Everything you can imagine…

Blog, Pennsylvania Center for Photography, Photography

Everything you can imagine is real ~ Pablo Picasso.

Making something appear real, feel real… or just believable is, for me, the most difficult part when creating from the imagination.  As a viewer, allowing ourselves to believe in possibilities, despite the reality we live in, is a major part in making any story a success, whether in be artistically, photographically, in books, movies, etc.  For as long as I can remember and to this day, I’ve never doubted those possibilities, which may be why I’m such a fan of stories like Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, and more modern day stories such as Harry Potter.   And now here I am telling my own stories, unlocking my imagination photographically…  It feels kind of crazy, but how exhilarating!  There is something very captivating in creating from the imagination, it’s self-exploration and breaking boundaries both technically and artistically. I’m hooked!

Sometimes though, as the saying goes, it is easier said than done.  I attempted a series, a concept or a part of the story that resonates in each image.  A big project with the added goal of being ready to submit for the Transformations Exhibit.  I say attempted because only two of the three in the series were accepted.  I’m not surprised.  On this, the third image, I struggled. 

 

You know the old saying…  So close you can feel it.  Well, that’s where I left it and I knew it when I hit submit.  Even now, looking at it here, and asking… the tree? the owl? the yellow?  So I know if I’m asking those ?’s, probably so are you.  Disappointed?  No.  I’m actually excited about deconstructing it and putting it back together with all the right elements in all the right places, and telling the story just as I imagined.  Will it still be part of the series?  I’m not sure… Something tells me this one has a story all it’s own.

psst…  Check out my Facebook page for more information about the Transformations Exhibition or click HERE.   And STAY TUNED to my blog and/or my Facebook page, as I’ll being sending out another link when the Transformations online gallery is open!

 

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Pixel Pushing

Blog, Photography

Ten years ago, the family and I took a whirlwind trip out west.   I took lots of photos but never really did anything with them. . .   Of course, they are priceless in terms of documenting our trip and showing that were actually there; but as for photographs, they are just . . . okay.  I decided to a pull a few from the archives to see if today’s software could make them more than just marginal.

The camera for this trip was a Kodak DC 4800 with it’s whopping 3.1 megapixels, and I’m pretty sure I shot on Auto. . . back then I just didn’t know any better.

Image 1:  Somewhere near Sedona, Az.

The Before:
GC - Sedona 054 GC - Sedona 054-2-Edit-Edit
The After:  You can really see a difference when you click on the images and make them larger.  Just don’t make it too big; I guess there is only so much today’s programs can do.  But who knows, in another 10 years . . .  I will hopefully get the opportunity to try again with the knowledge and camera equipment I have today and no pixel pushing required 🙂

The Process:  I started in Lightroom.  I always like to start there, starting with the basics: Some sharpening, noise reduction (was a must!), pretty simple.  Then off to Photoshop.  Here I use my plug-ins (yes, I know I can use them in LR; it’s just a preference of mine to work with them in PS).  First up, Topaz Clarity.  I am loving this one.  Since I don’t really speak the techie-language, I’m not even going to try, I just know I can get the result I want by starting with a preset and then tweaking the sliders.  I’m off to a good start, but there is still all that noise and then some.  I had Topaz’s Denoise, not sure where it went.  So I went to Nik Define2.  I like that I can apply it just to the area I want (the sky) by using a brush and bonus the Nik software in PS creates a layer to work from, so I make adjustments later if I need to.  Still, not quite there yet, I wanted some more detail but wanted to keep all that noise I worked so hard at getting rid of at bay.  After clicking around Topaz Adjust and Nik Color Efex and not really finding what I was looking for, I opted for Nik Sharperner.  I have two options here RAW presharpener and Output sharpener.  Now, I know I should probably look up what each one really does and why, and maybe someday I will, but let’s face it, I’m a clicker. If I click on something and it gives me what I want, that’s good enough for me.  I went with the RAW, which makes absolutely no sense given I was working with a low quality, low resolution, JPEG, but it did what I was looking for, what more can I ask.

In the end, other than the pushing of all those pixels resulting in a hot pixel showing up here and there (cloned out) and the fact that printing this large will never be an option, at least not a good one, I think this was an exercise well worth the effort.  Are they now perfect? Not by a long shot.  Are there other ways to achieve these results, if not even better one’s?  You bet there are.  But for now,  I relived some memories, taught myself a thing or two, and I learned a bit more about what the software I have can do, and that is pretty darn satisfying.

Here’s another one resurrected from the trip.  This is Coral Sand Dunes National Park in Utah, near Zion.   I kept pretty much to the same processing. . . Zion 027 Zion 027-2-Edit-Edit

’til next time,
Maria

Steee–rike!!!

Blog, Photography

Campbells tower-lights Sunset-on-BFB

Has it really been a month.  Yikes!  Oh well, it is summer after all … time to slow down… maybe take in a ballgame.  This past Monday, I did just that… although you probably would never guess by looking at the photos here.   Campbell’s Field, home to the Camden Riversharks, offers some spectacular views of the Philadelphia skyline and Ben Franklin bridge, especially at sunset.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Riversharks won (or so I am told 😉 )

Til next time, Maria