Saturday, January 31, 2009

Perhaps I'm just winter-blind, accustomed to seeing just tones of white, black and grey; but I thought the shot of the roses was rather garish. A combination of Halftone Pattern and Poster Edges muted the colors and made the picture look a bit like a Victorian print.
It was just too COLD to take pictures outside today. But we did make our weekly trip to Stew Leonards, where there are flowers for sale as one makes one's way out of the maze to the check-out counters. These roses caught my eye.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Sumi-E filter gave it a certain exuberance of color and line.
This is the philodendron that sits on the black filing cabinet in my cubicle at work. It was given to use a few years ago when my husband had surgery for prostate cancer. It's always a reminder to me of the wonderful gift of life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Now, it's not my custom to put up three pictures; but while I was trying to get the photo to reflect what I really saw this morning, I entered the Twilight Zone of Lighting Effects. There are all sorts of options and arcane settings, and I have NO idea what any of them mean. I'm sure there's a book out there somewhere to explain it. But while I was fooling around, I ended up making the ice tree into a moon tree. I thought it was kind of cool, so I wanted to share it.
But Elements allowed me to re-create it! I used Unsharp Mask to generate the kind of halo effect the ice creates, then I added a Lens Flare to exaggerate the brilliance of the sun on the morning after a storm.
Here's an example of how the camera does not always capture what the eye sees. This morning, the trees were coated in ice and glittering in the bright sun. None of the many pictures I took grabbed the crystalline quality of the ice on the branches.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A combination of the Colorful Center effect and the Photocopy filter emphasizes the dry, delicate, papery quality of these last unfallen leaves.
Here's where the "obligation" of a project like this is a good thing: I really didn't want to leave the comfort of the woodstove to go out into the storm. But, I put on my snow boots and down jacket to get this picture of a few dry desolate maple leaves still clinging to their stems despite the snow and ice.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Pencil Sketch effect brings out the barren, bony nature of the dormant trees.
Come spring, the words of the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins will apply here: "Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs!" But right now, the apple trees are skeletal, patiently waiting out the winter in rows.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I converted it to B&W, then added a touch of a blue tint. Now it looks sort of like a tornado swirling way above the clouds.
On this very cold day, the smoke from the trash-to-energy plant near my office building was rising straight up into the crisp blue sky.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Mosaic filter is another that I never thought I'd use; but when I chanced upon it this afternoon, I just liked the way it seemed to play up the weathered look of the window. It seemed to "age" the rest of the garage to match. I added a bit of Red Tint to tone down the original colors to go along with the ageing effect.
This is the side of our garage. The siding is relatively new (as in 30 years), but the garage itself is considerably older. The battered window shows its age.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Grain filter brought out the contrast between the odd apple and the others in the bin.
Saturday generally means a trip to Stew Leonard's, a sprawling grocery store that specializes in fresh foods. This red apple had fallen into the bin with the green Granny Smiths.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It was tough to come up with the right effect for this one. Most of the filters over-emphasized the patterns in the silver Kisses; I was trying to find something that distinguished the two colored ones. Real Life eventually interrupted my experimentation, and I ended up with Ink Outlines. I have to admit, it's not quite what I wanted--but part of the point is just to play with possibilities.
When one works in a lightless, airless, soulless cubicle in the heart of a concrete office building, chocolate is a necessity. Here's a shot of the Hershey's Kisses that I keep in a glass jar at my desk. (All food needs to be in glass jars to prevent its falling to the predation of mice.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

To me, the original picture was cheery, but didn't distinguish itself in any way. The Poster Edges filter punches up the contrast a bit and adds definition to the edges.
With the real spring only in the distant future here in New England, we often need to create it indoors in order to raise the spirits. These tiny tete-a-tete daffodils do the trick.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I never thought I'd find a use for the Craquelure filter--but it seems to bring out the battered, almost weary, nature of this rusted work car.
A train track runs next to my office building. The trains seem to haul garbage, perhaps for the trash-to-energy plant a few blocks away. Empty cars are often parked on the tracks near the parking lot.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I wanted something that was going to play up the cold and the isolation of the frozen pond. I converted it to black & white, then used the Old Photo effect.
It's been cold enough for long enough that Paper Goods Pond is open for skating. This afternoon, there were just two teenagers out there playing hockey.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Poster Edges brought out the detail of the elements within the ice.
Temps haven't been above freezing in days. When we went out to run some errands, we found these huge icicles hanging off the front of our pickup truck.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I didn't use a filter on this one. Instead, I converted it to black and white, then lowered the opacity so a hint of the color of the evergreen showed through. Then I played around with contast and levels and such to try to bring out the delicate, lacy nature of the snow.
For the most part, I'm already tired of snow; but today's fell in big, pretty, fluffy flakes. It was what our daughter calls "movie snow." Where it clung to the banches, it was light and lacy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's a long drive back from NYC, so I didn't have a lot of time and energy to play with this one. By chance, the first filter that came up when I loaded the Filter Gallery was Watercolor. It had a nice effect. It darkened the extraneous background, so the focus is squarely on Aidan and his concentration in blowing out the candles. It also heightened the flames and the wisp of smoke from the one extinguished candle. At the same time, the whole photo is softened a bit. I decided just to go with this one.
Today, we went down to Queens NY for a family gathering. They had a cake to celebrate the birthdays of family members born in January and February. My grandson, Aidan, knows he will be four on January 31; but since he also knows his birthday is just AGES away, he hadn't expected a cake with his name on it. He was utterly delighted. As the youngest of the honorees (by 12 years), he got the privilege of blowing out the candles.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I started out with the intent of getting some sort of black and white effect that would emphasize the grain of the logs. Along the way, I stumbeld upon the Bas Relief filter. Cutting the opacity ended up creating a 3D effect, which I thought was kind of cool. I love serendippity!
THIS is what keeps us warm on days like this.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I've been trying to find ways to use some of Elements' odder filters. This photo took well to lots of different filters, so it seemed to be a good candidate for more radical experimentation. I ended up with the Note Paper filter. Once I'd reduced the opacity and played around a little with levels and contrast, I ended up with something rather like a silk screen.
When the sun sets, a golden light is reflected from the windows of the buildings in Hartford's city center.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This time, instead of a filter, I used the Sepia effect at a partial opacity. It brought out the grittiness of the setting as well as emphasizing the horizontal lines that caught my eyes in the first place.
I work in an isolated concrete office building located in an industrial area of Hartford, Connecticut. As I was heading home this evening, I was struck by the series of horizonal lines presented by the parking lot, the snow, the fence, the train, the highway, its railing, the smoke and the clouds. That's what's wonderful about this project: it can open one's eyes to things that have been there, but that we've never seen before.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This photo was just ached for filters. The stark colors and crisp lines were a great backdrop for all sorts of effects. In the end, I called for a family vote. We liked this one, which used Ink Outlines, because it played up those qualities, reducing it to its most striking elements.
Red barn, white snow, black trees, grey sky: a portrait of a New England winter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Weak shots such at that one probably should be consigned to the Recycle Bin, but Elements can help salvage them. This is still not a great image, but using the Stamp filter over the original and then decreasing the opacity yielded something with the simplicity of a Japanese drawing. It maintains the color of the winter sky and the contrast between it and the barren trees--and that was the feeling I wanted to convey when I took the picture in the parking lot.
I'll be the first to admit that this is not a great photo. Today was one of those time-pressured days, plus it was COLD out there, so I wasn't wont to linger. But we did have a rare sunny day. The blue of a cloudless winter sky--as pale as it is--is such a stark contrast to all the somber whites and greys and browns that it almost seems incongruous. These dried pods hang from a small tree on the edge of a parking lot at my office building.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Filter Gallery is a great place to just play around with different filter combinations. I ended up with Half Tone and Posterize. I like the woodcut sort of look, but it also seemed too flat to me--so I erased the effect on the apple sitting on top.
Accordingly, I decided to take a break from pictures depicting winter chill. Here's a shot of a bin of apples at Roger's Orchards.
This battered stop sign expresses what many of us have been thinking here in Connecticut: enough, already, with the snow and ice!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I used the Sumi-E filter for this one. I think it made it look like a pen and ink drawing, emphasizing the sense of lonliness. It might work well for the Abandonment theme.
A bench at Paper Goods Pond, looking rather lonesome in the winter chill.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I didn't think there could be much to do with a fairly standard sunset shot--but Ink Outlines gives it the look of a Japanese pen and ink drawing.
Even in a bleak urban setting, one can sometimes find a sliver of sky-fire.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A little work with the Graphic Pen filter, and it reminds me of something from the sketchbook of a 19th century naturalist.

Yes, I'm tired of ice and snow, too...and it's only early January! But a layer of frozen precipitation alters the look of the most ordinary things, like the stones under our trees.