VideoSpotlight: “Surreal”

I spent last Saturday morning photographing at my favorite garden hotspot. I eluded to the surreal experience in my previous post and was inspired to share those images, all of them rendered in artistic form, in this short video. I created this in iMovie and on that, the image quality is fantastic. I hope this translates to a high-quality video on this blog but I still have a learning curve to go through when it comes to video. I will follow-up with the still images in a later post. Until then, I hope you enjoy “Surreal”.  –KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Springtime Blossoms


Garden Bridge (Artistic Rendering). Canon 7D | 10-22mm | f10 | ISO 100

Garden Bridge. Canon 7D | 10-22mm | f10 | ISO 100

I’ve been extremely busy since my last post. Many trees have bloomed and by now, many have passed their peak. With each passing day, I’ve cringed at the inability to get out and photograph, using some of those blooming branches as bird perches. Checking the local reports, I knew the Azalea’s were blooming at a local garden I often frequent. Realizing how fast the blooms can come and go, I decided to put everything aside this morning and hit the trails. I found beautiful splashes of color at the garden and was thoroughly enjoying my morning stroll.

When photographing a hardwoods scene, I prefer to have an overcast sky as this allows me to capture great detail, depth of scene and color. If the sun is shining, then one has to contend with dark shadows and bright highlights. Checking the weather forecast the day before, the morning was supposed to be “mostly cloudy” so I knew I’d have periods of great opportunities. I photograph in manual mode when shooting landscapes and often shoot between f/8 and f/16. I saw a lot of people photograph on and near this bridge, but to me, the best photo was just passed the bridge, looking back at it. To me, it was as important a photographic element as the blooming azaleas, and including both in a pleasing composition was key to the success of this image.

I am including a copy of the image as it was captured in the field (below). Above is an artistic rendition of the scene, created in Adobe Photoshop CS6. I’m pleased with both images but the artistic rendering seems to best capture the mystery of the gardens.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN


Rendering Your Photographic Images As Works Of Art


As a photographer, I have a natural appreciation for other art forms and have always had a  personal affinity for oil paintings. How a person can take a brush to a blank canvas and create an inspirational work of art is really amazing. I’ve never had any formal artistic training, but I can read and I do have an inquisitive nature. Through my readings, I have learned a little about different art styles from the abstracts and impressionists, to pointillism and the realists. I pay attention to these art forms confident that they will, though unsure exactly how, have a positive influence in my own photography.


Recently, I have been using various filters in Photoshop to render my photographs as art pieces influenced by the realist and/or impressionist styles. Now, real artists can find technical differences between my renderings and true realist/impressionist paintings so I just want to qualify that they have been influenced by those styles but I have not necessarily been true to any particular rules. Photoshop CS6 has a great built-in Oil Paint filter that is fairly easy to use and I have applied it to taste until I get a look that I like. While alone it is sufficient to render a great oil painting (e.g., church in a former post), I have also combined it with other filters (texture, blur) to achieve the look in most of the images on this post.


Rendering digital photographs as a form of art has been a lot of fun so I created a template that allows me to drag and drop a photo and turn it into one of the looks you see here. Because I save each of the layers in Photoshop, I can then modify any particular effect to achieve a different look. In a future blogpost, I will take you step-by-step on how the look in these images was achieved and then show you how to save it as your own template so that you too, can enjoy a new art form.


Until next time, good light and keep shooting. — KEVIN


15-Minute Photo Challenge: Country Church

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Country Church. Canon 7D | ef-s 15-85mm | ISO 400

It’s winter here in Georgia, and the once vibrant fall colors of the leaves on deciduous trees have dropped, juxtaposing their fine branch ramification against the evergreens in the forest. I did not set out on a photographic excursion on this day. We have friends from Texas visiting for the holidays and we took advantage of warmer weather to go for a bicycle ride at a local garden/nature park. I carried the camera along to document the children enjoying each other; but, as a nature/outdoor photographer I’m always on the alert for a great photo. After a few miles up and down hills, we rode up on this old church in the woods. It’s a beautiful scene and we would be there for no more than 10-minutes. Of course, the family images with the church came first. After that, I had to make some fast decisions on what to capture.

The water was extremely still so I had a great reflection to work with. The sky was dull and grey, but the light was diffused and soft. I decided to compose the image you see here but in the dull grey light, the colors were less than vibrant. In Photoshop, I decided to render this as an oil painting. Since I opted for an artistic impression, I punched up the reds and yellows to give the image a little pop. I used the oil filter tool in CS6 and adjusted the sliders until I was happy with the overall look. I used a layer mask on the window and a couple of select items on the church to leave that detail.

Soon after, we were back on the bicycle trail enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells along the piney wood trail. Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN