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Black And White Challenge: Day 5 – Crafty Corvid

Jackdaw

Black And White Challenge: Day 5 – Crafty Corvid

Have you ever been called a “birdbrain”? Well, it may not be that derogatory anymore! Recent evidence has revealed that corvids (members of the crow family) are amongst the most intelligent species on Earth, beside humans and the Great Apes. The posses imagination that allows then to use and even create specific tools. They can solve complex problems of many stages. They are highly sociable and monogamous. Their brain-to-body-size ratio is only slightly smaller than that of a human! This jackdaw at Claremont Gardens was watching us feeding the squabbling geese, ducks and gulls by the lake before carefully choosing his moment to come down for a share of the bounty. Thanks, Amy, for setting me the 5 Day B&W Challenge!

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Black And White Challenge: Day 4 – Phlox?

Phlox?

Black And White Challenge: Day 4 – Phlox?

It’s very often the robins of RHS Wisley Gardens that play tour guide by perching on the signs, but I was lucky to capture this lovely little dunnock, through the sunlit grasses, perched on Phlox. The light was simply divine!! Would you like to see it in colour too? I have one more day to go of the 5 Day Black & White Challenge that Amy, from The World Is A Book, set me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking at the birds in a different light!

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Black And White Challenge: Day 3 – Baby Steps

First Gosling Of The Year

Black And White Challenge: Day 3 – Baby Steps

First baby of the year! This is a two week old Egyptian Gosling that mum and I were amazed to discover so early at Claremont Gardens. Such a cute little bundle of fluff 🙂 Thanks again to Amy, from The World Is A Book, for setting me this challenge. Do any of you want to have a go? I decided to tackle birds in monochrome as they’re not a subject that I would normally think of processing in this way. Do you have a favourite subject matter that you’ve never processed in Black and White? I challenge all my readers to think on it and join in when you have the time.

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Weekly Photo and Travel Theme Challenges: Graceful With A Hint Of Orange

Graceful

Weekly Photo and Travel Theme Challenges: Graceful With A Hint Of Orange

I have always loved seeing the black swans at Claremont Gardens. I was sad to discover that the male is on his own now as his mate recently passed away. He certainly seemed forlorn on his own. I hope that the National Trust are able to find another mate for him! I knew swans would be a popular choice for the Travel Theme, Graceful. They really are grace personified! The beautiful black swan also has a deep orange bill that I thought would combine the challenges perfectly.

I have also created a tinted B&W for Day 2 of the Black and White Challenge that Amy set me.

Graceful - B&WYou’ll also see in the gallery that my mum has very orange (ginger) hair! I sometimes refer to her as the “goose whisperer” as she always has food for them and they follow her everywhere!

Black And White Challenge: Day 1 – Free Spirit

Doves

Black And White Challenge: Day 1 – Free Spirit

Amy from The World Is A Book invited me to join the five-day Black & White Challenge. Amy is one of my most ardent supporters and has provided me with so much encouragement during my blogging history! Taking on this challenge is my way of thanking her for all her input, links, comments and shares. She has a lovely blog of her own filled with images and stories of nature, travel, gardens and walks. Please do visit her if you have not already; you’ll be drawn in by her relaxed writing style and the wide range of photographic styles and subjects!

I don’t often process my bird images into monochrome so I’ve been out looking for suitable subjects to share with you. I spotted these doves in the branches overhanging the lake at Claremont Gardens a few days ago, and the light was just perfect for a monochrome conversion! I’m not challenging anyone else today, rather I would ask you, my readers, if you would like to take part?

I wasn’t planning on starting with this image, but after the very sad news today of the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, I decided that I would like to make this my photographic tribute, in remembrance of one of the greatest writers of our time, perhaps of all times! Not only has he written so many inspirational books, including The Discworld novels, but in his last years he has campaigned relentlessly for dementia patients and those with terminal illness who wish for the right to choose when they die. The documentaries he made on this subject were both emotive and enlightening. The rare form of Alzheimer’s that he was diagnosed with must have been incredibly frustrating for someone of such a keen mind and quick humour. May his spirit fly free and his literary legacy inspire generations of writers to come.

One Four Challenge: March Week 2

One Four Challenge: March Week 2

One Four Challenge: March Week 2

For the second week of March’s One Four Challenge, hosted by Robin Gosby at Captivate Me, I wanted to show the moors and tor in a darker mood. Dartmoor has been the setting for countless novels and poems. The best known of these is undoubtedly The Hound of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the dark of night, with the mist rolling in across the moors, I can’t help but think of the savage dog-like beast stood upon the tor, howling into the winds. A little bonus for you is this extra edit with an even moodier look and the hound himself on the rocks!

The Hound Of The Baskervilles

Here are the steps I took to get my Week 2 edit and a gallery of all the edits so far:

Photoshop CC and GTG
Savoy Mark II Colour Base
Knuffle Bunny 15%
Polar Express 50%
Cooling Greens Brush
Fog Brush (Across Tor) 50%
Moody Brush (Across Tor)
Rich Contrast 25%
Silky Rich Bokeh
Create Depth Brush
Dark Paradise 50%
RETRO FILMS
Record Store 15%
Annie Hall 25%
Flatten Image
Painterly Punchy 100%
Flatten Image
Black and White Adjustment Layer with Infrared Style
Painterly Subtle 100%
That Witch is Wicked 15%
Classic Contrast
Clean Bokeh
Create Depth Brush

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One Four Challenge: February Week 3

One Four Challenge: February Week 3

One Four Challenge: February Week 3

February is flying by and we’re already onto the third week of this month’s One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me. Some of you may have guessed by now that I’m attempting to recapture the feel and look of Fine Art processes that I have used in the past. This month’s edit is inspired by the very short experience I had of print making during my A level studies. I really loved it! I made a series of self portraits using lino, block and screen printing techniques. I’ve tried to capture the essence of those techniques in this pop-art style image.

Photoshop CC
Clean up base
Select Figure with Polygonal Lasso
Refine Edge
Layer Via Copy
Add grey background
Invert Difference Blending (Save Portrait 1)
Invert Divide Blending (Save Portrait 2)
Invert Normal
Copy Figure Layer
Multiply Blending
Invert Screen Blending (Save Portrait 3)

Create New 3×2 Ratio White Background
Copy and Paste in all 3 Portraits
Arrange with right hand figure as 1st Layer
Use Polygonal Tool to select and remove white overlapping areas
Use Soft Low opacity Eraser to blend images

Greater Than Gatsby
Soft Pearl Matte 20%
Reduce Noise
Your New Aesthetic 25%
Brilliant Dance 20%
Vinyl Revival 30%
Painterly Soft 20%
Flatten Image

Lightroom
Use masking brush to reduce clarity and and sharpness to areas of skin while increasing clarity to hair and facial features

Colour Efex Pro
Tonal Contrast Fine
Classical Soft Focus and Diffuse selectively
Colourise Soft Pink
Ink
Pro Contrast
Glamour Glow Cool

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One Four Challenge: February Week 2

One Four Challenge: February Week 2

One Four Challenge: February Week 2

For the second week of February’s One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me, I wanted to create an effect that resembles charcoal and watercolour. I really enjoyed using that mix of mediums when doing life studies, often on textured pastel paper. It was a fast and free technique that gave a lovely flow to lines and created extra depth to shadowed areas. Rubbing in some chalk to the still wet paper would bring out the highlights and complete the sketch.

Photoshop CC
Cleanup Background
Solarise
Invert with Difference Blending
Increase Brightness and Contrast
Reduce Noise 100%
Make 3 new Copy Layers
Copy Layer 1 apply Poster Edges
Darker Colour Blending 50%
Copy Layer 2 apply Dry Brush
Normal Blending 55%
Copy Layer 3 apply Diffuse Glow
Normal Blending 30%
Add B&W Texture Layer
Create Layer Mask
Soft Black Brush Low Opacity gradually remove texture from figure
Merge Visible
GTG – Painterly Soft with Multiply Blending 50%
Adjust Levels
Use Soft White Low Opacity Brush to enhance highlights and lift unwanted shadow
Increase Brightness
Decrease Contrast
Add Warming Photo Filter
Use Blur and Smudge tools to accentuate “brush” strokes

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One Four Challenge: February Week 1

One Four Challenge: February Week 1

One Four Challenge: February Week 1

It’s time for February’s One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me. A new month, an old image with a brand new look. The original photographs were taken in early 2007 on a Fuji Bridge camera. I think it was a 5mp camera, which really goes to show how fast technology is moving! I took a lot of images in the camera’s own B&W mode at that time as it had been what I was most used to in film photography. The portraits were originally taken as part of a photomontage project for the National Portrait Gallery’s annual photographic competition. I haven’t had any of my images included in the exhibition but I really enjoy the process of creating images for the competition, it’s a great motivator 🙂 I’ll include my 2007 entry within my gallery and, as ever, I would love your feedback and criticism on my processes!

Photoshop CC
Clean up base image and remove shadows
Invert with Linear Light Blending
Merge Down
Invert with Screen Blending
Merge Down
Invert with Difference Blending 50%
Merge Down
Soft Edge Glow Action 50%
Soft Posterise
Save Snapshot
Rippled Oil Texture 40%
Merge Visible
Add Snapshot with Lighten Blending
Public Domain Texture Overlay
Difference Blending
Masking Layer – use soft, low opacity brush to remove texture
2nd Texture Overlay
Overlay Blending 60%
Use soft white brush to paint over dark edges on portrait
Flatten Image
Add White Canvas Border