One Photo Focus – April 2016

After-Before Friday is an event which allows photographers to share their processed images, and, if they choose, their post-processing steps. On the first Friday of the month, all participants have the opportunity to edit the same photo in the “One Photo Focus” challenge.

My computer had a bit of a moment while processing this image – as hard as it tried, my multi-tasking eventually got the better of it. As I was about to save my edit in Photoshop, it froze.  I lost hours of careful editing, but managed to take a screenshot before everything closed down; so, in the end, disaster averted!  The screenshot managed to retain enough information for me to complete my edit.

Immediately when I saw the image I knew I wanted to create a wintry scene; snow, fog, the works.  I found this tutorial on YouTube which basically dictated my Photoshop workflow.

April 2016 One Photo Focus-1-2.jpg

Close, but not quite yet what I was aiming for.  So, I opened it up in Analog Efex Pro 2 (did you know that Google’s entire Nik collection can now be downloaded for free?!).  I’ve never used any of the Nik software before, so a fair amount of experimentation ensued.  In the end, I added light leaks, a scratched texture, a bit of bokeh and a white vignette which amplified the overall aged effect.

Once again, the before vs the after:

I hope you enjoyed my edit!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the end result. Images from other contributors can be seen here.




Project 365: Week 26

Welcome to another week of my 365 project!  A few weeks ago, I adopted two Guinea Pig boys from SA Guinea Pig Rescue & Rehome.  Since then, they have gradually grown bolder and more confident, until I finally decided it would be okay for me to photograph them.  I spent the latter half of the week experimenting with different ways of portraying their quirky personalities.

21 June

21 June

Chequered  – I have to confess that this image was a bit of a cheat; I took the self-portrait at the end of May, and then simply took a photo of the bottom of our pool.  The real work was done in Photoshop, using the Photoshop action I bought.

22 June

22 June

Faerie tales and pixie dust – I shot this with backlight, against a dark background.  To create the ‘pixie dust’, I simply sprinkled dust over the book while the flash went off.  I later pulled up the black tones in the Tone Curve in Lightroom, to create a slightly vintage feel.

23 June

23 June

Venosus – I have taken so many photos of backlit leaves, but whenever I am slightly stumped as to what to photograph next, I return to the subject; they are my muse.  I loved the interesting composition that this large leaf, and its stem, provided; lines to draw the eye, and then a slight cocooning of the stem.

24 June

24 June

Spike – This is Spike ( so named for his mohawk). I lit the image from camera-left, and bounced the flash off the ceiling; thereby lighting the entire image but retaining highlights of his whiskers and nose.  Though I think Spike normally looks great in colour (he is tri-coloured), I preferred this image in monochrome.

25 June

25 June

Rusty – This is Rusty (so named for his rust-coloured hair).  Half-way into the shoot, I decided that he looks better with very soft lighting, and so all of the light was bounced off the ceiling.

26 June

26 June

Nose-first – Though I think both of my boys are equally gorgeous, there is no doubt that Spike is more photogenic, and more ready to perform for the camera (especially if there is a promise of an edible reward!).  In order to get the distortion-effect, I used my +10 macro filter, and set my lens to its widest focal length (18mm).  All of the flash was bounced off the ceiling.

27 June

27 June

The magician’s protégé – Though I had my doubts about whether he would pull it off, Spike was very eager to sit in an old hat of mine, as long as I kept the treats coming.  I positioned a blue tablecloth underneath the hat, and sprinkled decorate stars on top of it.  I felt the scene needed another hint of colour, preferably one which would complement both the theme and the background, and so I placed a little red scarf inside the hat.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my images. Have a good week!

Wildlife 101: Shooting Creatively

Wildlife photographs can easily become very ordinary.  Here are some of my favourite ways to make your shots different from everyone else’s:

Quite simply, put them in black and white:

As with most black and white photography, look for pattern, texture, repetition, and even emotion in the scene. I always prefer to turn my photos into black and white in post processing – it leaves you with many more options as to how you would like the end product to look.  Perhaps it would look better in sepia? Or maybe you want to increase the amount of green in the photo?  I find Picasa works well for a simple, quick edit, or else I use Photoshop Elements.

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Add a message behind your photo:

IMG_8353 copySometimes you want your photos to do more than just look pretty; you want them to actually say something about the world we live in.  While these shots may not be all sunshine and daisies, I find their authenticity very appealing.  One way of taking this kind of shot is by including the enclosure fence at a zoo, thereby evoking feelings of entrapment, abandonment, and loneliness.  I find turning the photo into black and white afterwards can accentuate these emotions.

Zoom in and make your photo an abstract:

This is my favourite way to photograph wildlife; choose your centre of interest (COI), zoom in very closely, and simplify the shot.  Your COI can be anything that catches your eye – perhaps the animal has interesting feet, or particularly long eyelashes, or a beautifully patterned coat.  Use your imagination, and think about the end result before you press the shutter.

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Frame the subject:

This always makes the photograph more interesting.  Frames can be anything, from burrows (as in my photo) to the car window.


Catch-up on the previous posts this month: