Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to Create a Mottled Two-Toned Textured Background

After cutting out a Chinese Magnolia flower from a photo, I was casting about for a suitable background to enhance the image. Having seen other artists do some interesting things with cloudy, multi-colored backgrounds that complemented their subjects nicely, but not having a clue how they created them, I decided to make something up. What follows are the steps I took similar to what I did to create the background in this photo.




Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Creating the Coleus Spirit Totem

Many plants have fascinating shapes, colors, and textures. I often take photos of leaves that I find interesting. In perusing my plant photo library I came across some photos of Coleus leaves. Coleus comes in numerous varieties. This particular version has leaves that are green on one side and purple on the other side with rounded crenellations along the edges of the leaves. This particular photo captured my attention.

Green and Purple Coleus Leaves
Green and Purple Coleus Leaves

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Creating the Mask of the Cockatoo


One day while I was perusing my library of bird photos I came across this one of an Australian red-tailed black cockatoo.

Original red-tailed black cockatoo photo - Portrait Mode

Canon EOS REBEL T2i
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
70 mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 800

Seeing it in landscape mode caused it to catch my eye.

Original red-tailed black cockatoo photo - Landscape Mode


Since I have developed an interest in creating abstract art from bird feathers, it occurred to me that this arrangement would make an interesting art piece.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Creating a Fountain of Feathers

One day while wandering through the Fort Worth Zoo, I happened upon some Caribbean flamingos with their feathers puffed out. I love the way flamingo feathers look, with their delicate colors and texture, so I snapped several photos. I really liked this one in particular.

Caribbean Flamingos

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens 
Canon Extender EF 2x III
260 mm, f/11, 1/60 sec, ISO 800


In looking at the central flamingo and the one on the left, it occurred to me that I could create a semi-symmetrical artistic image out of them. What follows is the processing I did in GIMP.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Enhancing an "Upstanding Bird"

During a visit to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans I came across a black-crowned night heron standing on a railing. It looked like a wild heron since it didn't have a leg band and it was able to fly. The bird seemed quite used to people, so it just calmly stood there while I managed to get eight shots of it before some kids came up and scared it off. This one is my favorite. I find the red eye quite captivating.

Original Black-Crowned Night Heron Photo
Original Black-Crowned Night Heron Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Canon Extender EF 2x III
400 mm, f/8, 1/250 sec, ISO 400

Since the colors in the photo are a bit dull and the bird is slightly out of focus, I decided to do a little enhancing and ended up using a couple of techniques I hadn't used before. 


Monday, August 4, 2014

Grin and Bear It – Buffing Up a Bruin

The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, has an interesting black bear habitat. On the day I visited, there was an enormous number of wild black vultures hanging out with the bears. Apparently the bears don't mind the vultures and pay little attention to them. You can see one of the vultures in this photo.

Black Bear at the Cameron Park Zoo
Original Black Bear Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
200 mm, f/10, 1/60 sec, ISO 400

I really like the expression on this bear's face, so I chose to process this image into a close-up. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Creating the “Majestic Lionfish” Portrait

The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, has a building containing some tanks of fish and other sea creatures. One that fascinated me (and most of the crowd passing by) was the lionfish tank. The glass was reasonably clean, the lighting was good, and there were very few items in the tank to obstruct views of the fish. It was nice that there were only a few fish, and they swam around slowly, giving lots of opportunities for interesting shots. I took 100 photos. This was my favorite shot. It was also the first photo I took.

Original Lionfish Photo
Original Lionfish Photo

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
200 mm, f/10, 1/40 sec, ISO 1600

What follows is how I processed this image.