Me And The IPhone

Posted in Image Post with tags , , , , on May 19, 2013 by Art of Photography

I have been away from the blog for some time now. As explained earlier, I am back in college once again. It is also springtime here (lots to prep & clean). Additionally, rather than working in my traditional media, I have been spending time (way too much of it) with the iPhone 5 camera. I have found that while the camera is your basic phone camera, there are some interesting apps that seem to add value.

Here then are a few samples:

1. One of the first thoughts with an iPhone is ‘Selfies’ (taking pictures of yourself)




2. Also your immediate surroundings

Indoor Light

Camera plus


3. The nice thing about it is how you carry it with you everywhere

Always with you



4. Then there are the Instagram effects

Light Leaks



5. You can use it to document in a more visual way

(La Crosse Wisconsin writes in its sidewalks)

(Its bridge looks like a Batman symbol)
Bat Bridge

(Art has been integrated into the city)


6. I have learned that the front facing camera is also good for candids shot “over your shoulder”

Forward Facing


7. Using the upgraded camera app (Camera Plus) gives you some pretty good art filters

Color 50s

(I can’t decide which treatment I like better)

Color less 50s


8. Even the mundane can be rendered interestingly




9. Well I guess that is about it. Sorry I didn’t make this a ‘top ten things about’ story, but hopefully you found some of the images justified your time on this site. As always, don’t forget to click the images for the larger size.

The WebP Image Format

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , , , , , on April 25, 2013 by Art of Photography

Did you know there is a new image format in the digital world? Google released *.webp in November of last year as a way to store images in a smaller file size. While the format is more efficient than JPEG (25% to 34% smaller), it has the same abilities as PNG and GIF (Lossless & lossy compression, alpha channels, and animation support). So far this new format is only intended for the web. It is supported (meaning you can see pictures formatted this way) in Chrome and Opera. Facebook recently switched to this format which caused some users concern for images that suddenly didn’t render (looks like they have switched back).

Can you see this (a webP formatted image)?

Google provides a plug in for Internet Explorer, and Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) via their Frame plug-in. They also offer a WebP converter (free download) for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Other software that can convert these files includes Picasa, Pixelmator, ImageMagick, Konvertor, ReaConverter, XnView, and of course my favorite, IrfanView! There are also free plug-ins for Photoshop and GIMP too (if history is any example, expect Photoshop to soon have a Camera Raw update for this).

It will take time but I think this format is going to catch on. Google does not restrict its use and it will make web pages load much faster (think phones). In the example above (that you may or may not see) the original jpg version was 443 KB jpg while the webp version in the link is only 213 KB.

Photography Photoshoppers

Posted in Photoshop Tutorial with tags , , , on April 7, 2013 by Art of Photography

This is for the photographers who post process their compositions in Photoshop (or possibly Lightroom).

When you are processing your photographs, you want to avoid clipping shadows and highlights. Clipped shadows (a completely black area) or a blown-out highlights (areas of solid white) means portions of your image have lost their detail. The usual precaution against this is to use the histogram tool. However histograms cannot show you where in the image the clipping has occurred. You’ll see indications at either end (left for shadows, right for highlights) but there are no indications of midtones issues. The middle of a histogram can take any shape depending on the content of an image and isn’t much help with actual evaluation. Fortunately, Photoshop has come up with better tools that address these shortcomings.

Clipping Preview Before

The one I want to discuss today is the easiest one to use, the Clipping Preview. It is, in effect, a histogram overlaid on your image and not just a graph.
To see the clipping preview, Alt/Option-drag the black (shadows) or white (highlights) slider at the bottom of a Curves or Levels adjustment layer or panel. In Camera Raw and Lightroom it is the same thing but with the tone sliders. Highlight is a solid white image while shadows is solid black. Where you see Indicator colors is where clipping is occurring. Not all clipping needs to be addressed, but you do need to evaluate the loss of detail and decide if it should be returned. The color keys are the same as in the histogram’s window, the colors shown are channels or mixes of channels. All black in the highlight or all white in the shadow is all channels clipped.

Clipping Preview After

That’s it for today but remember, if processing for printer output, make sure your are in CMYK mode and your last processing step should be soft proof ( view > proof colors or Ctrl/Cmd Y). My personal workflow is to run Gamut Warning first, then Soft Proof to evaluate the actual clipping (not all out of gamut needs to be compensated for).

Photoshopping – Adding Text Banner

Posted in Image Post, Photoshop Tutorial with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2013 by Art of Photography


Requires Photoshop knowledge of Grouping and Layer Styles Dialog Box

How To:
1. Open the image of your choosing
2. Add a new blank layer above it
  a. Fill with White
  b. Set Opacity to 70% (to start)
3. Type in your text
  a. I used a specialty font. Start with Century Gothic (Bold)
  b. Font color = Black
  c. Set font size what you want. Resize as appropriate
4. Group the Text layer and the White layer
5. Text Layer – Layer Style >> Advanced Blending (Blending Options)
  a. Knockout: Shallow
  b. Fill Opacity = 0%
6. Free Transform White layer to make it a band across the image
  a. Text should be centered (Layer >> Align)
7. Play with resizing background, banner, and text. Wide images look best with this
8. Re-adjust opacity of white layer to taste. Try a drop shadow for the text layer.

I realize this is short, sweet, and to the point, but in figuring out some of these you might learn a few new things about Photoshop. It should be a fun journey anyway.


About Art in Photography – Color

Posted in Image Post, Photoshop Tutorial with tags , , , on March 29, 2013 by Art of Photography

About Color
Whether dressing yourself, evaluating a setting and model, or color adjusting an image, knowing some of the basics about color will really make the difference between okay and WOW. While this can be a very complicated discussion, there are some simple basics that just seem to work.

The basic color wheel is twelve (12) colors
Red, red-orange, Orange, orange-yellow, Yellow, yellow-green (lime), Green, blue-green (Cyan), Blue, blue-purple (violet), Purple, purple-red (magenta). Red is in the 12 o’clock position, Green is at the 6 o’clock.

A palette is all the colors you are using in your image (Comes from the days of painters holding a wood plate with all their various colored paints on it).

The best color to make another color stand out is its compliment (the color opposite on the color wheel). If featuring Orange, use blue colors around it. A variation of this is split compliments where the color on either side of the opposite color is used instead. (Opposite of Red is Green so green-yellow and cyan would be used with the red color in this palette).

Black & White pictures are actually various shades of grey. You can do the same thing with color by using four colors that are next to each other in the wheel (Red, red-orange, Orange, mustard) – this is called an Analogous Color palette.

A pure color is a hue. Add white to it (lighten it up) is Tinting. Adding grey to it is toning. Darkening it (adding black) is Shading. Apply the same rules to Tint/Tone/Shade that you apply to Hue (compliment, split-compliment, analogous). Green and Yellow colors go together okay but green and light yellow can look better and dark green (hunter green) and dark yellow (gold) can really pop (ask the Packers).

We do not see with our eyes. We have cones and rods in our eyes that send signals to a part of our brain that filters them into a single signal. That signal is then processed further by our cognitive process. Colors around a color, the content of the scene, emotional experiences all affect how we see, and more importantly, react to a color (White is traditional mourning colors in the Middle East, brides dress in black). In fact, be careful about supposed psychology attributes of colors. How a color is used, where it is used, the subject matter, tinting/toning/shading, where the person is when they see it, the type of frame (or display screen), size of the image, ambient lighting, on and on, can create very different feelings in the viewer about your color.

Is this it? Not hardly. There are palettes made up of double split compliments, triad combination, and there have been uses that completely break the model. Colors on a computer screen are additive while colors printed are subtractive. That is why when designing for computers you use the RGB model but for printing you use CMYK. In fact, you can spend many (many) days researching the various aspects of color. But I find if you adopt a few simple palettes and work the tint/tone/shades this becomes a relatively simple process.


B.T.W. – Where is brown? It is a heavily toned (lightly shaded?) yellow! A brown frame with dark green matting is one of my favorite combinations (you should now understand why)!

Water Ripple Effect

Posted in Image Post, Photoshop Composition with tags , , on March 28, 2013 by Art of Photography

Tonight’s efforts were to create a water effect template. It is not a true template in that you cannot just add any picture, but it does guide the creation process and significantly reduces the time it takes to make an image like this…


Have fun this day!


Another Reflection

Posted in Image Post with tags , , on March 24, 2013 by Art of Photography

Done for CupcakesAndLullaby (tumblr)


It’s About The Displaying

Posted in Editorial, Photoshop Composition with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2013 by Art of Photography

Here is a picture of Marilyn Monroe. She certainly was a beauty.
My efforts here this morning were not about her picture but how to display it.
(Click the image, thumbnails hid a lot of important detail)
Not saying this is the best way, just experimenting.
I think this would work if there were several pictures to display.
I’ll work on that next.

ScotchTape & Marilyn

What Is Good Art

Posted in Editorial, Photoshop Composition with tags , , , , on March 23, 2013 by Art of Photography

This is possibly the most complicated Photoshop composition I have done to date. It contains over 25 layers and used approximately 100 Photoshop tools.


I like the finished product a lot. But that is not too surprising as one of my interests is Typeface. However, for some, this is dumb. For others, this is okay but not worth more than a one or two second glance (time to click the mouse). Some will see this as pretentious and others genius. Some will have reactions I cannot imagine.

So, with all these views, which one(s) are the right ones? Is this good art, average at best, or was it all just a supreme waste of time?

I discovered art later in life which tends to make me more reflective of the gestalt in artistry. One aspect noticeable from this out-of-flow observing is that when artists get together they do an odd thing that most groups don’t. They criticise each others work, something most would consider anywhere from rude to hostile.

The reason for this lies in all those “views.” Praise, while nice, seldom contains information useful to an artist. Of value are conversations that say if you like a thing, why. If you don’t, why. The more specific, the better. Statements like that are not taken as judgmental. Nor do they often lead to reactive changes. The piece under discussion will not be changed nor is it likely that the next creation will be profoundly different (although sometimes…). Yet, it is understanding “what works and what doesn’t” that is the measure of skill used internally by the artist.

Someone once said that an image of mine could make me famous. I don’t think artists show their work for that reason (I know I don’t). The works that get displayed are already pleasing to the artist (or else they would not be considered finished). You share your best works with the people you like and maybe your peers. But general public displays have to be about the feedback and resulting knowledge that such events bring. An artist will engage in many conversations about displayed pieces. Going in, the artist already knows some are going to like it and some won’t (some will be unimpressed and not talk at all and are liked least for it). However, the balance of the overall resulting reactions is going to provide a better understanding of human (and societal) standards. I like to think that just as the artist learns from going through this, so do we all.

It might be fair to say that no artist has ever produced a bad work of art. Those that didn’t have mass appeal were still loved by a few.

Enjoy your weekend.

Spring in Wisconsin (1″ to 3″ of it)

Posted in Image Post with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2013 by Art of Photography

Just sharing a picture today…


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