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

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…..

Rome, the Dream

Rome, I dreamt of going there for a long time, even when I lived in England and it was only a short flight away, every year there always seemed to be somewhere else I had to go. When you have a young family life’s like that.  Now I live in Australia, the family’s grown up and all I had to do was go. The dream became reality in 2011, armed with my trusty Canon EOS 550D and a couple of lenses I was determined to record every living moment of it, from the small hotel we booked into to the splendour of the preserved ruins seen from the Palatine hill, Rome truly is a wonderful city.

The Coliseum of Ancient Rome

The Coliseum of Ancient Rome

The views attached are of The Coliseum (a must see although if you are intending to visit the old city ( Palatine) next to it then I suggest that you go there first, the queues are much shorter and the ticket also gives entrance to the Coliseum afterwards so you can bypass the long queues and just enter). The Vatican City, just for the splendour whether you are catholic or not and the Saint Angelo Bridge leading to the castle which is in itself interesting enough but there is also a café on the top where you can sit in a gun embrasure with coffee and enjoy some great views of the city.

Vatican City

Vatican City

Add to this the numerous piazza’s with their beautiful fountains, restaurants, cafes, markets and wonderful buildings like the Pantheon, 2000 years old and still in use today, the very ornate cathedrals and older churches. The list is endless, every road I walked seemed to lead to something new to see and record.

Sitting in a small café one lunchtime enjoying pizza and a local beer (what else) gave time to reflect and enjoy the moment, 8 days was definitely not long enough for me, and will I go back, well I can dream can’t I.

Saint Angelo Bridge Rome

Saint Angelo Bridge Rome

Further pictures of Rome can be found in this sites gallery ‘Images outside Australia’, as well as available through my online shop, please enjoy.

Australia – Flinders Ranges

The outback, an unforgiving land of dry arid desert, wide open spaces and views that can go on forever that can be both dangerous and stunningly beautiful. For the photographer the scenes and opportunities are endless. The views attached taken with a Canon EOS digital camera are from a small part of this vast wilderness, the Flinders Ranges are about 430Km inland from Adelaide in South Australia to one of its best known locations Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheatre of mountains that is now a national park and tourist attraction. There is a wonderful feeling of remote isolation climbing to the top of a bluff and not being able to see another person in any direction as you wait for the light to change to photograph the scene below.

More images of the Flinders Ranges can be found in this sites gallery ‘Australia in View’ as well as available through my online shop.

Australia, the Barossa Valley

Barossa Landscape Australia
Barossa Landscape Australia
Australian Landscape

Barossa Landscape in Autumn

Australia, a land of variable landscapes and conditions, being so huge its understandable that there can be tropical rainforests in one area and arid deserts in another. Living near Adelaide in South Australia the climate is more what you would expect in the Mediterranean and out here in the Barossa Valley the area abounds in Vineyards and Wineries so naturally my photography encompasses views of the area as the seasons change. During autumn (March to May) the vines change to a golden colour and the lighting gives images a warm feeling, an ideal time for photography. Continue reading