Sunday, January 11, 2015

Photo Challenge #6: Reach Out and Touch It!

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 #6: Reach Out and Touch It!

For this week's 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) Storage:  The original picture was taken at Fort Ligonier in Pennsylvania this fall.  It had an look that cried out for some sort of treatment.  I almost made this into sepia tone, but it was nearly there on its own already.  I layered this with a texture of a coiled rope from a nautical vessel for a strange but oddly pleasing effect.

2) Pirate's Booty:  The original picture was from from the river out of Ottertail Lake.  I liked the colors, but the subject was just not thrilling.  I overlaid this with a picture of pirate gold from Disneyland for a strange effect.  This actually turned out as more of a blend technique rather than texture, but I liked it so here it is!

3) Flower: This was taken at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh this fall.  I used a fairly simple craquelare filter to give this texture.  I like the base picture, but the extra interest from the texture pattern adds something.  Combining this with a painting filter would probably be even more impressive…but that was not the challenge this week!  The texture looks better when the picture is enlarged more.

Taken in Maastricht, Netherlands

Boa constrictor at the MN Renaissance Festival

4) Snakes, Why Did it Have to be Snakes?  This was a bit more involved.  I took a blah photo of a cool ironwork detail as my base layer.  I next opened the picture of the snake scales and added that as an additional layer (select all, copy, and then paste into the base layer making an automatic second layer).  I free transformed the second (snake) layer to rotate it and enlarge it to overlay the entire base layer.  Then I tweaked the opacity to about 47% so the layer was visible but didn't overwhelm the base picture.  Next I copied that layer (now layer 3) changing the blend mode to Multiply at 35% opacity.  This darkened the layer a bit more for a burn-in effect.  Next on that layer I took the lasso tool and made an oval around the central snake ironwork.  Right clicking on that and then feathering (set at 100 pixels) it basically cut out the darkened layer 3 from the center of the picture--resulting in a more subtle vignette effect and focusing the eye on the center more.  I learned a bunch of new Photoshop Elements techniques by doing this and like the resulting picture a lot!

So if any readers have tried this week's challenge out, just click on the free link tool below and post your results to share!  Please share this set of challenges with any friends who might want to take part as well!

For next week Photo Challenge #7: I'm Burning For You!  For this challenge we will be trying out the classic photography method of Burning In.  In the old days of film, this technique was used during developing to darken areas of the film selectively.  One would basically hold a tinted or opaque card with central clear area over the developing film--allowing more light to hit a specific area of the print and hence more exposure.  This resulted in a darker or "burned in" area where you want it.  Now with photo editing programs one can imitate this effect with much less trial and error.  So this week take a picture--preferably one where the contrast isn't as great as you would like it--and use this technique to add more contrast or shadow to select areas of the photo.  Just a hint, the following week's challenge will be the opposite of this effect: Dodging!

1 comment:

Todd said...

I obviously need to spend more time in Photoshop....You have some amazing transformations in your photos!! Very impressive!!