Archive for February 2011


Thursday, February 24, 2011 · Posted in , ,

Up until recently editing my photos has always been a scary process for me.  But since I have found some amazing online resources like Kim Klassen it has gotten a lot easier.  One thing that I have learned is that texture can be used to make the most ordinary and boring photos much more interesting.  This photo is one case in point. 

Here is the original...

And here is the edited image...

Here is the recipe for the edited image:
Edited in Photoshop Elements 9
First I cropped the photo and then used the 
spot healing tool to remove the remaining vehicle on the 
right side,  then I added warming filter 85.
I then applied three layers of Kim Klassen's light paper
texture, the first layer in soft light at 100%, the second
layer in multiply at 52% and the third layer in color burn
at 17%.

I think it made for a much warmer and more interesting photo.


Do Not Go Softly Into The Dark Night

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 · Posted in ,

It has been very cold here, with the windchill we are supposed to get down to -27C overnight and stay that way all day tomorrow.  Normally this time of year we have daytime highs around 3C so it makes me a little less inspired to get out there with my camera.  So tonight I chose a photo from the last full moon.  There was just enough cloud cover to give the moon a soft ethereal feeling behind the trees. 

Alcatraz Island

Monday, February 21, 2011 · Posted in ,


While going through some of my old San Fransisco shots last week for my blog post I came across a bunch of photos of Alcatraz that I took from the tour boat.  Again they weren't very clear shots due to the distance and limitation of my camera but I thought they had potential so I added some texture to the photos to make them a little more interesting.  Do you think it worked?

Adobe Elements 9

Sunday, February 20, 2011 · Posted in , ,

Here is another post about economical photography.  It is my opinion that photo editing software can be very expensive and really very difficult to learn.  Yes, if you are willing to spend a lot of time on google you can find tutorials but I find that quite time consuming.  I also found I was overwhelmed by all the different programs out there and do I really only need one, do I need them all and what is the difference between them.  Truthfully I haven't answered that question yet.  But for anyone interested in editing and improving their photos or even just adding text, texture or other interesting elements to their photos I have a recommendation.

I have been taking Kim Klassen's Skinny Mini e-course on Photoshop Elements 9, she offers this 10 day course for free and I have to say it has been a great experience.   You can actually download a trial version of Elements 9 and use it for 30 days for free, this will give you lots of time to determine if you want to invest in the program and the nice thing about elements is it is only around $100 to purchase which is quite a bit less than Photoshop CS or Lightroom.  You can check out Kim's e-course and elements without spending a dime and see if it is the right program for you.

The e-course is running right now and registration is closed but she will be running another one soon so watch her website.  She also offers a follow up course that digs way deeper for $79.

Here is a sample of what I have learned in the last week.  Below are three before and after photos, none of these shots are exceptional and even after editing they are not great shots but I think they offer a good example of what someone who didn't have a clue a week ago is able to edit their photos to improve the quality of them.  

I have an issue sometimes in the winter with finding shots I am actually interested in taking.  The lack of color bores me so when I found these purple bushes I thought they would make a great shot.  Which I think on their own they did.  But by adding a layer in Elements and then selecting the soft light blending mode I was able to make the color pop a little more.

 In the first image the black horse appears to be one solid color, other than the tip of his nose you really can't see any detail at all.  For this photo I added a layer and then using levels I toned down the black in the photo.  This took out all of the detail in the snow so with another adjustment layer I used the brush to brush away the level adjustment on everything but the black horse to bring the detail back to everything else. 

With this photo I was playing around with a new lens that I am having difficulty with.  The first photo isn't even usable as it is because it is just way to dark.  I don't really like the finished photo either but I used this because it shows how dramatically I can change the photo.  Again I added a layer and then used levels to tone down the black in the photo and to bring out the colors in the flowers.  I then used the adjustment layer to remove some of the additional color from the stems of the flowers because they were way to bright.

I am sure someone with more photoshop experience could have done even more with these photos but keep in mind I have only been working with this program for a little over a week. 


Saturday, February 19, 2011 · Posted in ,

One thing I have learned is that photography can be an expensive hobby.  Good lenses can be a fortune and photo editing software, printers and scanners can all add up really fast.  So today I thought I would do a post about economy photography and editing. 

These photos were all taken on our honeymoon two and a half years ago in San Francisco.  I didn't have a great camera, I have upgraded twice since these were taken, so a lot of these shots are a bit grainy.  I also hadn't spend much time taking working on my photography, I was basically just taking photos for memory sake so my composition isn't great on a lot of these shots.  Although perhaps I should mention that a lot of them were taken from the top of a double decker moving bus which didn't help either. 

I edited these photos using Picnik which is an amazing online photo editing program that you can access for only $25 a year.  It allows you to create all sorts of special effects and offers a variety of photo correction options as well.  So basically with a simple digital camera and this inexpensive little program you can still do amazing things with your photos.  Here are a few samples. 

This is one of my photos that wasn't very crisp.  I uploaded it to Picnik and used the Pencil Sketch option to give it this effect.  I have actually used this on other photos and then printed them out and painted them with watercolors.

The composition of this photo was not good, this was definitely taken from the moving bus.  I used Picnik to crop the photo and then added the Lomo-ish effect to the photo to give it more visual interest.

I like the composition of this photo but the colors were not what I would like so I added texture to the photo to give it additional visual interest and make the dull colors look a little more intentional.

This is another moving bus photo, this building was magnificent in real life but my photo hardly does it justice.  I used Picnik to rotate the picture to straighten the building out and then cropped out some undesirable tourist heads and then added the texture.  I think it makes the image far more interesting. 

Random Shots

Thursday, February 17, 2011 · Posted in , ,

These are a few random shots I took over the last week as I went about my life, it is amazing what you can find to photograph if you just keep your eyes open.  I came out of the art supply store the other day and noticed the little old tractor sitting in the corner of the parking lot.  They are using it to plow the winter snow.  It was old and decrepit but somehow it appealed to me.  When I finished taking a few shots I turned around to walk back to my car and saw the two little birds having a wonderful bath in the puddle on top of the dumpster.  I know that I could have made the color of the birds brighter with Lightroom but since I won't have access to it again until the end of the month I can't right now and I thought they were too cute just as they are not to share. 

Heritage Murals of Downtown Vernon

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 · Posted in ,

Downtown Vernon boast one of the largest outdoor public art galleries in Canada.  Twenty-five amazing murals, some as large as 300 feet long and 40 feet high, depict the history, culture, scenery and folklore of Vernon.  They are on a number of large civic buildings such as the post office, the side of the big box office supply store and some are even hidden in back alleys and are hard to find.

I could probably do three or four posts on these murals alone there are so many and I will likely do more in the future but yesterday I drove around town looking for some of the hidden gems, the ones on the sides of parking lots, hiding in the back alleys and even on the side of one of the local tattoo shops.  A lot of these photos are taken at quite an angle because they are in alley's and that is the only way I could get a large part of the mural in the photo. I didn't edit these pictures at all so they show piles of snow and cars parked next to them.  I wanted people to see them how we as residents see them as just part of the local scenery.  Although truth be told us locals get so used to seeing them we don't even notice them half the time.  It wasn't until I went looking for them yesterday that I actually noticed how many are out there and how beautifully they are done, of course the photos don't actually do them justic.


Afternoon Drive

Sunday, February 13, 2011 · Posted in ,

These are photos from an afternoon drive I took a week ago.  The lighting was perfect, there was a lot of blue sky but the sun was covered by a thin cloud layer making it a lot easier to get good lighting in my photos. 

I have edited all of these photos by adding texture and a couple other effects using Photoshop and Picnik.  I know the first shot has a little too much texture but I kind of like the way it turned out anyway.  I particularly like the last shot, for some reason I am drawn to shots taken on railways, maybe it is the linear lines I'm not sure but for some reason they seem to grab me.  This is actually the railway that services one of the local lumber mills. 

Balloon Fiesta

Friday, February 11, 2011 · Posted in ,

Every February here in town we have the Vernon Winter Carnival and accompanying that is the Balloon Fiesta.  I am not entirely sure what convinces these people to go up in these balloons in the middle of winter because it must be so cold up there but they do and I just happened to be driving with my camera beside me when they took off mid afternoon last Friday.  In case anyone is wondering yes, I did stop the car to take these photos.  The last photo wasn't edited in any way it just looks so much different than the others due to the sun being right behind the balloons.

Not quite what I expected

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 · Posted in , ,

These photos definitely did not turn out how I was hoping.  I had been trying out an OM Zuiko50mm macro legacy glass lens on my camera.  Basically these lenses were developed for the old Olympus OM film cameras but with an adapter can be used on the Olympus Evolt SLR cameras.  The only issue is that you have to shoot completely manual.  That is definitely a challenge for me.  When I looked at each of these shots in the display on my camera after taking them each one of them was in focus but when I downloaded them sadly the truth showed.

I was kind of drawn to the ethereal feeling of the photos so instead of just deleting the images I decided to try adding some film grain to them to see if I could make look like they were out of focus on purpose.  I used this really easy tutorial and altered the images.  I have to say I do kind of like the images that I ended up with, the soft, grainy look of them does appeal to me.  That I think is one of the wonders of photography, with all of today's technology we can make something of almost any photo.

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