GLADIOLI AT THE MINI-FLORIST – Marilyn Armstrong

Gladioli by the bunch – 9-9-19

I took the camera to the florist today, something I haven’t done in a really long time. I discovered they actually sell orchids now and I hinted VERY broadly that I would really, really, REALLY like to have one.

So for today’s Flowers du jour, it’s gladioli. The first bunch are “normal” processing and the second is a more graphic presentation. Otherwise, there was not a hint of fall to be seen. Not even the yellow leaves on the aspen trees. Everything is as green as it was in the middle of July.

First gladioli
Graphic gladioli

DINGY – NOT ALWAYS WHAT YOU EXPECT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Dingy


I thought I knew this word. It could be a little boat, often a little boat that lives on a bigger boat and is used to back and forth from the shoreline. It can also mean a little bit drab, or perhaps not entirely clean. It also can mean a sort of grubby off-blond hair color … or a faded hair color.

What I did not know is that it’s also a photographic term, meaning grainy and maybe a bit dark. Not shiny, maybe a bit fuzzy.

It is in the same category as grunge or grungy  — which is sort of like a softened version of HDR, but grainier and not as sharp. Also, things that are described as “chalky” frequently are also dingy.

It isn’t the same as “softened” because soft means taking the edge off the picture. Used a lot in photographs, especially of older people who don’t want to see every wrinkle and skin discoloration.

So these two are both dingy pictures. They look a bit antique and the light is subtly striated. Who knew, right? Yet another definition for a term you won’t find in the dictionary.

COMPOSE YOURSELF 24 – BLACK & WHITE POST EDITING

Cee’s Compose Yourself Lesson: #24 Black and White: Post Editing


These are difficult for me to do because I don’t use the same process all the time or even most of the time. I don’t use Lightroom at all. I use a variety of filters by NIK and Topaz with Photoshop as the supporting application. How I transform photographs from color to black & white depends on the picture. There are a lot of ways to do it and they all give good results.

All of these pictures are new. It was the only way I thought I might actually remember what I did. It’s been a few hours and I’m beginning to forget. I’d better get to it!


72-original-serenity-curley-09222016_011

#1: Boats in their moorings

This is the original shot. In color, unprocessed and  uncropped, the two boats across the water are burned out.

Even so, I liked the angularity of the composition as well as the strong contrast between the water, sky, and boats. I also liked the reflection of the boats on the surface of the water.

I thought it might be interesting to translate the shot to black & white.

72-bw-serenity-curley-09222016_010

A lot of processing later, I found I could not recover the detail in the burned out boats, so I decided to go in a different direction. I used Topaz Adjust to increase contrast and generally correct the exposure settings. I ran it through Topaz Clean using the “Crisp Collection using the Crisp Edge Boost” setting. This reduced detail, making the picture more geometrical. Finally, I used NIK’s Silver Efex Pro in the “Underexposed” setting  to transform it to black & white. I brightened it a bit, added a green filter to darken the water, sky and subtly increase overall contrast.


# 2: The Crop

72-original-pot-mar-09182016_004

One of our neighbors is a farmer. He invited me to drop by and take a few pictures before harvest time. In color, the original (unedited, unprocessed) photograph is not very interesting. I thought going to monochrome might improve it.

I ran Topaz Adjust, adding contrast and detail. I tried desaturating it to black & white, but didn’t like the result. I applied Topaz Adjust then went to NIK Silver Efex Pro. I used the “017 Full Spectrum” filter in dark sepia with additional dark sepia toning and a rose filter.

72-bw-pot-mar-09182016_004


#3: The Clubhouse by Night

72-original-serenity-curley-09222016_130

This night shot of the marina clubhouse was almost monochrome anyway. I straightened it, used Topaz Adjust to sharpen, add detail, and desaturate it to monochrome. I then ran it through Topaz Clean “Cartoon Detailed” to make it a bit more “unearthly.” An easy conversion.

72-bw-clubhouse-night-curley-09222016_130


#4: Leaves on the Deck

I liked this one in color, but wondered what I could do with it in monochrome. After all, it’s mostly about light and shadow with a lot of texture. The color is almost incidental.

72-wood-shadow-deck-10052016_013

I used Topaz Adjust to add detail, turn down the bright and raise the contrast. Not much. Barely 5%, but that was enough. I then used the Color Saturation slider to remove the color, and the green color slider to add a bit of color back into the leaves. The result is interesting.  I like both versions.

72-bw-wood-shadow-deck-10052016_013

I used three different cameras for the pictures. Only the last one of the deck was taken with my “good” lens. The others were one of my Panasonic Lumix super-zoom cameras. I always reduce published pictures to 72 dpi because of storage considerations. I know it would be nice to see a higher definition picture, but storage is expensive.

So, there you go. I don’t know if I’ve answered the call on this challenge. I admit — I’m not a particularly disciplined photographer. It’s my hobby. When it stops being fun, I’ll stop taking pictures.

Cee-banner-compose-yourself-challenge2

SOME LIKE IT COLD: UNCOOKED FLOWERS

72-april-bouquet041016_07

72-april-bouquet-041116_04

I always seem to be going in the wrong direction, or at least, opposite traffic. While most photographers seem to be going “hotter” — more saturation and stronger colors — I’m trying for soft pastels.

72-macro-april-bouquet-041016_13

72-april-bouquet-041116_02

I am forever turning down the heat. Lowering saturation and brightness.  I kind of like it cool rather than hot.

72-macro-april-bouquet-041016_05

72-april-bouquet-041116_05

72-macro-april-bouquet-041016_09