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Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 5)

M45: A blue cloud and stars; sometimes the simple can be amazing. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the halo effect that dominates the brightest stars in the nebula. Without, the image would be little more than a puff of color. Star fields and nebula have been the subject of other articles, so I’ll address the halos, which is the main feature of this image. I’m sure there are numerous ways to create facsimiles, and I have tried several. In […]

Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 4)

Unlike the Crab Nebula, the rendition of the Sombrero Galaxy (above) was produced without utilizing any pattern from the images I downloaded from the Internet. The cropped image was my model since it had more detail and color to work with (below). The full image (far below) is no doubt more like the natural exposure directly from a telescope, and in fact looks very much like the one from the Hubble site. The process I used to create this image […]

Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 3)

The Crab Nebula (Hubble image above) is a close neighbor compared to most of the objects Hubble photographs, and is also a recent event, remnants of a supernova observed and recorded in China and Japan about 1000 years ago. Small Earth bound telescopes are capable of obtaining fair shots of this phenomenon. Not owning a telescope myself, I have never photographed anything other than the moon in the night sky, so once again I turn to Photoshop to create my […]

Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 2)

So, here is more as promised. This is butterfly nebula as taken by the Hubble Telescope (above), and my rendition (below), which was not meant to be a duplicate in any way. Part of the fun is to try and make the spectacular even more spectacular. The outcome is debatable, although I’m somewhat partial to the more translucent effect I obtained. The process as explained in the previous nebula is similar except that I used an image I had taken […]

Space Art that rivals the Hubble Telescope

Space doesn’t always look exactly like the images taken by telescopes. Astronomers know that enhancing their images is just as important for their profession as it is for any other. Few images come straight from the camera and go undoctored. However, it is hard not to be amazed by what exists in the Cosmos, doctored or undoctored. Because few people have access to the images produced by Hubble, and because those images are of unmatched quality, if you want to […]

Enhancing images with filters in Photoshop

Mechanisms is the April monthly topic, which is not the normal sort of thing I photograph. My best selection of mechanical things are trains, since that is one of my favorite subjects after space art, landscapes and flowers. This particular set of SD 90 Mac locomotives was used to create my jacket for Harvesting Terra, but in quite a different color scheme. This blue was one of my renditions. First the locomotives: When you look at color schemes and wonder […]

Alien Lake: Multiple layered Photoshop composite

Compositing is seldom so complex or time consuming as Alien Lake. Some projects have promise and it’s difficult not to see them to fruition. The rock formations surrounding the lake are made up of three different shots from different locations, the left and center on a road trip between Green River, Utah and Capitol Reef, and the right from Castle Garden in Wyoming. Blending these shots truly created something out of the ordinary since these stark formation are so geologically […]

Winter Moon: Creating dramatic night scenes from daytime shots with Photoshop

Most road trips are in daylight hours, just to enjoy the scenery. This particular mountain range, one of many in Nevada, just happened to have a fresh dusting of snow with none on the prairie. The daytime shot was a favorite of this trip back from Oregon to Colorado, but I couldn’t resist adding some backlit clouds with the moon, and redirecting the shadows on the mountain. The end result was a surreal dreamscape that is far more unusual than […]

Mirroring skies in Photoshop

Occasionally I have a landscape that begs for an unusual sky, and although I have a great collection, I don’t always find exactly what I want. The effect created by mirroring skies can transform an image into something beyond the ordinary. Monster of the Id is one of those creations that takes on a slightly frightful and sinister appearance. The thought of seeing anything like this in nature would give me pause to say the least. The process to create […]

Sculpted Reflection of an Alien World

Sometimes it’s fun to go a little bit nuts. I see other Space Art that I admire and I’m tempted enough to experiment and make my own version. Creating an image you like is kind of a hit and miss process. What I envisioned in this image wasn’t exactly the end result. I didn’t originally have the reflection, but when I added it, the image truly seemed alien. This particular image consists of 37 layers, 8 for the stars, 2 […]

Beacon on Io: an alien world

When creating alien worlds, I often think what it would be like to stare into space with planets or moons so close that they dominate the sky. Our moon is really quite small, and although beautiful, not quite the site that must exist on numerous alien worlds. It is possible I suppose that Io might have a view of Jupiter similar to the one depicted, but this need not be our Io or Jupiter, but a moon or small planet […]

Playing with Smoke: Photoshop fun

Occasionally LPS (Loveland Photographic Society) has a challenge topic that inspires a little creativity. Smoke is fun, and thanks to Jim Digby, my foray into shooting smoke was relatively easy. With strobes and a black backdrop, and a few sticks of burning incense, it didn’t take long until we had well over a hundred images to choose from. That’s just the beginning. Compositing the images is what really makes it interesting. In my title image, Smoke Girl by Candlelight, several […]

Creating sunrays in Photoshop

Sometimes images can gain a dramatic effect adding sunrays. First, I selected a sky that had potential and increased the canvas size to accommodate the foreground. I then found a landscape image that was taken at sunset but lacked a pretty sky. In that image I selected the sky with the magic wand, then the inverse and used the move tool to drag the foreground into the composite. I cleaned the horizon using a 5-15 pixel eraser at about 80% […]

Create Lightning with smudge tool in Photoshop

Several years ago I visited numerous tutorials on creating lightning in Photoshop. I recently revisited them to see if things had changed, but for the most part lightning tutorials render the effect from clouds, and go though numerous steps to get to the finished product. Unfortunately, when you are done you have created something that looks similar to lightning, but it’s totally random. If it doesn’t fit your needs, you have no choice but to try again. With my method, […]

Out of Frame Dragonfly

3d effects are always fun with Photoshop. Some images are already so sharp you feel like you can jump right in, but the illusion of an image extending beyond the frame adds that third dimension even if the background is blurry. With this particular dragonfly, I had already spent a painstaking few hours separating the wings and cleaning up the translucency, which was dappled from a multicolored background. This was not a task I’d wish on anyone, but it’s a […]

Artificial Reflections with Photoshop

Reflections are tricky. It’s easy enough to fool someone by adding a reflection, but if you’re serious about doing it right, you have to study real reflections. The elevation and angle of any shot determines the reflection you would see. Recently while in Moab for a photo shoot, we were fortunate enough to have some rain that filled numerous puddles in the rocks. The funny thing is that you can walk past the puddles and see nothing but blue, which […]

Corona Arch Flythrough

In October 2010 we led a group to Moab. One of our workshops started at Gold Bar campground where we took sunrise reflections of the cliffs from the bank of the Colorado River. While we were there a group with motorized paragliders took off from the parking lot and flew up and down the canyon. It was a real added bonus for our photographers. From there we hiked to Corona Arch, and if you’re into Moab lore you might have […]

Locomotives in Exotic Places

There are places in the world where rail lines pass through exotic places. I’m always interested to see how often such locations as the Glenfinnan Viaduct  or the Arten Gill Viaduct show up in films. Since I’m not planning any trips to Scotland or England in the near future, I have to manufacture my own exotic rail lines. The UP engine was shot at the Cheyenne rail yard during a fieldtrip with the Loveland Photographic Society. The landscape is west […]

Challenge: Disney Pictures Logo (part 3)

If you missed part 1 and 2, please go to older posts. The image is now taking shape. The next additions are the roads or bridges leading up to the castle on the right and left. Rather than create them from scratch, I borrowed one of the walls I had just built, then stretched and flattened it to fit the space. I used a round eraser to create the scalloped effect on the under side, and the smudge tool set […]

Challenge: Disney Pictures Logo (part 2)

If you missed part one, go to older post. Since this is a twilight shot and a representation of the Disney Logo, I added stars, which isn’t totally realistic, but this is art and adds a nice effect. I borrowed my star field from my space art. I will have details on how I make a star field in a future post, I promise. Next I added my horizon. Once again I went to my library, and in sunset shots […]

Challenge: Disney Pictures Logo (part 1)

Occasionally the Loveland Photographic Society asks members with certain skills to put on a program. For February, the challenge was to take an image submitted by another member, and alter it with your artistic interpretation in Photoshop. You of course have no idea what image you will get. For this event I had 14 images to choose from. One was a highly detailed and beautiful daytime shot of the Disney Castle at their amusement park. As soon as I saw […]

Shooting the Wind

Challenge topics help produce interesting results. If you’re serious about your craft as a photographer, competition is a good way to seek to produce images that you might never otherwise create. Sometimes these images can be some of your most interesting work. Ominous Wind was just such an image. How do you photograph wind? We all know wind itself is invisible, while the effects of wind are often quite recognizable. The elements of Ominous Wind needed more than just an […]

St. Malo Chapel Sunrise

St. Malo Chapel is a popular landmark to photograph that is just south of Estes Park, and is near Long’s Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park, all big attractions for tourists. Even though I live within 50 miles, I rarely drive past, especially early in the morning. This fall we had a field trip for the Loveland Photographic Society, www.lps.cc, that took me past the chapel just at sunrise. Although the chapel and reflection were spectacular, there was nothing exciting […]

Fall Composites (Arches National Park)

One of the advantages of visiting my blog is seeing images I haven’t yet published. This of course doesn’t mean the image will be published, but with some demand it might. Arches National Park has it’s own fall color, but not always where you want it, and certainly there are no Ash trees to be found. If you are lucky enough to be there in mid to late October, be prepared for a treat of color. You might want to […]

Ocean Sunsets

Sometimes sunsets are so spectacular you can’t stop staring, but when you revisit your photographs, there is something missing. This can often be remedied by compositing, but you certainly don’t want your foreground or mid-ground to steal the scene. To make a good picture, you want the elements to complement each other. Ocean sunsets are great because of the straight horizon. In the 2 images, Ocean Sunset 2, and Arago Sunset, the sky and sun are still the main focus. […]

To Infinity & Beyond

The Loveland Photographic Society has a monthly challenge topic for competition, February’s being Extreme Depth of Field. For most participants, the challenge will be taking multiple exposures at different focal points and blending them together in some program such as helicon focus. While fun, I’m always looking into the Photoshop bag of tricks to make something more unusual. Layers allows you that option. Although some will protest saying the challenge is to use your camera, I know that the interpretation […]

Trek to the Future

The future is perilous and uncertain. We are destroying our environment. Without change, man may face extinction. Trek to the Future looks to logic and truth to be man’s salvation. Slideshow Text: Without a future there is no sense in our existence! Enlightenment is the true hope for all tomorrows, where wisdom will grow from logic and truth, then knowledge and common sense will be our guiding beacons! The future will demand we face reality, where independence will be the […]

All Seasons

Video The following is the verse from All Seasons:   May life grant us the wisdom of all seasons, where truth and logic are our guiding beacons. Know that the environment is forever worth tending, so respect Earth as if life is unending. Seek the best that can be done, by striving to make life better for everyone. Create something good for all tomorrows, so life doesn’t end with unthinkable sorrows! Know that the moment is part of forever, so be true to your soul  […]

Enhance your photos with digital frames 12 easy steps

If you’re like me, my best photos are viewed on a monitor. Very few ever get printed. No doubt your computer desktop is displaying dozens of your favorite images because it’s a great way to enjoy your digital photography. Full screen viewing definitely brings you right into the picture, but it also crops the image to the aspect ratio of your monitor. Also, your folders, tool bars, icons, and other mouse-operated links can clutter your desktop, and thus your image. […]

Creating a Vision

I recently made a book trailer for my first novel, Silent Wave. I needed images representative of the storyline, which meant that most were at least partially from my imagination. When certain elements don’t exist, how do you go about creating them? In my photography I typically shoot with the idea that I will composite backgrounds, mid-grounds, and foregrounds together, so I’m used to building images in Photoshop. Some are more of a challenge than others. AMT (Advanced Metal Technologies, […]