This image was a bit of a project to create. I stood on the South Pointe Pier facing Key Biscayne in South Beach. I took three pictures, each focused on a different point. The first was the railing, the next was the jetty and finally Key Biscayne off in the distance.
I combined the images into a composite using a technique known as focus stacking. After that, I kept working on it until ending up with an abstract rendering that is neither real or imagined; it’s somewhere in-between.
I could say something smart about layers, like how they are metaphors for something, but not today. The result is the product of a study in technique and abstraction. I had an idea when I took the shots, and I practiced various methods to get the image I wanted. Perhaps that’s the best way to describe it.
Daylight savings is upon us and somehow this seemed appropriate. It’s a combination of images taken at different times of day. By carefully merging them I’ve created a surreal scene that combines a daylight image with another one at night. It’s a little like the confusion I experience on a Monday after we change the clocks, eh?
If you detected a slight Canadian accent it’s because I took this while in Toronto. I took one shot out the hotel window when I arrived in in the afternoon and another in the evening. In the past I’ve done similar images using a tripod, but in this case I handheld the camera each time. That creates slight variations which could have been difficult to align, but with a little effort it turned out okay.
Even when I travel for reasons other than photography I bring my camera. This was a quick business trip with very little time for photos, yet I still managed to get a few shots from around the hotel. Hope springs eternal and I figure that if I bring the camera and I have an extra hour in the day (knock on wood), I’ll get a little time for doing what I like best: eh?
I took this while walking around in the rain in the middle of summer. Even though it was raining it was warm and humid, not unlike Florida. However unlike Florida the energy of the city was entirely unique to me. I was very happy to be here, especially in the rain, because of the atmosphere it created.
For each image this week I’ve used Topaz to render part of the scene in an impressionistic style. In this scene all but the central subject has been “painted” by the software while I blended in the original image of the lady with the umbrella.
Having the ability to blend photos opens up choices in terms of artistic expression. I combine renderings of the software with realistic aspects of a photo. Then I work with color, saturation, contrast and shadows so I can re-create a scene more from my mind than actual event. In some cases that suits my preferences as it relates to photography.
This is an artistic rendering of the Agbar Tower in Barcelona. A few days ago I posted a section of the tower at night. The tower is so fantastic to look at that I couldn’t help but take a bunch of photos. Also, I was staying at the hotel right next door.
I worked a long time on this in post-production. First of all it’s a vertorama of three stacked images. I was standing about block away yet it was too big to fit in the frame with my 35mm lens. Later I rendered the sky in Topaz and masked in the tower and the people. That’s a quick description of a long but enjoyable process I used to get to the final image.
Speaking of final images, I worked so long on this it feels incomplete. Whenever I perform any kind of detailed work I have a tendency to want to keep fiddling with it. That also applies to other areas, not just photography.
Here is another scene that I rendered with Topaz Impression. It’s a photo I took of a random canal in Venice and later blended with an impressionistic rendering from Topaz. I’m experimenting with this technique and I am intrigued by the possibilities it presents.
When you visit Venice one of the first things you’ll notice are the artists everywhere. It’s easy to understand because of the abundance of inspiration. If I was a painter I could see myself on a random bridge of a canal painting a similar scene. As a photographer / technologist I use software to get the effect of a painting to create an impression of the place, which is sometimes more satisfying than documentation.
The way software and computers are going we will one day simply look through glasses and have any scene rendered the way we want to see it in real-time. It will be a form of advanced augmented reality and it’s probably not too far off. That, and who knows what else.
This was the night scene in Lepetane Montenegro as we passed by on a ship. We were leaving the port at Kotor and passing through a narrow channel lined with houses on each side. We could see people sitting on their balconies watching as our ship passed by on a warm summer evening.
To me the scene was like a painting; so I decided to process the photo with that idea in mind. I used Topaz Studio to create an impressionistic rendering and then blend it with the original photo. While the image now looks like a painting, in some places it’s more realistic. It plays a little trick so we are not sure which it is, however it’s a little of each.
It’s amazing that software can “paint” a scene from a photo. But course its called digital rendering and not painting. Yet the software can be configured to use all manner of brush strokes, paint volume and even mimic styles of the masters. This is a case where computers are approximating art; which for me is amazing.
The image represents an impression of a small coastal village at night, which for me is how I remember it. In my mind this type of rendering creates a feeling of the place that is easier to recall than with the unaltered realism of a plain photo. Stay tuned, I’ll be experimenting more with this amazing technique in the coming days and weeks.
This image is for me a study in the transformation of a scene. The photo was taken in daylight inside the old walls of Aigues-Mortes, southern France. However the photo appears to be in the evening. It’s an example of what I imagined verses what I saw.
Street signs, power lines and crowds were all removed. I worked on the tones and the light. I added the illumination of the lamps and a sunset through the portal. Finally I added shadows and some subtle shades. In reality there is very little reality in the image.
But is there reality in a novel, movie or painting? They’re all renderings of an artist. Sometimes I tire of reality and prefer the world of imagination. I am a practical guy so these explorations are a departure from the routine of daily life.
I took this a couple years back on Sanibel Causeway, which connects the mainland to the small island of Sanibel. We have a lot of causeways and bridges in Florida because there are so many islands. When I first moved to Florida the unbelievable number of bridges was one of my first impressions.
Wherever there is a causeway you’ll find people standing at the waters edge with a fishing poll. In many ways this is a typical scene when driving around either coast.
The setting sun illuminated a large column behind the fisherman. I walked around and took a bunch of photos but within thirty minutes it had moved our way and we were covered in dark clouds. As I jumped in the car it started to rain and within a few minutes there was thunder, lighting and zero visibility. That’s a fairly common occurrence during the hot months.
Walking to the train one morning in Vancouver I noticed this cruise ship at dock. It arrived a few hours earlier and was preparing for another voyage to Alaska. A common site in the summer but nonetheless it looked awesome in the morning light so I took a few photos; this is what I saw in my mind. Let me explain…
I spent a lot of time on this photo to make it look like what you see here. The original photo didn’t look so pretty. It had a lot of distractions, including other boats and a parking lot in the lower right. So I manipulated it to make it look like what I thought I saw. What we perceive is usually different than what we see. In other words, we perceive what we want to see and have a tendency to screen the rest; so this image is now closer to what I thought I saw.
At the time I only noticed the boat, it stood out because it wasn’t there the day before. I also noticed the soft light of the morning sun reflecting on the side. I thought to myself that it was an awesome scene, but when I looked at the image later there were other things I didn’t remember seeing, like the parking lot for instance. Rather than get disappointed and throw it away, it became a challenge for me to see if I could replicate my initial impression.
To my way of thinking the practice of photography is an expression of art. If I just want to record an event I snap a photo with my phone. But “photography” can be more than that. That doesn’t mean it should always be manipulated, but it should tell a story. In this case I did indeed manipulate it so that I could convey the story what I perceived in my mind on that summer morning in Vancouver.
If you read this blog occasionally maybe you wonder why I write about images. It’s because it helps me to integrate with it on more than one level. After writing about an image it has it’s own story and it seems to take on a life of it’s own. Now when I go back to look at an image I remember it’s story.
This is St Petersburg Florida across Tampa Bay. At this time of year we get thunderstorms that clear in the evening around sunset. I took this right after the storms and about two minutes after at sun had set. The clouds are a peachy orange from the glow of that hour.
Most photographers post images without a word. Sometimes images are so strong they need no words. But, for whatever reason I take the time to write a story. It’s totally unnecessary but I do it anyway.
The urge to write is something I’ve had my whole life. My grandmother was a writer and maybe some of that rubbed off. Half the time I have no idea what I’ll write but it eventually takes shape. Once I write some thoughts I’ll revise, edit, and revise until it’s done; then the story and image are posted together.
Now having said all this about that, today’s images is created with post processing. I imagine the bay produces these reflections, but of course it does not. So to get the final result I took one part picture, one part imagination and a hand full of words and mixed them all together. This is what I ended up with.