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Category : Articles

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]