Photography

Painterly Art Using Photoshop Elements

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

I’ve taken a few favorite photos over the years of flowers and nature and I wanted to display them around the house. I love the look of painterly prints so instead of just framing an enlarged version of the photograph, I experimented in Photoshop Elements, creating watercolor art with one of the tools… wait for it… the Watercolor Filter!

I took this photo of the beach in Bodega near our home on a favorite outing a few years ago, I always loved the light, the detail, the color, the memory! But I wanted to give it a more painterly quality before framing it.

surf

 

I first tried the Waterlogue app, it created a decent image but I wanted more control of the detail.

waterlogue surf

So I tried out the Watercolor Filter in Photoshop Elements and I liked that effect a little better. It produced a richer color and more detail I was looking for. If you’re a Photoshop wiz then you know this is a cool tool, if you’ve never played around in Photoshop before this is another fun way to give your photographs that watercolor effect and it’s very simple, use the dropdown Filter application and choose Artistic –> Watercolor.

watercolor filter

You’ll get a pop up window which allows you to alter the texture, shadow intensity, and brush detail, and it gave me this. I love it!

surf watercolor 1

 

I added a favorite Isak Dinesen quote, “The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears, or the sea.”

beach watercolor print

 

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Lemurs & Lenses

Monday, April 7th, 2014

What a great weekend we had! My mother-in-law and her husband came to visit so we took them to a place we’ve always wanted to see and only 30 minutes from our home called Safari West. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the Wine Country, this place is yet another reason to do so. Safari West is not a zoo, it’s a 400 acre preserve in the heart of Sonoma County that is home to several hundred animals and bird species native to Africa and South America, many of them endangered. Together with the kids and grandparents, we set out on a perfect spring day with sunny skies on a safari adventure! 

In anticipation of the visit, I rented a 18-200mm lens like I’ve done before to capture the animals in their habitats. It came with a hood and allowed me to zoom out to capture wide panoramas and zoom in to capture faces! 

lens rental

I love the idea of “try before you buy” so this was a great opportunity to take this versatile lens out for spin – I rent from Borrow Lenses and pick up at a local photography shop. This one is so great for vacationing outdoors when you take along your DSLR – the range of 18-200mm allows you to capture so much while on the go and without ever switching lenses.

The adventure begins on an all terrain vehicle (it felt a little like Jurassic Park) with an experienced guide and you ride all the way through the preserve up and down and into valleys where different animals live on a two hour tour. 

all terrain vehicles

 

guide in preserve

Some of the animals come up right next to the vehicle which is so cool but many of the animals are 20 to 100 feet away. Some habitats are enclosed (rhinos, cheetahs, monkeys) but many are not.

Antelopes and giraffes and zebras cross your path as you travel around, here’s a glimpse at a few of creatures captured on this beautiful preserve. There are hundreds of animals here, these are just a few favorite shots straight out of the camera using the borrowed lens.

lemur on branch

 

zebra in preserve

    

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