January 28th, 2019
Winter has officially arrived in Pennsylvania. The days are short, the nights are cold and my camera has probably wondered where I've gone. It's difficult work finding time for photography during these months. I'm at work when the sun is up and home when it's down. The weekends are spent trying to find something interesting to photograph in bitter cold temps. It was 8 degrees when I photographed the Blood Moon. And, oh by the way, everything is dead. Dead grass, dead plants, trees with no leaves. Not a flower to be seen. Everywhere is pretty much devoid of color. The animals give a big "No Thanks" to the cold as well and are a rare site.
My plan during the Winter months is a simple one. Sharpen my Photoshop skills. Draw inspiration form other artists...and basically just learn as much as I can about photography, post processing and becoming a better artist. Hopefully I can pickup my camera up more often in a few months when things start to warm up...temperature and color wise. To that end, here are a few pieces I've worked on very recently with Photoshop and Topaz playing a key role:
Breaking The Chains
This begins as an average photo of a chain draped over a piece of broken concrete. This photo was taken while at a park with my son. He was playing with his remote control car. I was walking around taking pictures of just about anything interesting. I initially had no idea what to do with this photo. I knew I wanted to mask the chain and do 'something' with it because I did like the composition and subject, but it was going to have to become something else if I wanted to upload it to FAA. This was great practice using Photoshop's Select and Mask tool. An experimental rainbow gradient along with a black and white filter later, and we have something colorful and symbolic.
The Blue Heron
This is an example of re-imagining an older photo. I have the original photo posted on my Pixels site. I see a lot of artwork on Twitter by Steven Ward and I really like his style. I decided to draw a bit of inspiration from him and experiment a bit in Topaz with this photo. My experience in Topaz is very limited, but I absolutely love this tool. Trying to figure out the masking and how layers work (or don't) in Topaz was interesting to say the least. Using several effects with a mask on the Heron, I'm happy with the result.
Dueling Tones Windmill
Another great chance to work exclusively with editing tools and save the photography for later. Working with a photo contributed by Gaby Ethington to the Edit This 11 Contest, I ran through some options in Topaz and found a perfect Dual Tone effect that worked great with the photo. I decided to crop the photo to reduce the number of subjects in the photo to just one...the windmill contrast against the flat landscape and huge sky.
November 4th, 2018
Well isn't this exciting!
I had no idea FineArtAmerica had a blogging option. Hopefully I can update this regularly and I hope some readers actually enjoy my attempt at actual writing!
About me and this Blog:
Before photography, I had a long amateur career developing maps and levels for computer games in the Quake and Unreal series. I also dabbled in web design for some personal projects over the years, having some education in database management and coding to compliment my Photoshop experience. I did these things mostly as a fun hobby and mainly keep some level of sanity that we all require outside of our daily responsibilities.
Photography was something I was always interested in, but never quite had the time or money to commit to fully. And if I'm being quite honest, I never had the patience either! While preparing for our vacation this year, I was visiting some Disney World photography forums and found myself reading some very helpful beginner photography material, I decided to budget for a camera and a kit. I picked up a recommended EBook from Amazon on exposure (Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson) and was totally hooked. I read the entire book before my camera even arrived.
Since then, in an effort to become a competent photographer, I've photographed just about everything I've seen. A lot of it quite terribly! However, after nine months of "serious" photography, I feel I'm finally finding my niche. Being outdoors is the most interesting part of photography and I've always been a bit of a computer graphics nerd. The melding of the two seem to be where I'm most comfortable working. Shooting outdoors and nature in general is challenging and I love it. There is a never ending offering of compositions out there to shoot. Uploading the images to my computer for enhancing or outright manipulation is just as thrilling. I can work on projects for hours and not notice the time slip by.
The added benefits of getting outdoors, spending time with my son (he loves coming with) and just the learning experiences from being in nature in general are terrific.
All that being said, Colors of Fall is the most recent addition to my collection. My son and myself picked up leaves varying from deep reds to bright yellows while taking our daily walk around the neighborhood. It represents all that I love about photography. Being outside, spending time with family and composing something very interesting that I feel others would enjoy looking at. I hope everyone enjoys this piece! Click the button below to see this new work.