Posts Tagged ‘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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O Christmas Tree + Capturing Bokeh

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Our family spent the weekend doing all things holiday related, from selecting and decorating our tree to shopping for gifts to attending a production of The Nutcracker. Our little ones are still true believers in Santa so we’re constantly looking for little ways to keep the magic alive and even enlisting help from our two resident elves!

We spent some time decorating the “fancy tree” in the living room – the kids have their own smaller version in the study and we split the family ornaments between this one and the kids tree. After three years of flocked white trees, I was inspired to go au naturel and return to green Douglas Fir and its desirable scent, covering it in gold, silver, and white garland and ornaments.

christmas tree and piano

This year’s tree continues the metallics + touches of green palette that began with the mantel. I was inspired by this beautiful tree at BH&G so I purchased a dozen paper moravian stars online, then painted them white.

Golden leaves, snowflakes, shimmery golden ornaments, and a medley of family favorites are also present on our tree. We reused the same wine barrel from two years ago as a basin for a rustic touch.

christmas tree decorations

christmas tree centsational girl

   

As nice as it is to see a Christmas tree in focus, we all love those beautiful bokeh shots too! I took a series of images over the course of the day and created a combination of images, turning it into a time lapse .gif – if you have a tripod, it’s easy to do, simply position your camera in one place, then take snapshots as the decorating progresses. (Photoscape has an easy .gif maker if you have a PC.)

christmas tree

 

You’ll notice there are a series of bokeh shots included. If you want to capture a bokeh shot of your Christmas tree or any holiday twinkle lights it’s a simple three step process.

First, you do need to know how to shoot in manual. To learn how, I recommend classes from Shoot Fly Shoot. Second, use a lens with a low numerical f-stop/aperture capability. I’ve mentioned my 50mm 1.8 specifically for bokeh, but for this tree shot I used this 35mm 2.0 which worked just as well.

Set your aperture at a low numerical setting (anywhere from f/1.4 to f/2.8) for shallow depth of field, then set your shutter speed and ISO so you have ample light entering the lens. The third step is to fool your camera and force it to focus on something in the forefront instead of focusing on the tree in the background.

Hold an object a few feet in front of the camera and focus the camera’s focal point on the object. Matt is demonstrating here, he’s holding up a metal bottle cap in front of the camera about 3 feet in front of the lens. Once I focused on the metal cap, he dropped his hand and I snapped the image. You’ll get larger bokeh orbs by focusing on an object closer to the lens, and smaller bokeh orbs by focusing on an object farther away from the lens. I encourage you to play with the process, it’s fun!

set up for bokeh shot

It’s that shallow depth of field and a focus on the object in the foreground that allows you to capture a tree with bokeh twinkle lights beyond.

twinkle light bokeh

That’s the simple way I capture those pretty little twinkle light orbs from a tree!

 

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