30 Days of Creativity: Day 11

Bata Shoe Museum

ISO 800, 18mm, f 6.3, 1/50s

The Bata Shoe Museum is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  This image was taken from the top floor looking down the stairwell, to the bottom floor where you see shoes scattered about.  They have a variety of unique shoes they keep in that central area for visitors to try on for fun.  I tried taking some pictures down there but the light is terrible for any shots without flash and you aren’t allowed to use flash in the museum.  So with this shot, I needed to tweek the lighting a little in order to bring out that bottom floor.  I like the image of the lady walking as it adds interest to the shot in my opinion.

However, the blank wall on the right was bothering me and I thought it needed something in order to balance the image.  So I added the title Bata Shoe Museum in the font Copperplate using Photoshop Elements®.  I like the final product.  I think it looks a little like a postcard. 😉

At the time of my visit, they had a great exhibit about shoes in the 1920s.  There were some really wild shoes during that time period, most of which could only be afforded by the rich.  I took lots of pictures (I love 1920’s period clothing) but all of the shoes were behind glass.  Unfortunately, I didn’t use a polarization filter to reduce the reflections for two reasons; first because I would have lost an f-stop of light in already dim lighting conditions, but more importantly because I didn’t think of it.  😦  So for this next image, I chose one that wouldn’t suffer as much from the lighting conditions.

ISO 400, 18mm, f 3.5, 1/10s

There are still reflections, but by turning the image black and white, I was able to accentuate the rhinestones and the style of the shoe without losing any of the color.  I made several adjustments to the exposure and added a hint of vignetting at the corners using Adobe’s Lightroom®.  These changes also helped to reduce the reflections from the glass.  Oh, and in case you are curious, the shoe in the background is gold.

If you are ever in Toronto and find yourself with a couple of hours to spare, check out the Bata Shoe Museum.  It’s a unique museum and worth a little bit of your time. 🙂

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Creativity: Day 10

Street Painter

ISO 100, 35mm, f 5.6, 1/80s

We met this fellow while walking along the streets of Toronto last year.  He was painting the sidewalk and asking for donations towards a plane ticket to Vancouver.  He wanted to try his luck out there.

As far as the treatment of this photo goes, I can’t take much credit.  I applied a preset in Lightroom® called Creative Catalyst 19 that I picked up somewhere on the internet.  It changes the color balance, emphasizing the blues, adjusts the contrast and increases the exposure to give that washed, faded color look.  Intense sharpening and slight vignetting are also used by the preset.  I liked the result so much that I left it as is, which is rare for me. I have to confess, all I really can take credit for is the composition, but I’m pretty proud of that.  I wasn’t sure the photo was worth saving until I cropped it.  I’m glad I did because I really like the finished product.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Creativity: Day 9

Faire!

It’s that time a year again, when Renaissance Fairs across the country come alive with jousts, swordplay, maypoles, and costumes galore.  I recently attended one of these fairs and took some photos to share with everyone for today’s 30 Days of Creativity post.  Originally I planned to post the pictures only, as the act of taking the photo itself abounds with creativity.  But I found I just can’t leave editing out of it when I get an idea for a picture in my head.  So I am sharing with you some of the photos I took and edited.

ISO 100, 18mm, f 11, 1/60s

This first capture is of a bagpiper and his drummer playing outside the Chapel of the Holy Grail. (I didn’t make up the name.)  I thought the original image needed a little something so after I cropped it down to size, I turned it sepia and added a bit of grain to give it an old-time feel.  I realize we are centuries before the invention of the camera and film, but I like the effect.

 

ISO 200, 28mm, f 5.6, 1/320s

What would a Renaissance Fair be without a joust?  A poor imitation, indeed.  Good versus evil dueling it out in the lists, and the final battle is usually to the death.  Jousters are very skilled and travel from fair to fair (as do vendors and other acts) riding their well-trained horses into combat.  I recently saw a reality competition show on television featuring jousting.  Who would have thought it to be such a popular sport in the 21st century?

As for the details, this image was captured as our evil knight made his rounds greeting guests lined up to watch the show.  The color original was still a pretty good shot, but I started playing with presets in Lightroom® and hit upon one I don’t often use that removes all color except for red.  I had to go back through with a brush to remove background red (for example, from spectators’ clothes and skin) by de-saturating all colors and painting the areas where I wanted to remove color.  (The preset is made by desaturing all colors except red.)  Since his costume is mostly red (the little skulls also hinting that he is the bad guy) this gives a saturated contrast to the image.  I did several adjustments to the original before turning the image black/white/red, which does improve the quality of the final product despite the B&W nature of the final photograph.  (That’s a blog post in and of itself.)

 

ISO 200, 50mm, f 5.6, 1/200s

No Renaissance fair is complete without some choreographed stage-fighting.  I didn’t do much editing to this image other than to crop it down to size, punch up the colors and add a little sharpening.  The creativity in this one is solely from capturing the shot.  And that, my friends, is where it all begins.

 

ISO 100, 18mm, f 7.1, 1/200s

Lastly, what every fair needs is a little funnel cake.  I took a picture of mine because it reminded me of a Celtic knot.  Out of period but oh so yummy!  Besides, I ate my turkey leg first. 😉

So there is this year’s adventure at Faire (proper old-world spelling for those in the know).  I hope you have enjoyed my little photo trip and inspired you to go to see your local (or even semi-local) Faire this year.

Huzzah!

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Creativity: Day 7

Saxon tackles a dragon!

My latest experiment is the result of a curious creativity surge and a Saturday evening with nothing else to do.  I wanted to work exclusively with Photoshop Elements®, also known as ‘Photoshop Lite’ by some.  I also wanted to do some work with layers and masking, neither of which I really know much about.  I do have a great book called Layers (2nd edition) by Matt Kloskowski, which helps to understand how to do a lot of cool things with layers.  However, you do have to poke around Elements a bit to find how to set the layers.  (Go to your layers stack, click on the layer of interest, then select what type of layer you want – Normal, Multiply, Dissolve, etc. – from the drop down menu.)

Likewise, I didn’t know how to set up a mask and I couldn’t find it from the main drop down windows.  However, this is where Matt’s book really helped me out – and thank you to Adobe® for putting this power into Elements!  There is a little button on the bottom on your layers stack that looks like a square with a circle cut out of it.  This will add a mask to your selected layer so you can work with it.

Naturally, I picked something nice and difficult to work with, like my furry cat.  I masked out the background (my window shades) and eventually had to copy the resulting image into its own layer.  I tried fill layers, but they kept showing me the background, so I grabbed an image off the internet.  This image is the Skyrim© dragon.  It made a nice backdrop and it looks as if Saxon, my cat, is trying to catch a dragon! 😉

Basement cat killz ebil dragon

Now, as for the colors… no, my cat is not purple.  He is actually black.  But I had taken the image inside so the white balance was off and he looked brown with yellow eyes.  (His eyes are green-yellow and look green more often than not.)  To to correct the white balance, I used the function Enhance>Adjust Color>Remove Color Cast.  Well, a purple cat is about as far away as you can get with this function, so I decided to leave it as not only a lesson learned, but because I thought it was fun. 🙂

I used another layer (select, copy & paste) to make the blanket green, just for contrast.  His eyes were the only serious thing I did: Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation.  Now, it isn’t a perfect match, nor was it a perfect selection (zoom in on his left eye and you can see the flaw) but this is a little closer to his natural eye color – still yellowish, but green at the same time.  I know the selection around the cat isn’t perfect either, but I liked the back lit look so I didn’t try harder to fix it.

All-in-all it is a very “Photoshopped” image, but it was fun to make – and that’s the idea, isn’t it? 🙂

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Creativity: Day 5

Tigers!

Today’s work is another example of Adobe’s Lightroom® program.  This image was taken at a local zoo, and I was lucky enough to capture the tigers when they were looking at the camera.  With my nice long zoom lens (75-300mm) I was able to capture them in this unique pose without having to crop too much.  My edits were subtle in this case, I cropped the image to focus on the tigers, adjusted the contrast and saturated the color.  I also added just a hint of vinetting (darkening of the corners) in order to emphasize the animals.  I think this works nicely to accentuate the curve of the tiger’s back.

Image edited in Lightroom(R)

For those of you interested in the photograph’s details, the settings were as follows: ISO 400, 300mm, f5.6, shutter 1/200s.

Original image of the tigers. (c) ManicMonday 2012

Although there may not seem to be as much “creativity” in editing a picture that starts out well, I beg to disagree.  It is often more challenging to take a good picture and make it great rather than to make it funky.  There are hundreds of easy ways to make the picture look funky, but there may be hundreds tiny adjustments needed to make it look real and larger than life without being unnatural. While the former may be more fun, the latter is more challenging.  And I think both take creativity.

Although the biggest challenge of them all is to take a good photograph to start with.  If you don’t have that, then you’ve got nothing to work with.  For those of you who like to take pictures – get snapping!  That’s where the creativity begins!  🙂


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

30 Days of Creativity: Day 4

The Turtle

One of my favorite editing programs is Adobe Photoshop’s Lightroom®.  It’s a digital darkroom program designed to mimic the power of editing done in darkrooms before the age of digital cameras.  It can made your photo more realistic or it can make it edgy and modern.  It can take a bad photo and make it good, or it can take a good photo and make it great.  Today’s creativity challenge photo is the turtle.

Edited in Lightroom(R)

Above is the image I created in Lightroom® and the original is below.  You can see that there are a lot of changes going on here.  First, I used a preset which is simply a set of instructions saved that can be applied to any photo.  The preset is called Dark Horse and can be found by searching websites containing presets.  (I can’t recall which site this one came from.)  There are plenty of places that you can find free presets to use with your photos.  This particular preset adjusts the color and contrast.  I made further adjustments from there, including sharpening, vingetting, noise reduction, and slight changes to the highlights and shadows.

Original photo before editing. (c) ManicMonday 2012

Photography (both taking the pictures and editing them) is a hobby of mine that really gets the creative juices flowing for me.  I am glad I decided to embark on this 30 days of creativity project because it has urged me to work with some of my older photos and be creative with them.

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.