Saturday, March 26, 2011

The ballet dancers...

If you stare at them long enough, they appear as ballet dancers.  I love this place for its solitude and the emotions it can evoke.  It's quiet, it's moody and it's dramatic in this part of McIntosh Reserve. (I processed this using NIK"s HDR Efex Pro tone mapping as well as it's glamour glow, monday morning and darken/lighten center effects.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dancing trees ballet...

This was somewhat of a challenging exercise in multiple effects using various NIK tools.  I took this photo into HDR Efex Pro tone mapping, since it was only a single image, and made several slider adjustments until it was to my liking.  Then, in Photoshop CS5, I again used some NIK magic in the form of the "monday morning" and "glamour glow" effects. Once done there, I used NIK Silver EFX Pro 2 to convert it all to black and white and toned it.  I finished it off using NIK's sharpener, just brushing in the sharpening in selected areas.  This McIntosh Reserve swampy area is one I visit frequently to find moody, dramatic scenes to photograph.

The tulip tree

The tulip trees are in bloom and are spectacular.  Everything colorful is exploding all around me. Now the dogwoods have started and will soon be blazing everywhere here as well.  (I processed this with NIK in CS5 using my favorite effects... darken/lighten center, glamour glow and two doses of the monday morning effect.)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring on the road...

Just one beautiful example of what spring gives us along the side roads. It's just THERE for all to see.  Nothing special at all as far as those splashes of colorful flowers go... it's just what nature provides.  But it's oh, so VERY special to me! (Processed using NIK's darken/lighten center effect and a dose of its glamour glow as well.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The decay of the Pate farmhouse continues...

I've been photographing this Civil War era farmhouse for 14 years (it was built in 1867).  I watched with sadness the continued decay and collapsing of the home over these years and continue to document it as long as it still stands.  The nails are all hand-made (by a blacksmith I would assume).  I often wonder how many of the homes built today will still be standing in 144 years as is the Pate farmhouse. Oh yes, a family still occupies the old place.  A clan of turkey buzzards has been living in the rafters these many years and still raise their young there.

Vintage swamp tree...

I took this swamp tree shot and went with NIK HDR Efex Pro "tone mapping" (since it was a single photo) to see what I could come up with.  I chose the "vintage" preset and went from there with the sliders moving until I was satisfied.  Then, bringing it into CS5, I used some of NIK's tools like the "darken/lighten center" preset and some general dodging and burning here and there until I liked the results.  I think the "vintage" faded edges along with added contrast to the tree created the overall mood and drama I was looking for.  I added sharpening only to the tree itself to put the focus where I felt it belonged.

Fun with crabapple blossoms and NIK HDR Efex Pro tone mapping

This was a rather mundane shot (somewhat flat, too) that I decided to use as a challenge for NIK's HDR Efex Pro to see what developed. (Pun intended.)  I used the tone mapping version of HDR Efex Pro since this was a single photo.  Once I adjusted it by playing with the slider controls, I brought it into Photoshop CS5 and added some more of NIK's magic. I used the "glamour glow" effect twice and a good dose of "monday morning" as well.  My only final tweaks were some additions of "darken/lighten center" in NIK and a very small brushing of a bit of selective sharpening. It's fun to "play" with the various tools sometimes to give one some inspiration; and discoveries abound when the "unknown/unplanned" happens using the tools.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another look at cherry blossoms

When you are under these branches and no matter where you stare, the beauty of these cherry blossoms is never diminished.  This was a lonely blossom branch hanging off by itself looking so beautiful with the dark background of a log cabin behind it.  I again used NIK and its "glamour glow" effect along with a very slight increase in curves highlight detail to get the back-lit glow I was looking for.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Backlit and high-key...

The soft light from an overcast sky and these back lit petals were just the thing I was looking for.  I always get excited on overcast days which provide a soft and "tented" light that I love most.  Here I used NIK's "darker/lighter center" effect and the "white neutralizer" as well as "glamour glow" to enhance the light coming through the petals.

Another look at a high-key cherry blossom

Again the overcast sky brings out the delicateness of the flower petals and a high-key look seems to compliment that detail greatly.  Here I used NIK once again with a double dose of glamour glow to enhance the effect.

Cherry blossoms in high-key...

With today's overcast sky, it was a perfect setting for shooting white and light colored blossoms.  I gave this view of the Yoshino cherry blossoms a "high-key" look to compliment the even lighting.  For me, a cloudy or overcast day is the one I prefer to shoot flora.  With this one I used NIK's "white neutralizer" effect and  "glamour glow three times to get the look I was after.

Crabapple tree blossoms with a twist...

The blossoms were still beautiful today, and since it was bright overcast, it was a great day to shoot flowers and blossoms.  This one is somewhat stylized using NIK glamour glow twice and the "darken/lighten center" effect as well.  This time I added NIK's "monday morning" effect to give the blossoms a bit of mood and drama along with some desaturation.

Another view of the incredible crabapple tree...

It's hard for me not to just stare at the beauty of these blossoms and the busy work being done by the bees and butterflies that are everywhere around the blossoms.  I stood beneath this tree much, much longer that it took to take the photographs... just taking it all in.  It's all so mesmerizing.  (Once again, I called on the NIK effects to work their magic.  A double dose of "glamour glow as well as "darken/lighten center" effects helped bring out the fantastic color and brilliance of these beautiful blossoms.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Supermoon !

Tonight's "supermoon" was spectacular for the entire evening.  Yes, it really was bright and huge, as advertised.  Remember it... it will be a very long while 'til you see this event again.

Crabapple tree blossoms

Ah, the beauty of the crabapple blossoms are out in abundance, and all seems well with the world.  (I know that isn't really the case just now, but Spring's beauty takes over, even if just for a bit.)  These flowering trees are just beautiful.

Cherry blossoms abound...

The Yoshino cherry trees are in full bloom now.  What a wonderful time it is to have your camera handy.  I shot this nearly wide open with a 50mm lens to give the blossoms some added bokeh.  I also added NIK's wonderful "glamour glow" effect twice to add to a painterly effect of both the blossoms and the background.  Oh, how I love these brief weeks of spring.

Hawthorn bush...

By adding a double dose of NIK's "glamour glow" effect, it gave this shot of a hawthorn bush in bloom an almost painterly effect.  It's mid-March here in the Atlanta, GA area, so colors and blooms are bursting out all over.  Ahh, the beauty of spring is on us here!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Soul Kiss...

A typical store in Little Five Points, Atlanta, GA., one of the really fun spots in all of Atlanta.  Atmosphere and "retro"are understatements in Little Five Points. 
(Processed in CS5 with NIK Silver EFX Pro 2 and toned slightly.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Harley D...

A dab or two of Topaz Simplify... a dash or two of NIK's "Monday Morning" plug-in set off with a dollop of  one of onOne's photographic frames and voila... a Harley D... up close and personal.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Asphalt plant...

I'm so very impressed with the new NIK Silver EFX Pro 2.  It creates such lovely black and white photos from either color or previous black and white, and the ability to control each facet of the conversion is so very powerful as well as unique.  I like this example in particular since both the clouds and the train track lead the eye directly to the plant itself and the white office building.