Dec 302010


ISO 80; f/8; 1/125; 7.7mm; 2:13PM (Canon Powershot SD950IS)

This Christmas Kitty has such soft fur!  And she thinks her “people” are fairly soft for dressing her up and biking around the park.

This photo was cropped way down… since I did a fairly bad job of zooming in on her.  I ran it through Topaz deJpeg and then used the Aperture to paint in definition (eyes, ornaments, fur) and then out to Topaz Detail and used Feature Enhancement which just gave it enough to make her stand out.  Love these tools!

Dec 252010

Guess what Santa Claus brought me?   A copy of Photoshop Elements 9!

This is a combination of two photos.  I first used Topaz Adjust (from PSE) on the Snowman, which is from a photo I took about a week ago. I then used Topaz ReMask with PSE  to cut this snowman from the photo.  The background is one of the accidental images I captured two nights ago when the parade of lighted vehicles came through the park.  After combining the two photos, I imported the new image into Aperture, tweaked the levels and added vibrancy to the blue sign and the reds, and tweaked the red hues a bit more. (I tried some of this in PSE, but find Aperture easier to use for this kind of work.)

Although I have been a Photoshop Elements user since the first version (and actually from a pre-version),  I still had version 6 on my Mac. I bought Aperture earlier this year and wanted to know it inside and out before I could reward myself with a new version of Photoshop Elements.  Recently, however, I decided to forego the PSE update  in order to take advantage of the discounted bundled price for Topaz. (And am SO glad that I did – let’s call that an early Christmas present!)  Good thing there is a Santa Claus because now I have everything I need.  Guess I better sign up for the 2011 Photowalk!

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday!

Dec 242010

Iso 80; f/4; 1.0s; -1ev; 14.2mm (Canon SX10 on tripod)

I was caught by surprise last night when the RV Park next door came through with their vehicles all lit up to bring us holiday cheer.   I grabbed the Canon SX10 and ran out the door… and starting shooting.  I chased the vehicles around the park a few times and reset up.  Most of the photos came out as interesting light blurs.   I couldn’t figure out why the camera seem to take so long to take the picture even when I tried to increase the speed… everything was happening so fast, I didn’t take the time to run through the camera settings.  So, I took a page from Ron’s book, and just continued to shoot assuming something would come out of it.

It wasn’t until I downloaded the photos this morning that I realized my mistake… I had left the camera in bracketed mode from when I went out earlier in the day.  Of course, I could have corrected that if only I had thought to look.  (Note to self:  reset camera after each use to be ready for any shot that might come along.)

The vehicles finally stopped briefly in front of me and I got these bracketed shot in… the surprising thing is, I liked the -1ev better than the 0ev shot because we can see the “WooWee”  license plate better.

This was processed in Topaz Adjust with the Dramatic effect.  Then I brought it back into Aperture and adjusted the Black Point.  I retouched the photo removing the drivers head (it annoyed me), parts of a palm tree, and a few other distractions.  Last step was to run it through Topaz deJpeg. Oh, and then I dodged the bow and the license plate.

Dec 022010

season of thanks
















The above is second attempt at improving this photo.  I’m not sure why I’m so intent on posting this… at about this point, I don’t think I even like it!   But, it has been a good photo for trying out the Topaz bundle and Topaz InFocus.  For the above, I cropped it, ran it through deNoise and then InFocus… and then cleaned up the photo a bit in Aperture. And it still looks OOF.

IMG_4418 - Version 2

ISO 400; f/2.8; 1/20; 7.7mm  (Canon Powershot SD950 IS)

Still in November themes… I took this with this theme in mind… just didn’t get around to posting it!

I tried using the Topaz ReMask to show the whole plate and the placement with leaves… but this proved to be more difficult because of the shadow around the edge of the plate.  So I decided to try a different approach… by cropping it, which I decided I liked better than the whole plate.

I am also experimenting with Topaz InFocus and am finding that program is more difficult to use as well.  I think I ran this photo through deNoise more than twice… but not sure.  I also used Apertures brushes to paint in detail on the leaves… and touch up to get rid of the some of the ceramic plate flaws.  Anyway, if I sound vague, it is because I started this same photo from scratch about 5 times trying different things.

Oct 312010

I worked on getting the eyes a bit clearer.  Of course, if I had just taken a better photo to begin with, I wouldn’t have to be trying every trick in the book to make clear eyes!  This time I used the definition paint brush as Julie recommended, then ran it through Topaz ADJUST — Mild Color Pop.  I then painted the eyes again with the definition paint brush.  Acutally I tried about dozen things… but I’m pretty that was the work flow on this one.

After fixing a deep facial shadow from the mask in Aperture, then a trip out to Photoshop to take care of the slight blur, I then came back to Aperture and ran it through Topaz Denoise, and then finally settled on “Portrait Smooth” in the Topaz Adjust package.

Would appreciate any comments / suggestions from people with experience with these packages. Continue reading »

Oct 292010

Halloween Cactus 723

ISO 80 f/8 1/125; 7.7mm; 6:38am in May 2010 (Canon  Powershot SD950 IS)

I took this in May and have been waiting until now to post it.  If I was really participating in the Alphabet challenge, this would be disqualified since we are suppose to take current pics each week.  But I’m making up my own rules.  Anyway, I got a kick out of how ghoulish this cactus look when I got down low and took the photo straight on.

Oct 192010

ISO 250; f/2.8; 1/20; 7.7mm (inside no flash) (Canon Powershot SD950 IS)

It’s hard to feel like its almost Halloween here with the heat & sunshine. Thus, when we ran up to Parker to do some shopping, I quickly found myself in the mood with the seasonal display of goods.