Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Photo Challenge #13: Ortonize 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! 

This week we will be working with The Orton Effect!  This is a technique originated by Michael Orton in the 1980's where he would sandwich two slides together--one in sharp focus and the other underexposed.  This process results in a strange and possibly dreamy or trippy effect.  Nowadays most photo editing programs can do this easily.  The trick is to find the right picture to use this on.

So here is the original photo.  I took this at Rochefort Abbey in Belgium.  We had a wonderful French/Belgian lunch in town paired with the heavenly Rochefort 6, 8, and 10 beers made just around the corner from where this shot was taken.  This was a special holiday in Belgium and the place was completely deserted.  I'm not entirely sure if we were "allowed" into this little church, but since no one was there to tell us no, we quietly and quickly entered and took some pictures.  The entire place was so peaceful and quiet that one felt like whispering.

Here is the same shot (straitened slightly) with the Orton Effect added.  The slight blur adds a dreamy effect that actually brings across the feel we had when we were on the grounds.  I like how bright colors in this effect will bleed outside their boundaries a bit: see the red from the leaves on the right side of the shot.  My wife really dislikes when I mess with photos like this (she's a photo-realistic gal) so this one goes out to her!

Next up, from the same trip, but in The Netherlands, we have the world's dirtiest swan.  This photo session was actually only the second time I had really used my camera, so I had no clue when it came to lighting, settings, etc.  It was also overcast and intermittently raining on that day, but every once in a while the sun would peak out.

For this shot I used the Orton Effect to cut the somewhat harsh look of the photo!

For next week I'm going to try using the Liquify Filter from Photoshop Elements.  I get the magazine Photo Elements Techniques bimonthly and the first article this month demonstrates using this filter...so why not!  With this filter you can Warp, Twirl, Pucker, Bloat, and Shift Pixels.  I'll either pick out one photo to demonstrate, or look for particular shots that would benefit from this effect.  Liquify can give some cool fun-house effects, but can also be used more sparingly to edit photos.  You know which tack I'm going to take!

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