I've always liked the texture of things. Perhaps, like a good abstract painting, the non representational nature of the image allows the viewer more leeway for interpretation. I've collected a wide range of textures over the years, sometimes combining them with other images to create a unique third image. You can see some of these composite images from my blog post "There's a Texture for That".
Here's a sample of some images.
Thought for the day
"Wisdom begins in wonder" Socrates
When you're traveling or site seeing, one of the most frequent challenges is how to take a photo without it being filled with people obstructing part of the building, bridge, road, waterfall or other object of interest. So what are your options?
Here are five proven solutions to removing those unwanted people in your image.
In the following example I'll walk through option 5, using multiple photos and then blending the people away in the image. In the following two images you can see a couple of people in the foreground as well as an individual in front of a column by the building that I want to remove.
The first step is to open both images on different layers in Photoshop.
The next step is to align the layers. Select both layers and then use the Edit > AutoAlign Layers command to auto-align these layers. In the pop-up window select the Auto-Align projection option.
Your images will now be aligned. They may be a bit skewed or stretched as in the image below.
Next, add a layer masks to the top most layer.
Once you have added your layer mask, you can now remove the figures you don't want by painting out the image using the Brush Tool. In a layer mask everything that is visible will have a white mask, everything you don't want to see will have a black mask. First Select the layer mask, ensure that your brush colour is black and then select the Brush Tool. Zoom into the person you want to remove and then start painting.
Keep on painting to remove additional figures in the image.
After removing your last person, crop the image (if necessary) and save. Just like magic, unwanted people in the image have been removed!
Thought for the day
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Aristotle
Shooting into the sun can add a lot of drama to your photos, but there are some common misconceptions:
Tips for Getting Better Shots
Thought for the Day
“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams
Or how to take your dog on a trip while staying at home.
Sometimes it's fun to think about "what if". In this case what if I could take a "frenchie" traveling to different spots and have him participate in the adventures when I arrive. I have a library of french bulldog photos as my son has a little guy with lots of character. However the reality of traveling with an animal, let alone having the dog participate in activities in unrealistic.
So what's the next best alternative? Well why not travel virtually, by taking Opie to different destinations. So I decided to combine a photo of Opie, with different backgrounds and props such as a pair eye glasses or a hat to integrate him into the scene.
As well I needed to colour balance the photo of Opie (and props) and modify cast shadows to better integrate him with the background. Then there was the problem with the reflection on the lenses. These would have to be modified to reflect what's going on in the scene. In the "Opie in Jamaica" scene the reflections were added to the lenses.
The following images shows the composited final image, with the component images that make up the final "Opie in Switzerland" scene.
I hope you enjoy the traveling Opie images. May they inspire you to take your furry friend on a virtual trip. I decided to finish 12 images so that I could print a calendar. If you're interested in your own Opie calendar please contact me!
Thought for the Day
“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” Jonathan Swift
What's the best type of day to take photos of flowers? Surprisingly, not when you're taking that stroll through a wonderful garden on a sunny day. Bright overhead sun creates harsh shadows and can wash out colour.
Take photos on bright overcast days or step out just after the rain has stopped and it's still cloudy. The overcast sky acts as a large soft box removing harsh shadows and enhancing colour. After a fresh rain colours are also intensified.
If you can't avoid the sun try take an in-camera double exposure. By combining one exposure that's sharp with another that's out of focus you can reduce the amount of harsh contrast and create a glow around the flower. It's important to either use a tripod, or if hand holding the shot, keep your camera as steady as possible.
Another option on sunny days is to take the photo while the flower in covered in shade, or create your own shade with a hat.
Isolate the flower and remove clutter by changing your perspective and simplify the background. This allows the flower to stand out.
Alternatively, if you can't simplify the background this way, use a widest aperture available on the lens (F2.8 for example), and use the longest focal setting (for example 200mm) to blur the background. This isolates the flower by blurring the background.
Create a visual pattern. This works well if there are many flowers in a field or if there's a bunch of flowers in the garden. Look for interesting or repeating patterns and textures to lead the eye through the image.
Take a close up! If you have a lens with macro capability zooming into a portion of the flower can provide opportunities to make wonderful images. Be careful with your focus however, as the depth of field will be very shallow.
Thought for the Day
“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.” – Ansel Adams
Sometimes a change in perspective is all that's needed to get your creative juices flowing. Reflective surfaces such as windows, glass buildings and metal surfaces are great canvases that can be used to change your perspective and create some thought provoking images.
Thought for the Day
“You don't take a photograph, you make it." Ansel Adams
Eight essential tips for taking pictures in the snow.
Thought For The Day
“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams
On your next hike through the forest look down - way down and discover a new world at your feet. Along with the amazing array of textures and colours you'll find plants, flowers, moss and mushrooms invigorating the forest floor.
In this project I wanted to explore the fungi living on and transforming the forest. Without fungi the forest would collapse. In addition to helping decompose matter (and returning nutrients to the soil) many mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with trees. Unlike plants mushrooms can't synthesize their own food from light. The mushroom helps the tree extract minerals and water from the soil; in exchange, the tree supplies the mushroom with sugar compounds.
So take a moment to enjoy these forest dwellers the next time you're on a hike and admiring the beauty of the trees around you.
Thought for the Day
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” Leonardo da Vinci
Over the years my work has grown to include digital works including paintings, mixed media, multi-media and photography. A recent digital painting of Opie (a small French Bulldog) is based on a photo of the dog and a photo of my friend Victoria's back yard. I placed Opie in the yard, added a pipe and placed a straw hat on his head to evoke Vincent van Gogh.
My favorite tools are Photoshop, Painter, ArtRage and Procreate. Procreate is only available for iPad while ArtRage is available for iPad, Android and Windows. Corel Painter is available for Windows and Mac. Adobe Photoshop is also available for both Windows, Mac with a lighter versions available for iPad and Android.
There's some great online resources available to help you improve your skills using digital tools. A YouTube site that I often visit is to learn new techniques is PHLEARN. This site is better for photographers than painters but still provides very valuable tips and insights.
Corel Painter is one of the leading digital "natural media" painting tools with a vast array of brushes, effects, backgrounds etc. A good YouTube channel is Painter Tutorials. This site provides a range of tutorials offered by both Corel and digital artists.
An alternative to Corel Painter is ArtRage Studio. It also provides natural media painting tools and is much less expensive than painter, although not as capable. It's a great way to get starting painting digitally.
Finally ProCreate is an innovate program that doesn't have digital equivalents to natural media but provides alternative tools to get similar effects, primary by selecting textures and brush effects. For me I find Procreate a better program for graphic arts. Again there's lots of YouTube resources available to learn more.
So take your tablet, laptop or smart phone and get out there and paint!
Thought for the Day
“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.” Pablo Picasso
The Azores archipelago is an autonomous region of Portugal that were discovered in the 1400's by Gonçalo Velho Cabral, a monk and explorer. A group of 9 islands, the Azores is located in the mid-Atlantic. The islands enjoy a temperate climate making it an ideal place to visit, regardless of the time of year.
In October 2016, we visited São Miguel, the largest island in the Azores islands. Although October can be a bit wetter than in summer, we experience relatively little rainfall and our daily temperatures ranged between 17°C and 24°C.
So what's there to do in São Miguel? As it turns out a lot, especially if you love outdoor activities, fine dining, exploring centuries old historic buildings, viewing street art, taking photos or relaxing in rejuvenating thermal pools.
Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores, is located on São Miguel the largest island and locally called the "Green Island". São Miguel is very lush and a gardeners paradise with flowering hydrangeas everywhere. Ponta Delgada offers many sights including the historic City Gates, pictured above. It's also a great place to discover local restaurants serving fresh Azorean fare. One of our favourite places, Boca de Cena, is run by a single individual that is owner, chef, maître d' and waiter. It's a small restaurant with only 10 tables so it fills up quickly. We would recommend making reservations.
There's a lot to explore in Ponta Delgada, just remember that places often close early (by North American standards) and on Sunday only a few stores and restaurants are open. Be sure to visit the fresh markets, Antonio Borges Park with the large Australian Banyan tree and grottoes, and the various churches such as St. Sebastien's Mother Church. Ponta Delgada is also known for its graffiti, colourful doorways and intricate cobblestone patterns in the street.
As interesting as Ponta Delgada may be, the real Azores can be found by getting out of town and visiting the rugged and picturesque countryside created through volcanic activity. São Miguel still exhibits a lot of secondary volcanic activity such as hot springs although the last time a major eruption occurred was in 1652 on Pico do Fogo. We adventured both east and west. East to see Cete Cidades and Fogo and west to see Furnas.
On our East Island adventure we decided to take a jeep tour through Futurismo. The jeep tour was more intimate than the bus tour and provided better opportunities to explore such as our visit to the Salto do Cabrito waterfall. Our guide was very professional and helped make the tour fun.
We booked a Pure Azores west island tour to see Furnas, the north shore and the Ribeira dos Caldeiroes Nature Park. Our guide was wonderful and helped to make the experience special.
Furnas is arguably the most volcanically active part of São Miguel and is known for its iron-rich hot springs and magnificent parks and gardens. It's also known for its volcanic steam cooked meals, a unique Azorean experience! On the way to Furnas we stopped in the little town of Vila Franca do Campo to try the famous custard pastries made by the local bakery there - Do Morgado.
In many ways São Miguel is a photographers or painters paradise with visual opportunities around every corner. The image of the north shore is just one example.
We took advantage of a vacation package that included flight and hotel. We flew to the Azores through SATA and stayed at the Antillia Hotel Apartamento. The hotel includes short and long term rentals and was conveniently located close to the city center so that we could walk and explore the city.
Text and photos are copyright Eric David
Eric David is a visual artist / fine art photographer that lives and works in Toronto.