If you are into the creative aspects of photography then no doubt you have a use for filters that come with photo editing tools. I find that these filters are often very useful in creating that very different approach to an image be that creating an abstract or enhancing an original image as demonstrated in earlier posts on this site.

Image-1 orig

Image 1

Craquelure filter applied

Image 1 – Craquelure filter applied

There are of course many filters offered for sale on the web but there are many that are free as well. I’ve attached two flower images that started off as straightforward record shots of flowers in a local park.




Image-2 orig

Image 2

Mashberry Filter applied

Image 2 – Mashberry Filter applied

To each of them I’ve applied a filter that was offered free on the web and as can be seen the end result is very different.





For those with an interest Image 1 is a filter called Craquelure and Image 2 is named Mashberry and both are available at . Have fun…


Mixing it up

Sometimes I have images that in themselves are pretty straightforward but always look as though something is missing. Looking through my files I came across this image of part of the Roman arena in Verona Italy that I had taken on holiday.




Final Image

The subject was interesting enough however there was nothing distinct about it that would make it stand out (ref the original image). I then stripped all the background from it, darkened the remains to resemble a night scene and changed the structure of the stonework to give a very grainy effect. Behind the image I added the moon with a blue tint and lined up the two, in all I was quite pleased with the final effect, open to comment.

The second image was treated similarly using another part of the same arena stonework, in this case the arches once cut out gave a window effect so I added the sunset taken at Verona that evening behind the arches and gave a hue to the stonework to match.



These are just examples of what can be achieved with a little effort so never delete shots just because they don’t look interesting, just mix it up a little.

Camera Canon EOS  550D with EFs 18-135 IS lens. More images  can be found in this sites galleries as well as high definition versions available through my online shops.

Digital Abstracts

Who doesn’t like abstracts?, I expect that there’s a few but for the rest of us those crazy patterns manipulate the eyes and the brain and yes they can make great posters. Take this abstract ‘Vortex’, well to create it I needed something that contained a lot of bright colours so I chose this shot of coloured balls as a starting point.




Coloured Balls



Photo editing tools contain lots of built in filters that can be used to manipulate the image, they can twist and pull colour in all directions, slice it bend it, blur it, the list is endless. With so many variables inside each filter its virtually impossible to re-create the image again so as you play with filter after filter save a copy of what you like before you experiment further.

The balls also formed the basis for ‘Sunrise’, a totally different style of abstract. Digitally manipulating images to abstracts does have an advantage over traditional art in that the manipulation goes down to pixel level, zoom into a high resolution image and you will see patterns inside patterns.

High-Res-ZoomTo demonstrate, on view is a zoom into the high resolution version of ‘Sunrise’ as it looks at 100%, there’s detail inside detail.

With abstracts it’s like throwing paint onto a canvas, just manipulate the outcome until you like what you see.

Further digitally manipulated images can be found in this sites gallery ‘Digital Enhancement’, as well as high resolution versions available through my online shop, please enjoy.

Digital Manipulation 2

Following on from ‘Digital Manipulation 1’ which looked into a simple replace the background effect there are times when the original subject becomes the basis for a totally different image. Some time ago when I was in England I visited the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge. It’s about 5000 years old and no-one is certain about its original purpose though the site is impressive and (unfortunately for photographers) very popular which means lots of tourists, which of course means lots of people getting into the shots. A little patience (and timing) and this can be reduced to a manageable few which a photo editing tool can soon remove. A little editing work and I was left with a basic shot of a pile of stones, not the mysterious symbol of antiquity that springs to mind, fine if you want to show it in the “this is what I saw in England’ album but not for the creative file.

I do like to play around with phot editing tools though and decided to use this to create the atmosphere I wanted.


Stonehenge original

Stonehenge in England

Stonehenge after processing

To start I cut out the sky and replaced it with one that was dark and broody, removed all colour and then colourised to a dark deep blue to turn it all into a night image, removed the rear stones onto a separate layer and added a burst of light into a layer in the center of the stone circle. The advantage of the separate layers enables individual adjustment without affecting the other parts of the image, added highlights to the stones catching the light and to the clouds above. A bit more adjustment in contrast here and there and I ended up with a result that is totally different to the starting point and created the mood I was after, something that could never have been achieved in a straight photo. OK I admit that this was not something that I achieved in 10 minutes and I made numerous layer versions to achieve the effect I was after but it demonstrates what can be achieved if you set your mind to it, as a bonus it was fun.

Further digitally manipulated images can be found in this sites gallery ‘Digital Enhancement’, as well as high resolution versions available through my online shop, please enjoy.

Digital Manipulation 1

Bit of a mouthful, in other words things you can do to an image to change it into something else, or enhance it. The question is often asked whether an image should be changed at all, well I think that it depends on what you are trying to achieve. If it’s a record shot then change nothing, what you record is exactly what you want to remember. However lots of us photographers are not after record shots, something for the history books or the family album what we are trying to achieve is a final impression, a mood, a feeling, creating something that you enjoy looking at and others will enjoy also. I’ve seen some wonderful landscapes taken by the pro’s who have staked a location and waited for the right season and time of day to take the shot in, I wish at times that I had the capability to do that. For most of us though when photographing landscapes nature is not always kind enough to present the ideal environment, just the right lighting or just the right colours and often this could be the only visit, you are locked into that day and time of day, so take the shot anyway and back on the computer give it a little help.


Take the original tree, remove the dull sky, boost the colour and lighting on the tree itself, embed the new sunset sky as a background and boost its colours to suit.

Happy, then merge the sandwich and save as a new image “Winter Sunset’.

The result is a more pleasing image after manipulation, of course if you prefer the original record shot then you still have the dull flat tree shot…..