Mother Nature is the artist. I just collect the memories…

Posts tagged “Techniques

“The Golden Spiral”

Well, I was recently asked to explain my use of the Fibonacci Spiral in composing complex scenes for landscape photography.  This is a very difficult concept to put into words.  FAR more difficult to verbalize than utilize, so to save me the words, I will let the Digital Photography School Forums do it for me, with their very clear description of Divine Composition.

Unlike The Rule of Thirds, the Fibonacci Spiral is something that can be a bit more daunting to utilize in the field.  Afterall, it’s fairly easy to visualize your viewfinder cut into equal thirds along both axes.  It does, however, take a bit more forethought and practice to utilize the spiral.  Don’t fret…with practice, it becomes as much a second-nature instinct as the rule of thirds…

Here is a couple of examples of some of my own photographs, and how the Fibonacci Spiral was applied during composition–

As you can see, it really isn’t as complex and daunting as you might think upon first trying to utilize it.  It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with ratio and proportions of the spiral while in the comfort and convenience of your computer chair.  The more the image of that spiral is engrained in your memory, the easier it will be to visualize in the field.  Happy Shooting!!


The Orton Effect

The Orton effect was first used by Michael Orton.  Using color slide film, he would take 2 shots of the same subject, one over-exposed and blurry, the other in focus.  He would then sandwich these two slides together and the effect would have a very surreal, almost dream-like quality to them.  I have heard it referred to as “painterly”, “artistic”, and “dreamy”.  Whatever you choose to call it…it’s pretty cool.

It can easily be applied digitally with today’s editing software…

Creating the above image was really quite simple.  I use Corel’s Paint SHop Pro Photo 12, so this “tutorial” may not be helpful to those of you that use Photoshop…

The first step is basic processing of the base image.  I make brightness/contrast, high pass sharpen, and clarify adjustments to get a solid base image to start with.  Than I copy this image, and paste it as a new layer.

I make the top layer invisible, so I can see the bottom layer, and increase the brightness a bit, than apply a Gaussian Blur.  I typically use a 15-25 pixel radius, but I have used higher.  Be warned…you CAN overdo it.

Once my bottom layer is nice and blurry, I switch to my top layer, and increase the sharpness using High Pass Sharpen once again.  Than I decrease the opacity of the top layer, until I can see the blurry layer underneath.  Than it’s a matter of taste, adjusting the opacity of the top layer to achieve the desired amount of blur and “halo” from the blurred bottom layer.

Once I have the desired amount of blur and sharpness, I flatten the image, and continue processing, as necessary.  For the top image, the processing ended at merging the layers.  For the above image, I boosted contrast a touch and clarify just a bit after merging to bring out some of that texture in the rocks.

And that’s really all there is to it.  Play around with it.  I have found that the images most suited to the Orton effect seem to be those with lots of leaves, trees, or water.  These tend to make a really neat dream-scene using this effect.

I hope you enjoyed this, and Thanks for reading!


Something Different…

Back in the days of darkroom processing, and long before color film became widely used, photographers would sometimes play around a little with colorizing.  Most of the time, the technique would consist of literally hand painting a B&W print.  The print itself would take care of clarifying the subject, while the paint used, usually a thin watercolor, would add a semblance of color to the image.  Sometimes the effect was quite stunning.  Most of the time it was mediocre at best.  Sometimes it was just plain horrible.  But when it worked, the effect was quite interesting.

In today’s digital world, this technique is all but forgotten.  Fear not, there is a way to accomplish this with Photoshop, or whatever you use.  I use Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo Ultimate 12.5.  It’s a good program for basic editing and intermediate manipulations, but not as deep as CS4.  Anyhow…

Colorized Round

Colorized Round

Colorized Cross

Colorized Cross

Both of these were shot in monotone, and processed as per my normal workflow, adjusting brightness, contrast, sharpness, and clarity to suit my taste…just like a B&W print would have been.  Than, I copied the image, and pasted it as a new layer.  I “colorized” the original shot using my Hue/Saturation channel, and selectively erased the monuments from the top layer, to reveal the colorized layer below.   I did add a heavy Gaussian blur to the B&W trees in the green cross…  The effect is similar to what a B&W print hand painted with watercolors would look like.

Depending on your desires, you can really make some interesting stuff using this technique.  I’m not that artistic and I remain very basic in my manipulations.  But there is no reason why you couldn’t use as many layers of color as you wanted to create as deep an image as possible.  The potential is really limited only by your imagination, so…go play!

Thanks for reading!