Friday, July 01, 2016

Two must have accessories

I love my little HP Spectre, its light, its fast and it runs all my grown up photo processing software, Lightroom, Nik Software, Picasa, Aftershot pro and OnOne (I am having some problems with the last two, and I’m hoping for some fixes soon). The screen resolution is fine but the screen is small (12”). Not quiet bend over and squint but you do start to hunch over it. The pen is great but mostly the software isn’t touch screen enabled, or even touch screen friendly, they really demand a keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is easy, it just snaps on and works but a USB mouse was a little more cumbersome, then I figured I’d try a blue tooth mouse, mine is the Logitech budget model M337. Wow is itwo must have accessoriest good but best of all no cables or dongles to plug it. If you want to amaze your friends it even works in tablet mode. The distance you can use it is also outstanding I had no trouble controlling a Chromecast from a different room to the computer.


The next part of the equation was a bigger screen no problem I already had a Chromecast dongle on my big screen TV. This works ok up to a point, you have to have wifi and internet access and the full screen cast (it does warn you it is in beta) does occasionally hang and I have to do my big screen editing from the couch. However what drove me crazy was the delay, if you move the mouse the resulting action was broadcast a little latter, it seemed like many seconds and may only have been a fraction of a second BUT it soon does your brain in if you are concentrating on small adjustments. A bit of on-line investigation showed a few people talking about using a HDMI cable to give a second monitor. Fortunately the USB-C interface allows connection to several other standards and HP produce a not overly expense connector. Apple do too but at over twice the price. This was a double WOW WOW. When connected to my 32” LG VT/Monitor (currently on my desktop computer) I can sit back and contemplate my photos gloriously large. Also unlike Chromecast I can easily set up the large screen as a second monitor for software that can handle it (eg lightroom).  #181_IGP6978 2 new friends

If you want to get the most out of and make you photo software easy to use on a HP Spectre, Microsoft Surface or similar 2 in 1 computers these are two accessories you definitely must have.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

PhotoProject :: Studio Sunset in HDR

 Studio Sunset

I took some time out from shifting and reorganizing stuff in my studio to take a few photos of the sunset in HDR, all based on three 1EV Bracket steps (-1EV,0EV,+1EV) and using HDR merge in Aftershot Pro.

_IGP6869_70_71_Detail copy  _IGP6856_7_8_Detai vl copy

_IGP6872_3_4_Detail copy copy

Friday, June 24, 2016

Artinspired :: from Photo into Mark Making

_IGP6426 Original PhotoI am very inspired by the works of Fred Williams, at the obvious level they are very abstract, yet at the same time they capture both the colours and textures of the Australian Bush. more particularly the bush around here. That's not surprising as Fred used to regularly spend one a day a week in the bush painting and sketching what he saw. Today I am beginning with a “non-bending marco” taken of the truck of a gum tree in jells park. A couple of limbs have “dropped’ and left large gashes where the gum is leaking out. Parts of the bare truck can be seen as well as the corky rough bark normally around the base of the tree. Its a pretty ordinary subject to photograph.

Fred’s work often has two levels a rich colour ground, and then an almost calligraphic decoration of texture, squiggles and lines that are a kind of shorthand to describe the terrain, the trees and other aspects of the landscape. So I have decided to create two separate dreamcope images. One that captures the colours in a rough fashion. I tried a few filets including a couple of my own and ended up using two stacked filters, one after the other. First a watercolour then a sketch filter. There are not conventional parametric filters that adjust a given slider like exposure of saturation. The deep dream process takes the image and builds a neural network like matrix and iterate through looking for parts of the image that have the same characteristics as the filer. In this case I was looking to enhance the colours, and colour harmony (ie not just pumping up vibrance of saturations) Then I created a separate layer that focuses on the lines and textures, for this I used the money filter, which I have used before and it definitely searches out the strong design elements, shapes and textures.

coloured background Line work

The final step is to combine them, and I must admit I liked the way you could still see the three layers, fully exposed in different parts of the image on my previous art inspired piece, the autumn leaves on the ground. In this case I used OnOne 10 layers again but used soft light blend mode for all layers, to let each layer bleed through but I also used simple gradational filter to start with the original photo at the top that fades into the strong line work and with the background coming through and dominating the bottom.

Gum Bark Texture II

Reality transforms to abstract.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Against the wind



Photography doesn’t have to be just a fair weather persuit. As long as it safe to do so, rug up and go out and enjoy the atmosphere, keep you camera and gear dry . Then look for that moment that conveys the place and time (and cold!)

Friday, June 17, 2016

ArtInspired :: The Banksia in the rain

Still thinking of the process used by artist to create an image versus how a photographer might capture that image. It has been a overcast and drizzly day but I managed to get a photograph of a banksia cone in flower. A almost good photo in itself and I had run a bracketed set (handheld) but it was windy so it was hard to merge and properly register. Rather than commit them to the reject bin it was a worthwhile starting point to reconstruct an image in the manner an artist might.

I’m just using my HP Spectre Tablet in tablet mode so I started with the original image and used the Polarr app to add a little contrast, contrast and strength to the red (both luminance and saturation, but not two much). I might have normally preformed this in lightroom and/or OneOne but they are not as touch screen aware as Polarr, which is a pretty neat photo edit app with really intuitive and easy to use basic tools that can easily be used by hand in tablet mode. An artist might start with the background and the overall colour, so I switched to Corel painter essentials and first set up what they call smart blur (which help highlight the strong compositional elements) and also refined the colour palette (I just wanted to enhance the two colours red and green, classic complimentary colours so I pulled back the saturation of any other colours). I use painter essential to do a very quick starter clone painting of the background. Unfortunately this smeared out the red so I use a soft clone brush to bring out sharper edge  of the Banksia flower (this helped later registration of the images). Next I re-ran the HDR merge using Aftershot Pro, with particular focus on getting best registration on the banksia. However the droplets of water where no longer perfect.

_IGP6049 original photo enhanced in Polarr prelim clone painting in Corel Painter HDR created with After Shot pro

I now had three separate and subtly different images and used OnOne 10.5 layers to blend them together.  The background from the clone painting, the foliage and water droplets on the upper stamens from the original photo and the flower itself a combination (a soft blend mode) of the original photo and HDR image (mainly to enhance the colour).  With a Brush Border from OnOne Enhance

Between Painting & Reality

I’m not sure how to refer to this style of image. Is it digital art, a faked photo (aka photoshopped which of course it isn’t) or photomontage or something different (and new)?

“We called it photomontage because it reflected our aversion to claiming to be artists”  …Hannah Höch

Thursday, June 16, 2016

More Patches on my flickr Explore scout badge


1. P5233079, 2. 27-mar_04, 3. Always look on the bright side..., 4. waiting for the comet, 5. _IGP2361_2_3_norfolk_gaol_gate, 6. #106_IGP4642-Australia Rock II, 7. Autostitch panorama sunset II, 8. #167 Autumn Leaves

Flickr actually don’t choose the photos to be included in Flickr Explore manually, they are based on a combination of flickrs interestingness algorthmn,  which does in part quanitify populaity, activity within the flickr community and trending tags. The result is an ever changing collection of very original, interesting and astounding images. Its an honour to be included occasionally.

Scout, by big , huge labs, is a nice little app that keeps track of any of your photos included in the explore stream and makes a small “badge” of those images of yours (or a given username) that have made it into explore.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ArtInspired :: Autumn Leaves HDR to Dreamscope

2016-06-15_16-11-03_HDR  Dreamscope "jewelled" Dreamscope "watercoloured"
I’ve been concentrating of the possibilities around taking macro photos out in the wilds. Its a bit more challenging than say photographing something like a toy or texture in a brick wall, because the patterns go on and on and blend into other patterns. Nature has a habit of packing lots of things into the available space, whereas mankind has the opposite habit of stripping out everything away and replacing it with very little ot single functionality,
Patterns Inspired by fallen autumn leaves
This began as a HDR Camera+ photo on my android phone, of the autumn leaves on a pathway. I like the texture. So I began with OnOne’s Dynamic Contrast and Fall Enhancer. to give me the image on the upper left. Then I tried two dreamscope filters “jewelled” and “watercoloured”. These use the methodology described by Google’s Deep Dream explanation of neural networks analysis photographic images. Finally I used OnOne’s layers capabilities to blend the three images together. Letting reality merge into art.