One Four Challenge: March Week 1

One Four Challenge: March Week 1

One Four Challenge: March Week 1

First of all I want to say a big THANK YOU to all my followers and fellow bloggers who are participating in Robyn Gosby’s One Four Challenge which she hosts on her lovely blog, Captivate Me. You’ve all been fantastic in your support and comments, inspiring me to push myself creatively with a range of different subjects! Many of you expressed an interest in seeing how I would tackle a landscape image so here it is, wonderful Dartmoor in Devon.

The rocks you see are called Combestone Tor and are the most accessible of all the tors. The original photograph was taken just off the car park to encompass all the rocks that make up this beautiful feature. I started in Lightroom, dropping exposure, highlights and whites and lifting shadows. I increased clarity and vibrance as well as making adjustments within Hue/Saturation to my liking. I then cropped the image at a 10×4 panoramic ratio. The results of this edit will be the base for all my edits this month and I will include it in my gallery.

Photoshop CC
HDR Toning modified default
Cloning and Blur Tools to smooth sky and remove unwanted foreground detail

GTG Basic Edit
Slightly Reduce Blue and Cyan Saturation
Increase Green and Yellow Saturation
Adjustment Brush to Reduce Noise and Clarity to sky
Adjustment Brush to Increase Clarity to the rocks


One Four Challenge: January Week 2

One Four Challenge - January Week 2

One Four Challenge: January Week 2

For the second week of this month’s One Four Challenge, from Robin Gosby at Captivate Me, I’ve used another combination of programs and processes to produce something a bit more abstract and a lot more vibrant! Hope you all like it.

Here’s the list of the processes I took and a gallery of the edits.

Crop Image
Vibrant Edit

Analogue Efex Pro 2
Double Exposure + 2nd image purple dahlia
Zoom and Rotate – blur centred to the left
Lens Distortion – Pincushion and Defocus
Basic Adjustments – Increase Detail and Brightness, Decrease Saturation

Photoshop CC
Duplicate Background Layer
Merge Down
Glowing Edges Filter
Duplicate Layer Twice
Invert + Exclusion Blending 50% on 1st Layer
Invert + Difference Blending 100% on 2nd Layer
Merge Visible
Blur Tool

Colour Efex Pro
Tonal Contrast
Skin Softner
Bi-Colour Gradient
Pro Contrast

Analogue Efex Pro 2
Classic Camera 6 customised filter


One Four Challenge: January Week 1

One Four Challenge - January Week 1

One Four Challenge: January Week 1

I decided to play with a photograph of one of my favourite flowers this month. It’s a dahlia that I pictured at RHS Wisley Gardens last September at their annual flower show. This week’s edit is soft and dreamy, maybe something that my 9yr old goddaughter would enjoy as a screen saver or wall poster. I will also show you the original image and a basic Lightroom edit, that will be the base image from which to work with over the course of the month. For January’s One Four Challenge, from Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me, I have decided to use a combination of processing software programs to create a totally new look each week.

Here are the processes that went into creating my first edit:

Nik Software
Analogue Efex Pro 2
Double exposure
Bokeh with blur
Basic Adjustments – reduce contrast, brighten, increase detail, decrease saturation
White Vignette
White Frame

Photoshop CC
Duplicate Background Layer
Clone Tool to remove unwanted detail
Blur Tool around edges
Screen Blending 100%
Duplicate of Background
Soft Light Blending 70%
Merge Visible

Greater Than Gatsby Photoshop Actions
Carving Tree Collection
Tickled Pink 30%
Bright Pink Burst – top right
Soft Pink Burst – bottom left
Innocence Collection
Create Depth Brush
Amelia Bedelia 70%

Adobe Lightroom
Reduce Noise
Adjust Hue, Saturation and Lightness

Here’s the gallery for your perusal 🙂


One Four Challenge: November Week 2

One Four Ways - November Week 2

One Four Challenge: November Week 2

For my second week of this challenge, from Robyn Gosby of Captivate Me, I’ve added some drama to my image. I imported a basic Lightroom edit into Nik Colour Efex Pro, then used Dark Contrast, Detail Extraction, Tonal and Pro Contrast with a warm Glamour Glow to really bring out the structural details of the seed-heads. I increased some warm features and smoothed the background in Lightroom before exporting my final copy. I really wanted to put the essence of Autumn into the image this week! Hope you like it 🙂

I’m adding a gallery to show all the versions of the image including the original.


One Four Challenge: Week 1

Autumn Seed Heads

One Four Challenge: Week 1

Robyn Gosby from Captivate Me has introduced a great new challenge to celebrate the art of post processing.

“This new challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.  We will all  process / post edit (our own chosen image) and share a different version each week.

Process it however you like…and tell us a bit about it. You don’t even have to show the original image unless you’d like to.  Try new things, experiment.  Be as creative or subtle as you wish to be.”

This month I’ve chosen a striking, autumnal seed-head. There’s so much scope for creating different moods with a well-lit, structural subject. This week I’m keeping it simple! I processed the image in Lightroom with a soft and bright edit to keep a natural look.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

Kos Town

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

When this week’s challenge came up I realised that I don’t really do a lot of outdoor, night-time photography unless it involves the moon! I think I will try to use the coming months to add some interesting night scenes to my portfolio. With London only a short train ride away it’s almost unbelievable that I haven’t photographed the city at night before!

The photos I’m sharing with you today are all from the Greek Island, Kos. Kos Town is full of wonderful structures that allude to the history of Turkish rule as well as the fortifications from the Knights of St John. I love the strong brickwork alongside the intricate detailing of the minaret on the Muslim Shrine Ntefterntar, which is lit so beautifully at night and complimented by the crescent moon.

All my images today have been edited using Lightroom and Nik Software to add some extra atmosphere. My last image is of Kastri Island in The Gulf of Kefalos, created using four stacked exposures and a bit of light leakage. This is the beautiful island where Simon and I will be getting married next year and if you look closely you can see the lit chapel of Agios Nikolaos, in front of which our ceremony will take place. Perfection!

Kastri Isalnd at Night


Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity – Imagination

Flame Dahlia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity – Imagination

Humanity is a very BIG word to describe through photography or any other means I think! In terms of relating to the human race and the quality of being human, I think that there is one defining aspect of humanity – our ability to imagine. Throughout the history of our race, imagination has driven our capacity to learn and evolve as no other species. Only a very few animals show signs of this ability and they are among the most intelligent species on Earth next to our own. Many of the greatest minds in history have linked imagination and creativity to humanity. Here a few of my favourite quotes:

I don’t think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it.
Keith Haring

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
Albert Einstein

Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.
Ken Robinson

The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which are everything in this world.
Blaise Pascal

Man lives by imagination.
Havelock Ellis

I imagine, therefore I belong and am free.
Lawrence Durrell

Below is a slideshow showing the basic steps I used to create an imaginative flower study. I like to learn through experimentation. The dahlia I had photographed made me think of a glowing ball of flames. I used Lightroom, Photoshop and my imagination to bring my interpretation to life.

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Monochrome Madness: Shoreline Of Sheppey

Shoreline of Sheppey

Monochrome Madness: Shoreline Of Sheppey

There are a few other moody landscapes alongside mine in Monochrome Madness: Week 23, hosted by the brilliant Leanne Cole and ably assisted by Laura Macky.

The storm clouds converging on the Isle of Sheppey, as we picnicked on the beach, a few weeks ago were a wonderful sight. If I’d had my wet weather gear I could have happily stayed there to watch the full show! I suspect I would have lost my ride though 😉

This second, colour image is from the same spot looking across the Medway and the Thames Estuary toward Southend. We were clearly able see the shoreline and the town itself just five minutes before the clouds devoured it from out sight. There’s nothing quite like a good Summer storm!

Summer Storm

Both of these images were processed in Lightroom with the Nik Software plugin, using Silver Efex Pro and Colour Efex Pro.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag


Weekly Photo Challenge: Zigzag

I have to thank my friend Julia K for providing the subject matter and inspiration for this week’s challenge! Julia has long been a fan of my abstract work, her words of encouragement and genuine delight are succour to this artist’s soul.

Julia recently completed work on her own music-recording studio and rehearsal room. It’s truly fantastic! I just love some of the finishing touches too, like these antique-style, zigzag light bulbs! I had great fun with these manual focus, macro shots and the post-processing in Lightroom. If any of you were curious about my Silent Sunday image, it was a defocussed photo of one of these bulbs! I love painting with light 🙂


Monochrome Madness: Tips On Processing

Clint in B&W

Monochrome Madness: Tips On Processing

Monochrome Madness has reached its 22nd week and is still full of surprises and diversity! Thank you to Leanne Cole and Laura Macky for bringing us all together.

I wanted to talk about the processing that went into creating my image for this weeks challenge. I spotted this beautiful horse, a show jumper called Clint, at the Elm Lane Stables where young Mylie was competing in her first show.

He was braying for my attention and I couldn’t resist! Such beautiful lines and markings, he reminded me so much of some of the horses that I used to love painting and sketching.

His pasture was elevated from my position which enabled me to get a great base image of his profile against the sky from which I could work on to get the look I wanted.



I imported my original image into Lightroom to get all my levels, hues, saturation and contrast right. I also cleaned up the foreground, removing the strands of grass and thistle with the cloning tool.

First edit in Lightroom

I really like this edit, it’s soft and natural. However, I really wanted to get the look of a pencil or charcoal drawing. I tried a monochrome edit in the Nik Software plugin but I wasn’t happy with the results this time. I just couldn’t quite get the detail right!

Nik Software edit

At this stage I imported my first Lightroom edit into Photoshop CC to make use of some of my customisable Action Pre-sets and brush tools. I was able to isolate my subject using the wand and selection tools to get a crisp white background. I managed to achieve a really punchy, vibrant edit, reminiscent of a pastel drawing, which I accentuated using the smudge and blur tools.

Final Colour Edit

I then used the Greater Than Gatsby Timeless Black and White Action, with a few custom tweaks for my Monochrome Madness image. Really happy with it and I hope you like it too! Here’s a gallery to show the evolution from start to finish.