Sunday, January 4, 2015

Photo Challenge #5: Something Sketchy

After playing along with Erin's 30 Word Thursday weekly challenge on her Treasures Found Blog for the past year I have finally taken the plunge and started taking photography more seriously.  Starting with my iPhone, I soon found that the limitations of that device were getting to me.  Upgrading to a Cannon Eos Digital Rebel SL1 camera, I've started experimenting more with technique.  I have also invested in Photoshop Elements 12 and most of my post-production on photos will be from that program.  As a way to force myself to try new things, I'm doing a weekly photo challenge--each week focusing on a different photography or editing technique.  Some of these may be simple and others more difficult.  I encourage any of my readers to take part in the challenge!

Photo Challenge #5: Something Sketchy

This week's photo challenge is to take a few photographs and give them a face lift.  Using editing software, add a pencil sketch effect.  With Photoshop Elements there is a fairly wide array of effects one can get just with the simple sketch filter.  You can use the sliders to change the background paper color on a scale from pitch black to pure white.  Using colored "pencils" versus black&white will also give a fairly different effect.  One can also change the stroke strength for a lighter or darker line.  As with most of the filters on PE, I find that combining it with other effects or filters can make for a more balanced and less stark effect.  Here goes!

SS 1/125,  F/5.6,  Focal length 100, ISO 160

1) Hibiscus:  I took this photo at the Pittsburgh, PA Phipps Conservatory this fall.  I really liked the colors in this flower, but wanted to make them stand out even more.  I didn't do any manipulation to the color in the first photo!  For the sketch effect I used the colored pencil filter.  You can choose background of black, white, or anywhere in between--so I went dark gray.  I like the contrast…like back in elementary school when you drew in crayon and then painted over it with black paint.

2) Statue:  This was taken just down the road, also in Pittsburgh.  Alone, I like the angle of the shot, but with negligible background it just isn't a great photo.  But changing this to a charcoal and chalk drawing, it has a more artistic and classic appearance.

SS 1/100, ISO 100, f/16, FL 18

3) Belgium: This one was taken on our last day in Belgium.  Our hotel was the building on right in this photo.  I was struck by the contrast in colors of these buildings and the modern and industrial feel of the train station visible in the distance.  The sky was just starting to cloud over, but I got a bit of blue before  it got nasty out!  I like the colored pencil version of this picture, since it accentuates the bright colors against the gray surroundings.

Ghent: SS 1/4,  f/13, ISO 6400, FL 33  Hand held

4) Ghent:  The canals of Ghent are amazing, and the entire city is lit intricately at night.  I loved the idea of this picture along the canal, but without a tripod there is a fair amount of shake and noise in the shot.  By changing this to a charcoal sketch, I have taken advantage of that noise and made it look like it belonged there.  I also am very happy with how the couple sitting at the edge of the canal are much more noticeable in the sketch version--this is more what I saw in my head when taking this shot.

SS 1/100, f/11, ISO 100, FL 55

5) Rochefort:  This picture was taken at the Abbey brewery of Rochefort, in Belgium.  This is one of my favorite beers and I was very excited to see the place.  The Abbey is actually run by monks and they do not allow tours much anymore.  I was able to snap this picture through a metal grate and get a look at the interior.  The cart off to the right is where they collect the spent grain from a batch of beer.  This is one of the best sketch effects I did.  I love how the effect accentuates the pastoral and aged character of this place.

6) Madonna and Baby Jesus:  I can't remember where I took this, but I think it was Maastricht, Netherlands.  I took a lot of pictures of Gothic and church architectural features on my trip, but often they didn't come out like I wanted them to.  To my credit I had just bought my "real" camera a few weeks prior to the trip and had no idea what I was doing with it!  Also many of the days were overcast or rainy, making for less light and contrast than I had hoped for.  This picture was cool, but lacked something.  Adding a pencil sketch effect to it added more stark contrast and improved the look of the lines.  Not my favorite of the shots today, but I think it saves this one from obscurity or deletion!

So there is my overachieving entry for this week's photo challenge.  I'll have the link up until next Monday if anyone else wants to try out these techniques!

For next week Photo Challenge #6: Reach Out and Touch It!  For the next challenge I'd like to try out textures.  Most photo programs come with a few built in textures to make a picture more interesting or for unusual effects.  Photoshop elements has some hidden in the artistic filters like canvas, sandstone, and burlap.  These add a tactile (at least it looks like it does) element to an otherwise flat photo.  I'm interested to see what type of photo will benefit from this treatment.  For extra credit take your own texture picture and use that instead of the built-ins: brick wall, textured stone, rusty metal, etc.  

1 comment:

Todd said...

Very Cool!!! I find myself using Picasa because it's relatively easy and isn't a resource on my low end laptop. Looks like I need to use Elements a bit more.

Great Job!!