Archives for posts with tag: abstract

I took these pictures of agate slices several years ago and decided I wanted to make them into wall art. I thought they needed to be punched up a bit, though, so I applied a little HDR effect to each one. In my last post, I compared the difference between a regularly processed shot and the same individual shot processed in HDR. I have done the same thing here with the agate pictures, processing only one shot.







All of these were shot using natural window light from behind. I propped them in a window, placed my camera on a tripod and pulled in close for a lot of detail.

Experiment, always 🙂


I am currently in the midst of teaching a class of new photographers and have, of course, been touting the wonderfulness of high dynamic range photography. I explained to my students that the best way to accomplish HDR is to take three bracketed shots and combine them. You can however, apply HDR to only one shot and get some pretty stunning results.












As you can see the results are smashing. I love the way HDR brings out the texture of the barn siding and the colors in the sky and on the foliage.

Keep shooting 😉

As promised, I have been playing with some of my smartphone and Ipad apps to create wall art. For this post, I started with this photo:

I had this saved on my smartphone from back in the fall. I simply opened it in my Kaleidoscope app (free from Google Play) and shot several different angles after turning my phone in different directions. I ended up with these four pictures:




I then sent these four pictures to my Ipad and performed some rotating, cropping and sharpening to each one in Photoshop Express (free in the App Store). I applied a different special effect to each one of them to make them look different. Here are the results of that series of manipulations:





Each of these would be excellent wall art if not printed out too large. They are the products of smartphone photography and quality begins to suffer if blown up too large. They should work nicely if printed under 5″x5″.
I decided to do one last series of manipulations to these in another IPad app called A Beautiful Mess ($1.99 in the App Store). This app allows you to make collages, diptychs and triptychs from photos you have in your camera roll or take new ones. I made a simple collage from all four:


And a triptych from three:


All of these apps are fun to play with and that is what I really want when I look at wall art- a reminder of past fun 🙂


wordfoto herc

I’m so excited! I downloaded a great new app to my I-pad. It’s called WordFoto and it incorporates words onto your photos. The photo of my dog above was taken with the I-pad camera and I chose some words from the word bank. It added the words.

wordfoto family

This picture of my family that I posted earlier turned out nicely when I imported it into the WordFoto app and chose another set of words from the menu. The app has several effects you can apply. The one above was the monochrome effect.

wordfoto barn

This is a picture that I have previously posted as well. For this one, I made a new word bank with the words Kentucky, Country, Love and Home. The picture was so dark that the only place you can really see the words is in the sky.

wordfoto barbed

I am most pleased with this one. I used a lighter photo and a lighter effect to apply the same words as the barn picture, but with a different font. I really like the way this one turned out. I imported this one into Photoshop and printed it without any manipulation to an 8X10. It looks great. You have several options when saving or emailing the photos from your I-pad. I chose to save and email at actual size, which is the best quality (largest file size). The app is available from the App Store for $1.99 and is well worth it, in my opinion. I can see many uses for this one. It is actually an I-phone app but will work on an I-pad. Just make sure to toggle “I-phone only” when you are searching the app store for WordFoto.

Have fun 🙂


Why is it that every time you see an HDR photo, it’s always a landscape? For a Christmas exhibit I participated in this month, I decided to try HDR photography on close-up stills.


It worked great! I simply set up the stills, mounted my camera on a tripod, screwed on my Promaster close-up filter set and plugged in my remote shutter release.


I set my Canon on auto exposure bracketing (AEB) in order to get the three shots I needed for HDR processing. Since I had the ISO set at 100 for maximum quality and the camera set on AV at 5.6, the shutter speed was pretty slow.


I used a light box for most of the shots with filtered light illuminating the entire box. For the shot above, though, I laid the lights on a reflective surface and had no other light. The shutter was very slow for this one. Turned out good though.


The three shots were then processed in my trusty Photomatix program and cropped in Photoshop Elements 12.

HDR photography does make great landscapes, but that’s only the surface. My next project, HDR portraits.

2014-09-26 11.48 I recently read an article online about creative ways to use the panorama feature on your smartphone’s camera. (I wish I could remember where it was so I could include a link and give the authors credit). Any how, you simply set your phone’s panorama capture while riding down the road and record a highly condensed rendition of the landscape you are passing. 2014-09-26 11.46This photo and the one on top were shot using this method. The top photo came out slightly choppy because of all the close up things I was passing. The one directly above looks better. IMG_20140928_183613_305 This photo was made using another trick from the article. I stood in one spot and started panning very slowly. My son chose four different spots within the landscape to stand still and ran quickly from one to the next as I panned. There are a couple of spots where you can make out the ghostly blur of him moving. It came out pretty cool though.

IMG_1790 IMG_1781IMG_1787Stained glass has always been one of my favorite types of artwork. These are some details of larger pieces in the sanctuary of Indian Creek Christian Church in Cynthiana.   They were taken on AV setting at F8. There was plenty of light, so my shutter speed was fairly fast. The windows are quite tall, so for some of them I held the camera up above my head and pushed the shutter. Some of them turned out great…some not so much. Thank goodness for digital. 🙂 IMG_1791IMG_1786IMG_1783IMG_1784

You know the photography mantra, if you use a long shutter speed, you should mount your camera on a tripod so that the picture is not blurred.

Well, what if you want the image blurred? What if you want to create a spinning or falling effect. Simple, use a long shutter speed and move your camera.


In order to produce this swirl, I set my camera to manual (M) setting. I decided that I needed to leave the shutter open for 1 second in order to give me time to spin my camera. Because the slow shutter speed let in so much light, I turned the ISO to 100 and relied on the internal light meter to tell me what F-stop I would need. I ended up using F18 (it really doesn’t matter since, technically, none of the shot is in focus).


Then I began taking photos by pushing on the shutter release and immediately spinning the camera to the left or right.


As you can see, the focal point of the shot ends up being the center of the spin. I tried to play up on that by putting the focal point in the very center of the shot and spinning around it. For the sake of rule of thirds composition, I then cropped the image slightly on the top and right in Photoshop.


I was especially proud of this one.


Next, I moved my camera up to produce a falling flower effect.

I plan to try some more movement shots with objects other than flowers. I’ll keep you posted 🙂


Pretty much anytime I can find a way to do something creative AND cheap, I give it a try. I saw a long time ago on something (I apologize to whom ever came up with this for not remembering) about putting a piece of clear plastic wrap on the end of your lens and smearing all but the very center with petroleum jelly to create a dreamy effect around your subject.

I am currently teaching a photography class and I always like to give my students ways to be creative without having to spend a bundle, so I gave it a try. The top photo of a fence pull was taken at very short depth of field and the background would have been blurry anyway. However, with the sophisticated lubricant-endowed plastic wrap on the lens, the photo looks more interesting.

The photo below of my cat also turned out nice. The only problem with this method is that it blows the rule of thirds because the sharp focus is in the dead middle of the shot. I suppose I could work on ways to make the focal point out of focus.

Have fun 🙂



I gathered some moss from outside one day when the temperature rose above freezing and brought it in to soak (I put it around my houseplants). I decided to take a few shots of the moss while it was in the tray using my micro filters. I love the way they turned out. They look like forests, where one would expect a fairy or hobbit to reside.


I put my camera on a low tripod and attached the remote shutter release so that I could leave the shutter open as long as I needed. I used the light on my range hood and set the whole thing up on my stove top.

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