Monday, October 22, 2018

Iris Simplified

Topaz Simplify is probably my favorite filter. With this photo, I used a double dose. Simplify has numerous presets which you can modify with sliders (and I often do) but this one uses two different presets in layers with the blending of the upper one set to "Luminance" and opacity reduced to 60%. I rather like the effect. Click on the image to see it larger.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Artistic License

Morning Light

Sometimes the image is all about light, shape, color and too much detail detracts from what I want to 'say' in the image. When I get one of those images I reach into my plugin toolbox and pull out Topaz's Simplifier. I have been using it for years. It started life as BUZZ Simplifier and was put out by a British company whose name I can't recall at the moment. That company went belly up and for a while, I couldn't get updates then Topaz stepped in with their version.

Simplifier groups pixels of similar tone & hue and averages them into clumps. The number of pixels averaged (and thus the size of the clumps of color) is controlled with a slider that goes from very small clumps to almost a posterized image. The original BUZZ filter would go so far that it averaged the entire image but there really isn't much use for that and if you want to I think there is a built-in tool in PS that will do that. The default setting on Topaz's version is higher (bigger clumps) than I usually want and I can't recall ever going higher than the default.

The result is an image that looks a lot like a painting because it does pretty much what painters (except for photorealistic painters) do. I like the effect on some images. I have occasionally been told in the past that I shouldn't call these photographs anymore because they don't 'look photographic'. I don't really care if others prefer to think of them in other terms. I make "images" that I like, that express what I want to express about the subject and render them by whatever means best expresses what I want to show the world. To me, they are still photographs. You may refer to them any way you wish. The terms aren't important, the image is what is important. Here is a group of recent creations using both the camera and the computer. I hope you enjoy them visually and don't get hung up in what to call them.


"Hay Tedder"

Gold over Gold

"Be Mine"

Click on an image to see it larger. Prints are available. Email me telling me what you want (image/size/your location etc.) and I will reply with a price quote that includes shipping. Please respect my copyright and do not repost any part of this blog elsewhere without my express permission.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Autumn Color and a New Trail - Part 2

My second hike on Wednesday was on the new Mt Van Hoevenberg trail from the Olympic Bobsled Run area. This trail opened in time for the Columbus Day holiday but isn't actually complete yet. The trail crew that I talked to said it would take another season to finish their work but it is passable now and will be excellent when they finish hardening all the low areas with stone and fill. Above is a five frame panorama of the summit view. Be sure to click on it to see it 1200 pixels wide.

I have hiked Mt Van Hoevenberg several times before via the trail from South Meadow (2 miles one way). That trail is sometimes difficult due to beaver activity flooding part of the trail. The new trail (1.75 miles one way) will avoid that and there is plenty of parking, unlike the old trail. Either way, the views across Klondike Brook toward the High Peaks is spectacular, one of the best summit views in the Adirondacks.
Below - a couple of photos from along the trail

The main overlook area. There are several.

Looking toward Mt Marcy

Looking down

Mt Colden and Avalanche Mt

Klondike Brook

One of these days I have to find out if Klondike Brook is canoeable. The part that goes by South Meadow is pretty shallow so it may not be.

Autumn Color and a New Trail - Part 1

I went for a couple of short hikes on Wednesday to see the autumn color in the Adirondacks and generally enjoy the woods. There is a distinct autumn scent to the woods at this time of year. I missed the peak color but it was still nice to get out. I went to the waterfall at Cascade Lakes first. It is above the public picnic area between the two lakes. There is a herd path that goes to the brook bed and then you have to follow that to the base of the falls.

Looking up the brook toward the waterfall.

Back in the 1800s there was a hotel on the narrow bit of land between Upper and Lower Cascade lakes. At the base of this waterfall part way up the mountainside they had a dam which was the water supply for the hotel. When I first visited the falls in June of 2011 prior to Hurricane Irene the trail was very different. Remnants of the dam and the pipe used to channel the water to the hotel were very evident. The heavy rains from Irene caused a landslide that opened up the falls on both sides and wiped out most of the remains of the dam as well as the upper part of the herd path.

Looking down the brook toward Upper Cascade Lake

Detail of the base of the falls - Shot using my variable ND filter

Below - Mushrooms and ferns in the brook bed

The uppermost part of the falls as seen from the shore of Lower Cascade Lake

 To be continued...