21 04 2010

After the exceptionally long and harsh winter spring finally rushed into my homeland. Tulips are one of the first garden flowers which, together with crocuses and hyacinths, welcome spring every year and so I couldn’t resist photographing them. The weather truly stood its adjective “foolish” this april as it was either rainy or windy so far and we still have frost some mornings. Weather was finally beautiful last weekend so I took a camera out of the house after long time and took some flower shots which you can see below. I have spring linked with beautiful smell of flowers, fresh air with a scent of rain and with strong sun rays in my mind and that’s what I tried to caught in these pictures.

1/100 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

Not before the photos were processed had I realized that I actually never presented a single photo of a tulip and it is very probable that I never took a photo of a tulip which is really a surprise to me because it is a subject which is photographed very very often.

As you can see from these photos tulips are great subject also for abstract photography. They are available in wide range of colours and even one blossom may bear a rich palette of colours. The following photo is only a crop from the one above and by cutting the stem the subject is minimized only to curvy shapes and bright colours.

Probably the biggest disadvantage of these fragile, yet  noble, flowers is that they don’t last long when cut into vase so the best way to get pleasing photos of them is photographing them either outside or freshly cut.

1/200 sec @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

So enjoy the beauty of spring!

Technical information: all photos were taken using Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens under natural conditions, outside and hand-held.


White Hyacinth – oil on canvas

2 04 2010

Since the beginning of this year I have focused on creating more artistic works than in past and those of you who follow my blog could notice it. It started with high-key photos, which I still like very much, and now I’m strongly drawn to the paintings. I don’t mean real paintings, I mean photos converted to paintings during post-processing.

I see many excellent photos on the web every day and while looking at them I realize that in these days when prices of DSLRs dropped so drastically that even amateurs can afford them and with still rising quality of these machines even an amateur can create technically perfect images which could be compared to photos by professionals. Every mobile phone has a camera nowadays and so every kid can take photos on every step and most of them does. This means that there is a HUGE amount of photos produced and many of them are really excellent. This has one very strong negative impact. If a photographer, even an amateur such as me, wants to differ somehow from the others s/he must do something more than just know how to find an interesting subject and perfectly control composition, lighting, scene and camera. For many photographers it is being at the right place in the right time what makes their work outstanding.

For me it is giving something from myself to the photo. I do not want to create average photos which will slip from viewers mind a second after stopping looking at them, I want to create photos which will be original and unique. To achieve this goal I need to be more creative and not stop on casual processing. Right now I am intrigued by paintings made from photos such as the one I presented in previous post. The newest one, of white Hyacinth, is here (click to see it larger):

0.6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/16, ISO 200

Couple days ago I got to know about a plugin for Photoshop called Snap Art (currently in version 2) by Alien Skin. I saw some amazing photos processed with this software by Barbara Kile and awed by the results I decided to give it a try. I was amazed how quickly one can learn to work with it and how realistic results it produces. There is a lot of presets and settings such as brush size, pen pressure, paint thickness, background type (canvas, wood, paper etc.) and many, many more but it is really intuitive and I’m sure that everyone is able to create appealing result in 30 minutes.

Two months ago we had a pot with nice white hyacinths at home of which I took several photos. Unfortunately, I didn’t process any of them so far. They were simply waiting for the right creative mood to come. The mood came when I saw the images processed with Snap Art. I like the oil and impasto paintings very much; I like to see the brush strokes and thick paint on the canvas and so I thought that I will try this technique on the photo which you can see on the left. I chose an “oil paint” preset in Snap Art and did only slight changes to the default settings. I really like how the business of the scene was simplified by brush strokes though how realistically it still looks.

It is hard to see any details on these resized images but you can check the difference between the original and processed photo on the 100% crop on the right. I’m convinced that this would look fantastically printed on canvas so perhaps one day I’ll have it made.

I  must confess that this processing grabbed me and now I would like to use it on every processed photo. Of course that it would match only some of them but still I am sure that I will try it very often. Time will tell. You will see.

Let me know if you like this kind of processing and what do you do to distinguish your art from just photos?

Enjoy the long-awaited Spring!

Technical information: the photo was taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens upon tripod, under natural conditions, indoors.