken several years back at the railroad museum in Golden, CO. The tracks are from Loveland. The geese were from a fieldtrip at a wildlife area in east Fort Collins. The prairie is near the Badlands in South Dakota. The girl is […]

Space Art Trio

On Deviant Art there is plenty of inspiration to explore new ideas. Space art can be a challenge, and often the results aren’t exactly what I was shooting for. However, sense I put in the effort I’m inclined to share simply because I’ve done the work. Here are the end results of 3 recent attempts. Hell’s landing was by far the simplest. I’ve stretched the aspect ratio of a shot of Hell’s Half Acre in Wyoming. This is the place […]

Tree at Sunset 1 & 2

So this was fun. Sunsets are about my favorite thing, but alone they are only colorful, but often lack interest. Add some trees and Wow. This first image is 2 part with a tree from the Oregon Coast and a Loveland, CO sunset. The second is a tree from Rocky Mountain National Park, slightly altered, a foreground from a rocky hill near St. George, Utah, and once again a Loveland, CO sunset. Simple but about all the color you’d ever […]

Night on the Bisti

I’ve only made it to the Bisti once and for a very short time. Arizona was having wildfires and the wind was blowing. Not a pleasant day. Nevertheless I got some amazing shots, and many of the features were outside the Bisti boundaries. This composite is basically two part, the Bisti foreground and a Space Art sky from my library. The sky consists of several hundred layers.

Sylvan Lake night

Sylvan Lake, located near Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, is one of those wonderful scenic spots that has probably been photographed a million times. This composite is strictly make-believe because I’m pretty sure the moon wouldn’t come up where I have it. This is what it might look like if it did.

Arches National Park revisited

Occasionally it’s fun to look at what I haven’t published, and perhaps put a new look on an older image. So it is with Courthouse Rainbow, an early morning shot that benefited from an interesting sky and a smattering of color.

Reflections

I love water for its reflective quality. So much of the time when photographing a pond, lake, river or ocean, the water is too rough or rippled to give a mirror like reflection. In Photoshop it hardly matters. Rotate and flip anything that reflects and make it as sharp or blurred as you want it. Here are 2 recent examples. The first is Bandon beach in Oregon. This is a mid-afternoon shot, yet lends itself to a sunset shot by […]

Winter Pond

I always have an eye out for inspiration. Winter isn’t my favorite season, and actually getting out an photographing in nasty weather is a rare event for me. In the following creations I had to go through 4 years of images to come up with enough snowy trees to build the composites. Once built, it was easy enough to switch out the skies. This is my original. The clouds look like they are caught in the jet stream. There are […]

New Space Art

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken time to create in one of my favorite subjects. Space art is a place I don’t worry about getting it perfect. It’s just a matter of do I like it. Here are two new creations. The above is Northern Reflections. The aurora is a Photoshop creation. I have never actually seen them. The star field is from Heavens Reflection. The beach is Bandon Oregon. Here are a couple of rocks and a tree, plus […]

Space Art Heavens Reflection

It’s been awhile since I created something new in space art, but I was inspired and had to experiment. This is the result. The number of layers is almost astronomical.

Spring Queen

Thanks to Avalon’s Inspirational at Deviant Art for the dress. I love artists that share. So this is the last of my queens. This one is ten images for the girl and five for the background. The background is the snowy range in Wyoming. My partial color blindness has apparently spilled over into the skin and hair of my Spring Queen, so with a little help they are back to a more natural color. Unfortunately, going through the desaturation process […]

Summer Queen

Yet another composite with a dozen or so elements. In this particular attempt, perhaps the over bright eyes are a dead giveaway that there is something suspicious about the face. However, these are minor fixes if for instance this was a project for a client. Skin tone and color, eye color, hair color and so on are all individual elements and are thus easily altered. The background itself is a composite consisting of six more elements. The question of course […]

Autumn Queen

This is one of those composites that took considerable work. This is certainly an image I can’t copyright because of the parts I have borrowed from the Internet. I haven’t had the opportunity to photograph fancy dresses that fit a specific theme like Queens, nor do I have crowns or scepters. I never use images that have copyrights or watermarks, but still you can’t be sure if the artist would make claim for a particular element in the off chance […]

Backview

While all of the following landscapes would stand alone, it’s always interesting adding the human element in a way that the model also seems to be enjoying the view. In the above image, the superimposed model is slightly out of proportion, but in art you do what you want. It would have been easy enough to have chopped off her feet to make her appear closer, but then those fantastic shoes wouldn’t have been visible. I could have also made […]

Compositing a face (Arctic Queen)

The following I call Arctic Queen. Please note that the outfit is borrowed from the Internet, but the sky, background and combined faces are images I have taken and then combined in this composite. I find it interesting how the final product doesn’t look totally real even though all the elements are real. The face looks a bit like the 3d faces you see in fantasy art. I can’t decide if she is stunningly beautiful or fake. For now I’ll […]

Victorian Dance

Once again I’m borrowing images from the web. The male in the foreground plus Katie are overlaid in the composite. Light shadows are added.

September Model Shoot

Here are a few more favorites from the shoot.

Katie on Couch

More fun from our September shoot. Finding an appropriate background isn’t always easy, and in instances like these, some of the backgrounds are borrowed off the Internet, in which cases I do not copyright the image nor do I make the image for sale. Hope you enjoy this one.

English Manor Composition

This time period shot is from the Fort Collins Digital Camera Club September Model shoot. Matching lighting to a composite environment is always a critical element. Our lovely model fits the period and feel perfectly. The setting is borrowed from the movie Far From the Madding Crowd.

Comic Con Review

Shooting Comic Con was a challenge. The light was too poor to not use a flash, and the only flash I had was the built in flash on my camera. Outdoors was super bright and sunny. Although the event ran 12 hours, I was out of battery in 6. Still, the whole experience was great, and some of the costumes were amazing.

Comic Con

I had no idea anyone did the costume thing for anything but Halloween. Recently we did a photo shoot for a couple attending Comic Con in Fort Collin, CO. I decided I’d attend for the opportunity of photographing subjects that would be fun to composite, and perhaps lure people to my blog. Watch for more in the coming weeks. The event is Saturday the 12th of September.

Closeup Portraiture

Not every image I take needs to be a composite. With a little tweaking, some images are nearly perfect right out of the camera. In the case of this model, what would be the point in making any changes. I could change eye color, hair color, and paint her lips a hundred different colors, but to me there was no need in this case. The small amount of background is unobtrusive, so I’m happy and I’m sure my model is […]

Cos Modeling for Mass Effect

I’m afraid to say I’m out of touch. I had no idea that there are conventions where people go to play their favorite characters from video games, comics, and movies. For our FCDCC portrait shoot for August, we had two such models that were acting out parts from Mass Effect. Our models played Miranda Lawson and Commander Shepard. The detail spent on costumes was quite amazing. Above are our pair in a starship about to land on a planet in […]

Portrait Shoot (part 5)

Compositing allows a lot of choices, and a lot of control since everything is in layers. You can for instance blur a grainy sky and sharpen the foreground. In this case the foreground has a mosaic texture while other parts of the image are photo realistic. My model wore a hat for part of the shoot, but not this particular shot, so I borrowed the hat from another image. It’s not unusual to change the color of outfits, and I […]

Portrait Shoot (part 4)

This young lady came in a t-shirt. Her mom was the model, but we talked her into posing anyway. What a doll. I hope she doesn’t mind me saying so. This is one of those Sound of Music shots with nature, and I especially like her in the hat and the pretty white dress. The grass in the foreground is composited over the legs of the model that was wearing the dress. The sky is also photoshopped in. All in […]

Portrait Shoot (part 3)

Occasionally I do something that ends up on two of my three blogs. The cover mockups I’ve done are also on my Fiction with Foresight blog. Because I do book covers and illustrations, I felt these needed to be both places. Above is my Vogue mockup. I always hope this is as fun for the model. I have no clue what Vogue Magazine might think. So, if you do one you have to do two, right? This sexy dress cried […]

Portrait Shoot (part 2)

It was a rather rare event to have two male models at our July event. Most guys aren’t into such things, but both our male models were very professional. It’s probably easier for males to get jobs since there isn’t as much competition, and they probably aren’t judged as critically. With girls, if she weighs a pound more than some client wants, tough. As a photographer I try not to judge and I would never say anything to a model […]

Portrait Shoot

Fort Collins Digital Camera Club has an anual portrait shoot. This year we had some really great models. For obvious reasons I don’t give out their names and contact information, but if you’d like to make contact you can email me with your intentions and I’ll be happy to pass the request along. Winter Moon turned out to be one of my favorite composites. Our model in this case was super fun and very professional, and stunning. It’s nice to […]

Why Composite?

At top is an image as taken along I-70 west of Green River Utah headed east. The sun was close to setting and the light was magnificent. The original shot was interesting and could have been cropped and made more vibrant, and perhaps that would have sufficed. Just above I’ve added a foreground which I shot further down the road. The edge of the road in the lower left corner wasn’t attractive so below I’ve added a bush. I could […]

Digital Space Art Hoodoo

Occasionally I look back over my landscapes to see what alien worlds I’ve skipped for my space art. This particular shot was near Page, Arizona. A cloudy day made for soft enough shadows that the image works fine transformed for night. Less brightness and more contrast make the transformation believable.

Macro Photography and Digital Manipulation

Until I updated this site, I didn’t realize how few macro shots I had added. Review is sometimes a good thing. Above is one of my early composites with insects. Dragonfly Moon was a challenge in that the wings were modeled with background colors, and thus began a tedious process of making them uniform and transparent. It’s not often you have a bird of prey pose, but this was during a fieldtrip and the falcon was being held. Added is […]

The Future Shaper

The grid is disabled, the world goes to war, and nuclear fallout makes parts of the world uninhabitable. This is a prediction come to fruition, and the beginning of a new outpost in Chile at the edge of the Atacama Desert. The Future Shaper is the second book in a series about saving Earth and giving mankind a chance to do better. While technology may be man’s salvation, it is clear that social change and perception of the future are […]

The Future Teller

The world is in crisis. This may not be evident, because time seems to move slowly, and many people are of the opinion that human problems will be resolved and everything will be hunky-dory, or if doom comes, those deserving to be saved will be raptured to heaven and sinners will be left to face eternal damnation. This is utter nonsense. Humans need to wake up, for in reality we are destroying our planet, and the only thing that is […]

Welcome

Welcome to Photo Innovations. This blog is for the non-purists who have no problem manipulating images. Since this is an introduction I will let you in on my passions, my philosophy about photography, and my justification for altering images. First and foremost, I feel photography should be fun. Of course, I’m not into photography to make a living, although I’d like to support my hobby. The fact that I’m a hobbyist may be all too evident, however my passion for […]

The fact that religions can be so shamelessly dishonest, so contemptuous of the intelligence of their adherents, and still flourish does not speak very well for the tough-mindedness of the believers. But it does indicate, if a demonstration were needed, that near the core of the religious experience is something remarkably resistant to rational inquiry. Carl Sagan

Megan McCarthy

“Betrayed” Relaxing Piano

Nebula Iris

Combining macro and infinity can have interesting results beyond any I imagined. Using a divide blending mode made the iris a part of the distant nebula background. This image was built from multiple star fields, nebulas clouds created from photographing smoke, plus starbursts, supernova, and other space elements I’ve created over the years. It is hard to calculate the number of layers since multiple layers have been combined to form more complex elements, but this image consists of more than […]

2014 Season Greetings from Michael Atman

Yes, I’ve neglected posting. For most of 2013 I have been audio editing my novels: Silent Trek the Trilogy (Silent Wave, Silent Rising, Silent Landing) Harvesting Terra, Resurrecting Terra, Planet Passing, & The Future Teller. The new editions should be published early in 2014. I have also neglected my Photo Art, but should get back to my routine of blogging in 2014. It should be an exciting year.  

The Digital Future

It’s difficult to not be amazed at how technology impacts our lives. It wasn’t but ten years ago I was arguing with a so-called expert at a camera store that digital was the future. In fifty years maybe was his irritated reply. Although it took longer than I expected, there was certainly a turning point in 2001-2002 that finally made digital cameras popular. The quality of images up to that point was the biggest deterrent for any photographer, and certainly […]

Digital Art: Cliff Dunes

I’ve tried this sky in dozens of composites and love it in everyone I try. This particular sunset yielded about 50 spectacular shots, and many were stunningly different depending on the direction and the time of the shot. Good color probably lasted for 45 minutes. I photograph the sky all the time, and try to be observant of every sunset. Great sunsets are unusual, and superb sunsets are rare enough that you don’t want to miss them. Cliff Dunes seems […]

Digital Space Art: Red Cliffs at Night

This is a project I started in 2012, but is my first post for 2013. Before I get into my project I want relay my most recent problem with trying to stay up to date with software. I just went through some trying times with Adobe. They had a whole group of corrupted license files and my CS6 Extended was in that group. Adobe doesn’t make it easy. Rather than give you an email, they expect you to sit by […]

December 22nd, 2012 and time goes on

I sometimes think humanity would be much better served without all the superstition, and yes, buying into nonsense is prevelant in religion. I guess the rapture just didn’t unfold as expected, or perhaps no one was worthy. Of course I could be wrong since it’s still the 21st and I’m jumping the gun. I’m predicting this greeting will be around, so for those who believe in a future, try and make a difference and perhaps some day we’ll wake up […]

Delicate Arch Dazzle with 10 skies to choose from

Sometimes choosing the right sky is simple. Sometimes it’s not. What’s always amazing is how the sky changes the character of the image. Note this is a slightly different angle of Delicate Arch from the previous post. In image one the sunset is one of the most unusual I’ve ever photographed. In Image two is a bank of clouds topped with a thunderhead. In Image three is an unusual array of clouds in the east at sunset. In Image four […]

Delicate Arch sunset with storm

I’ve visited Arches National Park more times than I can count on my fingers. I can’t say without going through photos if it’s been more if I include my toes, but nevertheless as many times as I’ve been there I’ve never witnessed a really wicked storm. If you sat at Delicate Arch everyday for years, chances are you’d never see the type of storm in this picture. I hadn’t thought about that much until I saw a picture of the […]

Vedauwoo Pronghorn with digital frame

Sometimes images just don’t look finished without a frame or border. Sometimes the border can be a thin white or black line. Typically, if I’m going to bother I want something more. Vedauwoo Pronghorn is of course a composite. The separate elements are the sky (background), the rock formations and trees (mid ground), the pond (foreground), the reflection in the pond from the mid ground, the pronghorn, and the pronghorn reflection. I saved a jpeg version of the PSD, then […]

The “Fiscal Cliff” a composite in CS6 extended

My photo blog is not intended to be political, however, I often find I need my Photoshop skills to create images for my OsumPODS and Fiction blogs. Without Photoshop, getting your message across in pictures would be far more difficult. I doubt I’m a good enough artist to even do a really good cartoon, and once again Photoshop would be my software of choice should I decide to turn my work into a cartoon. My depiction of Obama driving a […]

Vedauwoo Moonrise

Yes, there was a full moon, but the one superimposed is about twice as big. This isn’t to say the real shot wasn’t impressive, just not as much. And of course because the sun hadn’t quite set, the sky wasn’t dark with stars, and there weren’t rocks for my model to stand on, so the picture has changed a little. Vedauwoo is an enchanting place in southern Wyoming for those of you who haven’t been there. It’s a favorite place […]

Ocean Sunset

This is one of my favorite images, thus the opening screen for this blog. Note the amount of cropping for the slideshow and the full image below. From time to time it’s fun to do an image just for the surreal beauty. Imagine what it would take to make this shot for real. How often does a sunset come along that’s truly unusual? What are the odds that you’d find rocks on the beach with lichen? Then you’d need a […]

The Art of Digital Space Art 1&2 are now published.

Hello space art lovers. The Art of Digital Space Art 1&2 are now available in the Kindle version at Amazon.com. The publications cost just 99 cents each, and are full of useful hints for Photoshop enthusiasts. A Nook version will be available soon, and I hope to have them on iTunes within a month. I would like some feedback, so please leave a review. If you like the books, please tell your friends.

Dubois Hills Photoshop Composite

A nice thing about having a personalized desktop is that you get to see favorite images every time you open your computer. Dubois Hills (2007) is a fairly early foray into compositing. The hills were pretty, but the sky was blah and the foreground was messy. Added are a new sky, some brush, a horse, and of course shadows to make the new elements fit in. Although my skills in Photoshop have advanced since this rendition, I can find no […]

Vedauwoo Sunrise Photoshop Composite

Unusual skies, unusual rocks, and fields of flowers can turn an average shot into something spectacular. Vedauwoo, a popular rock climbing area in Wyoming is west of Cheyenne and east of Laramie. Off season, there is plenty of solitude.   This particular shot is about a half mile east of the main entrance. Although the original shot is interesting enough with a dirt path leading to the rocks, adding a foreground of flowers give the shot a pristine feeling. Although […]

Digital Space Art: Double Ringed Planets

Using our solar system as an example, ringed planets should be fairly common throughout the universe. Having two in close proximity is far less likely, but orbits could create some close encounters somewhere. If not, it’s still fun to speculate. Space certainly has its oddities. Double ringed planets was easy enough to execute. Duplicating the planet and rings, then sizing and changing colors is about all it took. I probably spent and equal amount of time scooting nebulas around. This […]

Digital Space Art: Placing Planets

In photography, you seldom have a choice where all the elements are placed in a photograph. Sure, you can move your camera for a different angle, or sometimes you can move your subject if it’s convenient. In space art, the choices are endless. In the following images, I have over a hundred layers, and thus an infinite number of choices as where to place things. Even my star fields are a number of layers. The series I’m currently working on […]

Digital Space Art: Arago Coast

The ocean, and coastal scenes seem to adapt well to space art. Reflections in water always add an intriguing element. Just south of Coos Bay, Oregon is Arago Park, where cliffs are eroded into other worldly features. Taking day shots and turning them into night shots doesn’t always work, especially if there are strong shadows to deal with. Fortunately it was overcast when I grabbed this shot. In compositing such images together, I strive to keep them somewhat believable. Fortunately, […]

Alien Space (beyond the known universe)

Digital Space Art is always fun, but sometimes somethings turns out beyond your expectations that may incite an unexpected reaction. Sometimes things are just bizarre. Aftermath 2 is just such an image. It’s a composite with literally hundreds of layers, and probably almost impossible to replicate no matter how talented you are at Photoshop. If I started from scratch and borrowed all the same elements from my space art library, I might come close, but I’d never get exactly the […]

Stars and Nebula in Digital Space Art

Building starscapes seems to have become a monthly diversion. With Photoshop I’ve built a library, and with the accumulation of components I have created, there is no end to the number of combinations that are possible. Yes, it’s seemingly as infinite as space itself, and I’m sure if we were there with a camera, it would be an experience that would be a little demanding to choose your composition. That is why I’m always astounded when I create, for it […]

The Art of Digital Space Art

Digital Space Art has become a passion of mine. Compositing in Photoshop is fun, but imagining alien worlds makes it a challenge that lets your artistic creativity go wild. If you are bored with the norm, perhaps you might have some fun creating your own solar system or universe. If not, perhaps you’ll be satisfied just looking at mine. The Art of Digital Space Art (part 1 & 2) will soon be available in eBook format from Amazon and Barnes […]

Digital Space Art: Fisher Coast

I am in the process of publishing two books on the Art of Digital Space Art. The process has inspired me to create some new images. My latest 2 are panoramas, which I seldom do and will not fit in the format well, so I will not be including them in the new books. However, I’m always anxious to share new work in hopes of getting some feedback. Fisher Coast is a composite that combines parts from places I would […]

South Dakota Badlands Sunset

A recent trip to South Dakota allowed me to get some decent shots, but nothing amazing. The weather was decent, light was good, and there were even interesting clouds. However, when the sun set, it wasn’t spectacular. Shortly after getting back to Loveland, Co., I caught a sunset one night that had great color. The problem was the angle of the sun was wrong, so I went back though my library of sunsets and found a similar sunset with the […]

INFINITY Youtube Video

Sample video.

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. Carl Sagan

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds of the Bisti (part 3)

Although our stay in the Bisti Badlands was short, the number of usable shots was amazing. As I continue to play, I realize that another trip will have to be added to my agenda. The landscape in the Bisti yields to my alien worlds more than any place I have ever visited. Bisti Evolution (above) seems a natural place for a lava flow burning its way down natural erosion. This is one of those creations I’ll probably play with, but […]

Portraiture Photography with people and horses

The Rocky Mountain Lazy J bar S Ranch is a great venue for a photo shoot. This year’s emphasis was on portraiture, and although portraiture isn’t my gig, it’s always fun with exuberant participants. For me it is all about postproduction anyway. Paige Riding (above) was one of those shots where the background was full of distracting element since the shot was taken inside their outdoor arena. It’s not that it didn’t make a good shot, but with the right […]

Photographing with penlights: Orchids

Occasionally I’m faced with a challenge that doesn’t rely on Photoshop. It’s good to try techniques that yield interesting exposures. In painting with light, it’s all about creating the image by selectively lighting your subject. This shot was for the traditional category in the monthly competition at the Loveland Photographic Society. In Orchids (above), I used a small LED penlight in a dark open room, and with my camera on a tripod with a 105 mm macro lens, I set […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds of the Bisti (part 2)

The landscape in the Bisti is very neutral which actually works quite well for manipulation. Also, the sculpting shows evidence of natural water flows, which also adds character to the strange formations. In Exploring Bisti (above), I show a lone hiker gazing at a ringed planet, which is partially obscured by clouds. Multiple layers of the sky sandwich the planet to make it appear in a distant plane. To overlay just the clouds, I used color select in Photoshop on […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds of the Bisti (part 1)

A recent trip to the Bisti Badlands just south of Farmington, New Mexico yielded some interesting landscapes. The wind was blowing, the sky was gray, and we gagged on smoke from intense fires in Arizona. Yet what I found to shoot more than made up for the less than perfect conditions. Hope Landing depicts a vast dry valley linked with jagged cliffs. Hope is my flying saucer that I developed in Silent Landing, the third book in Silent Trek, the […]

Digital Space Art: Planets & Moons

If it were possible to zip around the cosmos, it would be interesting to approach planets and their moons from all different angles, just to get interesting shots. That possibility will depend upon technologies that are near impossible for us to even imagine, although it’s always fun to speculate. No doubt such shots would be awe-inspiring. The Rings (above) shows a Saturn like planet with moons that are orbiting out of the rings plane. With the sun captured in the […]

David Mayhew: Pro Storm Chaser

David Mayhew has an eye on the sky. Weather is the attraction, and photography is reason he chases. Skyscapes are wondrous sights to ponder. You have to be willing to be in harms way to get the great shots, and that’s what David does. Born in the UK, David moved to the US and in 2003 abandoned his 9-5 job and returned to school at the College of DuPage just outside of Chicago to pursue his love for photography. Various […]

Digital Space Art: Planets & Moons (part 1)

Creating spheres is very easy with Photoshop. Finding good textures that give good results is another matter. My daughter-in-law occasionally bakes bread in a cast iron pot, and the loaves have incredible texture. I’ve made most of my planets from just a few textures. With a little manipulation, such as using inverse, saturation, and hue, you can have planets of most any color. Add a few clouds and a shadow, and perhaps an outer glow for an atmosphere, and for […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds (part 4)

Creating out of the ordinary images is much of the fun with space art. To believe that such places could exist is pure speculation. In art, what does it matter? Combining bluffs can make for an interesting skyline. It’s hard to imagine that night lighting would allow for such brilliance, but who is to say on an alien planet with an alien atmosphere. Adding the reflection only intensifies the feeling of an otherworldly landscape in Alien Butte 2 (above). Winter […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds (part 3)

In any art you can let your imagination run wild, but certainly space gives you an infinite pallet. Most of what’s out there is very random and often stranger than one can imagine. Although some space art falls in the amateurish category, most of what you find on the web is really quite exceptional. Some goes too far for my taste, and a good deal of it delves into science fiction with alien spacecraft. Until I can build digital models […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds (part 2)

Weathered bluffs near Page Arizona, and the bottom of Hell’s Half Acre in Wyoming make up this alien landscape in Butterfly Nebula Alienscape (above). The planet is a spherized loaf of bread, and Butterfly Nebula was made from smoke. The elements are combined with a star field created in Photoshop. Artic Sunset is the 7 edition of this layout. Once again this is a composite with multiple layers. I would love to see this hanging on a wall in a […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds (part 1)

Although beautiful, our moon is the most intriguing feature in the heavens until you start looking deeper. Yet it’s not hard to envision planets that sit with windows to spectacular galaxies or exploding nebula. There are, no doubt, many vantage points in space full of eye candy. Alien looking landscapes on Earth are not unusual, and of course one of my favorites is the Garden of Eden in Arches National Park. Thus Eden Galaxy (above) shows what it might look […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 10)

It’s always fun to seek out a new spot, and in Arches at 119 square miles, it’s pretty easy to do. There is probably no way to explore it all, even if you could spend most of a lifetime. Consider that Arches is just one of five National Parks in Utah, with Canyonlands encompassing more land than Arches, Zion, and Bryce combined. Capitol Reef is the other big contender at 378 square miles, just 149 square miles less than Canyonlands. […]

David Clack

Illustrated Light Gallery of Fine Art Photography in Old Town Fort Collins is one of the most welcoming galleries you’ll ever visit. The setting, the broad expanse of windows, and the beautiful images so artfully displayed are irresistible. Another plus is that David Clack is often there to greet his customers and talk about his photography. From beautiful mountain scenes to intimate close-ups, David’s photography is visually stunning and always top quality. Why? Because David takes a hands on approach […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 9)

The climb to the top of the Great Wall starts once again at the Courthouse Bridge. The time of the day will probably depend upon how much time you’ll want to spend. Getting there is slightly difficult, so I’d suggest spending most of a day. Although you start at the same spot as Ring Arch, you will immediately take a right fork into a small wash. You will circle around and behind the west end of the Great Wall and […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 8)

Upper Courthouse Wash is a good way to find some solitude, even on busy days at the park. Although there is limited parking at the Courthouse Bridge, that is where you’ll want to start your hike. Getting to Ring Arch is a little tricky since there is no marked trail. On the way to Ring Arch you will want to stop and smell the roses, not that the foliage smells anything like roses, but you get the drift. Lonesome Day […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 7)

I find it very invigorating to revisit images from most of my photo expeditions because they bring back great memories. Klondike Ridge is just one of those places I’d happily have my ashes scattered, and perhaps my spirit could be its keeper. It’s fortunate that the area didn’t yield enough uranium or some other precious element, otherwise it may have been leveled. Whenever I’m there I say my gratefuls. There is something special about this next shot in the way […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 6)

Not far from Herdina Park on the southeast end of Klondike Ridge, the first of the tall fins form. The whole area is tilted toward the southwest at a 15 or 20-degree angle. It’s a great place to see where tectonics have been at work. Standing between two fins, shortly after sunrise, I took Breaking Day (above) on a hike where I was a little too rambunctious. I injured my knee, and hobbled around for weeks afterward. Caution to those […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 5)

If you visit Klondike Bluffs or Herdina Park, or perhaps drive the four wheel drive road from Klondike Bluffs south, you’ll notice a ridge of rocks that line the western boarder of Arches. I call this ridge Klondike Ridge since I’m unable to find a map that gives the area any specific label. As splendid an area as it is, I’ve always wondered why it hasn’t been annexed by the park. I’ve climbed in this area as often as I’ve […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 4)

Tower Arch isn’t the largest arch in the park, but it’s tall enough to accommodate a 4-story building. If someone were climbing the face of the tower behind the arch, they’d look smaller than a sugar ant crawling up your finger. I’ve taken some shots of the arch without realizing people were standing there. Unlike Delicate Arch, you might actually sit down and eat your lunch in solitude. We have never seen more than a handful of people on any […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 3)

I have visited Klondike Bluffs a dozen times I’m sure, and I have hiked to its core from every direction. If you have a high clearance 4×4, you can drive directly to tower arch, but you see so much more if you hike. However you go, be assured you are in for a treat. Entering from the Salt Valley Road, a short climb from the Tower Arch Trailhead parking lot will bring you to a ridge and a view of […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 2)

Herdina Park is one of those places I love to explore. It can be exhausting, and although you can see most of it in a day, it is one of those places you can revisit again and again and always find something new and exciting. I would suggest to anyone that ventures there to take a lunch and plenty of water, and if you can start at sunrise and leave after sunset. There are plenty of places to stretch out […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 1)

Herdina Park is closer to Balanced Rock than Delicate Arch, yet due to access is seldom visited in contrast to the other attractions in the park. Yes it takes a high-clearance 4×4 to drive to the Eye of the Whale Arch, yet by parking on the Willow Springs Trail Road several miles from Balanced Rock, the hike north to Herdina Park is less than a half-mile. There is no trail, and the trek is full of obstacles due to a […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 10)

Devils Garden has been our destination on several occasions, and I suggest going early before sunrise so as not to be tempted to stop along the way, otherwise it takes a long time to get there. Also, it is one of the most popular trails in the park, so it doesn’t take long for the parking to be overflowing. However, I’ve been there when not another sole was around, so it depends upon season. In January, especially if it’s below […]

Tom Bol, Colorado’s Adventure and Editorial Photographer

Tom Bol lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. He often speaks to groups as part of promoting his business, and thus I first met Tom when he talked about field flash to the Loveland Photographic Society several years ago. Tom uses flash creatively, and it’s an integral part of his craft. The results are stunning. Tom is a multitalented guy. With a journalism background he is into the obvious, which is shooting people in action. But that’s not all Tom shoots. […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 9)

Depending upon the time of day, or if you pass up Delicate Arch altogether, your next destination will probably be Devil’s Garden. We’ll pass up Fiery Furnace because you need a permit to go there, although you may want to stop at the overview. The stretch of road to Devil’s Garden passes fields of fins, huge jutting rocks that seem to go on forever. One of my award winning photos, “Winter Sentinels” (above) was taken in the winter, and is […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 8)

Chances are if you’re in Arches, you’ll venture to Delicate Arch, although some aren’t prepared for the climb, which is slightly strenuous. Not so many years ago my daughter accompanied us on a trip, and she being a fitness nut had me running up the slickrock. Keeping fit enough to do such things is important, but age is definitely catching up with me. I’ve been there with a lot of different people, and few will crawl around the arch or […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 7)

I have walked the road from the Garden of Eden to North and South Window a number of times. I have also ventured to the west, onto the petrified dunes. There are numerous places to traverse that give the windows area a different perspective. Like most photographers, I’m always looking for something a little different. The Cove of Caves (above) is set between the Garden of Eden and Elephant Rock, with the west window of Double Arch on the far […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 6)

I find in many of my trips to the windows area, that plans take me to North and South window first, then Turret Arch, and back to the Garden of Eden for sunset. In all of my visits, I think I have only lingered at the windows twice at sunset, and of course Turret Arch is best shot at sunrise, which I have never done. Turret Arch sets alone, which makes it an oddity since the vast majority of the […]

Tom Till, Utah’s ambassador of photography

I’ve been visiting Moab for nearly 30 years, and probably poked my nose in the Tom Till Gallery in October of 1998, the year it opened. I’ve been in awe of Tom’s work every since. I’ve studied his work and it has influenced mine. Tom’s art is pure, mine is not. Tom is a true photographer. I composite in Photoshop. Tom made photography his career, so I should hardly compare myself to him, but I do. I think I do […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 5)

Just down the road from Balanced Rock you turn into the windows area. My favorite place in the park for sunset shots is the Garden of Eden. It will be your first stop on the way to North and South Window. I’ve never been to the Garden of Eden at sunrise because I figure it would all be in shadows, but perhaps some day I’ll check it out. The first shot (above) is from a distance to give a perspective […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 4)

If Delicate Arch is the number one attraction in Utah, Balanced Rock isn’t far behind. Midway into Arches, the icon is only yards away from the highway. I’ve never found it all that big of an attraction, and because of its proportions, difficult to photograph. I’ve had fun in Photoshop making it topple, I’ve taken reflections shots every place I could find a puddle, I’ve been there at sunrise and sunset, and yet I’m never pleased with the results. The […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 3)

The fact that the vast majority of visitors spend just a few hours in Arches National Park is a sad commentary of the way many people vacation. If you don’t stop and ponder your surroundings, it’s a little hard to appreciate the magnificence that is there. Probably millions of people have seen the Tower of Babel, but how many have seen it glowing at sunset in the fall with the golden leaves of the cottonwoods in full splendor? Yes, there […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 2)

Not far into Arches you’ll find Courthouse Towers. More often than not they are photographed as a grouping. There are really a limited number of pull offs, and that is typically where the vast majority of images are taken. To find the unusual perspective means you will have to hike. Most visitors are so afraid of stepping on the cryptobiotic soil that they avoid going anywhere. The truth is that the soil can easily be avoided by walking in washes […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 1)

My wife and I have been visiting Moab and Arches National Park for more years than I care to mention. We’ve visited often enough that it feels like coming home every time we go there. We’ve been in Arches National Park so many times that we typically avoid the beaten path. In October of 2010 we guided a field trip with the Loveland Photographic Society, and since many of the members who attended had never been there, we revisited some […]

Reflections in Macro with Photoshop

If you look at macro shots you’ve probably seen those amazing drops of water with spherical little images floating inside them. Optics are wonderful. Getting such images directly from your camera is a challenge. An equal challenge is catching a reflection in an eye, especially of an animal that refuses to pose. Recently I visited the Lazy J bar S Ranch, a facility that boards horses and trains both hoses and riders. It’s a fun place to visit and is […]