Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Reviewing New Features in Photoshop

 

Some years we just don't get a lot of snow, and when we do it is not necessarily when I'm available to photograph it. In December I visited our historic downtown area in St. Charles and took a photo of their lovely, decorated tree and sleigh. I thought to myself that it would sure look great with a little snow around it.

Winter Scene in Photo Shop

When I got home and edited my photos from my trip on Main Street, I decided to try some of the new Neural Filters in Photoshop.  I opened my photo in PS and then went to the filter tab.  I clicked on Neural Filters and when that box opened up, I looked down the left column and clicked on the landscape feature.  I now had several options at that top showing various landscape scenes.  I clicked on one showing a winter scene with snow and it was quickly applied to my photo with the result you see in the photo above.  Here is what the original photo looked like.

I really think this feature could work well in creating a winter holiday card.  Here is another before and after in using this feature.  This one is a photo of the visitor center all decked out for the holidays.
Here is the before photo.
St. Charles Visitor Center


The photo below is after I applied the neural filter in Photoshop using the landscape feature and then choosing the winter scene.  I used it for a photo challenge called "cold as ice" and I certainly think it gives you that feeling.
Photo with Winter filter Applied


More Neural Filter Choices in Photoshop

There are quite a few different filter choices in the 2021 updates.  Along with the winter scene there are also landscape choices where you chose what season you would like to make your photo.  Here is a photo I took at a farm at the beginning of autumn before the colors were really popping.  I used the autumn filter to give it a real autumn color scheme.
Autumn at the Farm

Another series of filters in the neural filter line is the artist series.  In this group of filters, the styles are changed to fit various artists styles.  You might find a Monet style or a Van Gogh style among many other styles.  The artists are not listed, you just have to recognize their styles.  That is one thing I hope they will change in the future.  I would love to know what artists style each filter is emulating. Here is a barn door photo that I took at a farm and then edited it using the first artists filter available in the artist section.
New Artist Style #1




Purchase Creative Cloud Subscription


I love my Creative Cloud subscription.  It gives me access to Photoshop and Lightroom and gives me all updates as they become available.  It is cost effective at only $9.99 a month.





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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Reviewing New 2021 Updates in Lightroom


Tractor Edited with Vintage Preset

In October of 2021 Adobe Creative Cloud introduced a series of updates to their photo editing programs.  My favorite program in the Creative Cloud is Lightroom Classic and I am very excited about all of the updates that were included in the latest version.

Presets

One of the updates in Lightroom Classic is a number of new presets that are available to the user.  Presets are a series of editing features that are put together to give a certain look or feel to a photograph.  With these presets the photographer can give a slight change to the photograph in just one click.  Some of the presets included in the new update were ones for portraits, landscapes, vintage looks, retro looks, black and white and many more.  In the photo at the top of this page I took a photo of an old tractor and used one of the vintage presets on it. In deciding which preset to use I merely ran my mouse over each choice and a preview of the photo with that preset was displayed.  I then chose the one that I felt best fit the mood I was looking to create.

Masking

The biggest and I believe the best new feature is the Masking feature.  In this feature all of the local adjustment tabs were merged into a single masking icon.   The existing adjustment tools were all moved to this icon and in addition two new options were added.  These are the options I am really excited about and feel I will use often.  They are Select Sky and Select Subject.  These options use artificial intelligence to select the sky, people, animals and other object in the photo.  You then have the ability to easily adjust just the selected objects.  Let me show you with a few examples.

Select Subject

Often, I have a great photo of a subject, but the background is too cluttered.  In this photo my husband is seated in front of a busy looking bookshelf.  I was able to use the Select Subject and with just a couple of clicks I selected his photo and then was able to pull the exposure all the way down on the background to turn in black.

I will give you another example.  In this photo you see a bird but it is really not standing out in the photo.  Here is the original.

Here is the same photo with the bird really standing out.

Here are the editing steps I took to create this look.  First of all I cropped the photo to pull the bird in close.  Next I used the mask feature and did a Select Subject to isolate the bird.  After that I inverted the mask to have the background selected and I played with the various sliders to get the background I wanted.  In this case I used the exposure, temp, tint, clarity and dehaze sliders.  All of this took just a couple of minutes and I believe I went from a mediocre photo to one I really like.

Select Sky

I have often gotten a great photo of a subject but was very disappointed with the sky.  I knew I could fix the sky, but this was often very time consuming.  With the new Select Sky feature I can now change the sky in seconds.  Here is an example of one photo I took on a day when it was very cloudy but the direction the photo was taken from made the sky appear very plain.  First the original photo.

I took this photo and went into the Masking feature and did a Select Sky.  I then used the dehaze and texture sliders to give more depth to the sky.  Here is the resulting photo, which I like much better.

Here is the software I use for editing.  I love how easy it is to use and of course the results.
 




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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving from Review This Reviews

 

Happy Thanksgiving
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA.  From the Staff of Review This Reviews we wish you a very Happy and Thankful Day.

Thanksgiving Day History

On this Thanksgiving Day, I thought I would share a few history facts for your enjoyment.  If you'd like you could use these to share or quiz family and friends as you gather for the holiday.  They could make great conversation starters too.   My reference for this information is history.com.  
  • It is commonly thought that 1621 was the year of the first Thanksgiving in America.  During the fall of this year the Colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared a feast to celebrate the harvest.
  • The first Thanksgiving was not just one day but was a three-day festival.
  • The most likely menu for this feast was deer, Indian corn, fowl, barley and nuts, lobster and mussels.
  • This first feast did not become an annual tradition for centuries later.
  • In 1789 George Washington declared a national holiday for Thanksgiving and it was celebrated that year on Thursday, November 26th.  But still it did not become an annual holiday nationwide.
  • In 1827 Sarah Josephia Hale (she is an author best known for the writing the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb") started a 30-year campaign to make Thanksgiving an annual holiday.  She even published recipe cards for Turkey, Stuffing, and Pumpkin Pie.

  • Finally in 1863 during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving to be held each year in November.

Thanksgiving Traditions Today

Menu

Today the most common Thanksgiving menus include:
  • Turkey
  • Dressing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Pie
After these staples that are common to most American households each family adds their own touch to the Thanksgiving feast.  In our family we add green bean casserole, hot rolls, and a sweet potato dish with a sweet topping.

Parades

Another tradition in America is the Thanksgiving Parade.  For those that don't go to a parade they may watch the big Thanksgiving Day parade from New York City on television.

Volunteering

Volunteerism is big on Thanksgiving too.  Communities collect food for the needy and serve hot meals for those less fortunate.

Pardoning a Turkey

In 1989 President Bush came up with a new quirky tradition of pardoning a turkey.  This tradition has carried on with each President since that time.  This is a fun tradition that is seen on the "news" each year.  The turkey will then be able to live out its life on a farm.

Fall Harvest

As you and your family celebrate the holiday may you take time out to remember to be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving 



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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Autumn Colors in Missouri 2021

 

Fall Color November 2021

I love the beautiful colors of Autumn.  It is my favorite time of the year and after the long hot summer I am always looking forward to the cool, crisp days of Autumn.  This year the hot days of summer seemed to never stop, in fact they carried on well into September.  This delayed the beautiful colors of Autumn to well into October and in my area the peak didn't come till the first week in November.

Peak Colors in Missouri

In order to discover what is normal for peak colors in Missouri I went online and read the Missouri Conservation website.  
That site lists the normal time for Autumn colors beginning about the middle of September, with the peak being by mid October.  But as you can see in the photo below at my home in the St. Louis Missouri area the changing colors were only beginning at the time of the Autumnal Equinox on September 22.
View from my Deck
Here is a photo from a walk in the park in mid September when the leaves are getting a tinge of color.
September

The Missouri Conservation website states that predicting fall color in Missouri can be difficult.  Missouri is blessed with a large variety of bushes, shrubs and trees which change colors at different rates.  The entire autumn color season will last from 4-6 weeks and where the best colors are best will change according to what varieties of foliage is in a particular area.  The changing of colors in Missouri start in the northern part of the state and progress southward.  The weather plays a big part in when the colors change.  This year we had 90 degree temperatures into September and high 80's into October.  This set records for one of the warmest falls on record.  These temperatures delayed the fall colors.

What Makes Leaves Change Color

For a review on what makes leaves change color I looked online for some basic information.  I found out that leaves are green because of chlorophyll production and lots of chlorophyll produces green color and mask any colors underneath.  Light regulates chlorophyll production so the shorter days of Autumn produce less light and thus less chlorophyll production.  The photo below shows a tree in my front yard as the days are getting shorter and the green is disappearing.

Peak Colors for 2021

Today is November 5th and the colors are really starting to pop.  The television newscasters last night said that the next week will be our peak colors.  Here are a few photos I took yesterday.   I love the bright colors.


November 10th Update

Here is an update on the colors from my front porch on November 10th.  The colors are certainly vibrant now.



Zazzle Products from My Autumn Photos

Autumn  photos are great for cards, mugs and other products I make on Zazzle.




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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Review of Origami in the Garden

Flying Folds

 Are you fascinated by Origami? Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into shapes that look like animals, birds, etc. I always wanted to learn origami, and several years ago I took a short course on origami while I was on a cruise ship.  What I thought would be very easy, was not easy at all.  I felt like I was all thumbs trying to put together a very basic form.  

I recently was able to view an awesome exhibit of origami, taken to a whole new level.  This exhibit was featured this summer and early fall at Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. It features sculptures by Santa Fe artists Jennifer and Kevin Box.  These sculptures were created in collaboration with world renowned origami artists.  The large metal sculptures use a lost-wax casting and fabrication.  Each sculpture glorifies the art of origami through museum quality metals.  They are really something to behold.

There were 18 sculptures placed throughout the gardens. In this review I will share some of my favorite sculptures and tell you a little bit about each one.

 Crane Unfolding



The first sculpture we saw when we entered the garden was the one pictured above.   In this beautiful sculpture you can see a crane emerging from a single piece of paper through the folding process to the finished crane.
Here is the sign by the sculpture that expresses what the artist felt.


Rising Cranes


This sculpture depicts a number of cranes rising from a rock base.  This sculpture was set in a small water feature at the garden and I like the way the sculpture is reflected in the water.

 Emerging Peace


This sculpture is a favorite of mine.  It depicts a butterfly starting out as a caterpillar and finally a beautiful butterfly.  I like the write up on the sign below.


Hero's Horse


I love the sculpture of the horse and the message it sends.  It looks great among the trees in the park.  Here is the sign by the horse.


Master Peace

Asian legend says that if you fold 1000 cranes in a year you will be granted a wish.  The artists who created these sculptures created 1000 cranes and wished for peace.  This sculpture is called "Master Peace" and is made up of 500 of their cranes.  The other 500 cranes are scattered throughout the world.


The sculpture stands tall in the pond in front of the climatron ( a wonderful indoor feature of the garden).  Below is a close up photo I took showing a section of the sculpture.


White Bison

The White Bison were displayed alongside one of the paths in the garden.  I thought they were very interesting in their two tone look.



Rock, Paper, Scissors

This simple hand gesture game is played throughout the world.  I was fascinated to read that it originated in Asia in 200 BC.  It evolved over the years and today uses three common items.  Here is the sculpture depicting the game.


Paper Navigators

The last sculptures in this review are the boats that were placed in the pond in the Japanese garden section of the Missouri Botanical Garden.  They  can be seen as you take the path around the pond. I like the way the sculptures are reflected in the pond.



This is just a small selection of the sculptures that were shown at our botanical garden.  The sculptures will be taken down soon.  I hope you will be able to view them if they come to a gardens near you.

Learning Origami

If you are interested in learning origami you might want to try one of these books offered at Amazon.

 





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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Review of Sunflower Facts and Photographs

Fields of Sunflowers


Each year during the month of July, I anxiously wait for the sunflower fields to bloom.  Several years ago I discovered some sunflower fields in the Missouri river bottom land about 10 miles from my house.  My granddaughters were visiting and I took them to the fields to take some photographs.  I wrote this article telling about my experience in photographing the sunflowers. Photographing Sunflowers   

Before they Bloom

In reading about sunflowers I have found that there are actually five stages in the life of the sunflower.  Three of those stages take place before they bloom.
 
1.  The first stage, the germination stage, takes places when the seeds are planted.  This stages takes about eight days.  After the seeds are planted the roots develop and seep into the ground and then a shoot will start peaking out of the ground in search of sunlight that it needs to grow.
 
2.  The second stage is called the vegetative phase.  During the first 13 days after the seedling starts its  growth toward the sun it is in the vegetative emergence stage.  Then the first leaf comes and it is now in stage 1 of the vegetative phase, a second leaf comes and it is now in stage 2, this keeps on as  more leaves are added to the stalk.
 
3.  The third stage is called the reproduction phase.  In this stage a bud will form between the cluster of leaves.  It will initially be star like in appearance but in time will grow into the tall beautiful plants with bright yellow flowers that we know so well.  This whole stage takes about 30 days.  In our area I know that this stage should be coming to an end in mid to late July.  This year I was out with friends in mid July and we decided to take a drive to see how the sunflower fields were coming along.  They were right in the middle of the reproductive stage and I got some nice  photos of the flowers in this stage.
Reproductive Phase


Blooming Stage

During the blooming stage the sunflowers are in full bloom. During this phase you will see lots of bees busy fertilizing and pollinating the flowers.  This stage will only last for about 20 days so I knew I had to get back to the fields quickly if I wanted to see the fields in full bloom.  Fortunately about a week after my first visit a friend posted some photos  showing the flowers in full bloom.  I grabbed my camera and hopped in my car and headed right out to take some photos.  I was rewarded with the following glorious sights.




Harvesting Phase

After the blooms are finished the seeds are harvested.  You will want to wait till the flowers turn brown and start to bloom and then you cut the stems about 4 inches from the head of the flowers. Sunflower heads should be stored upside down in a dry and breathable bag.

Sunflowers are annuals so they must be replanted each year.

Fun Facts and more Sunflower Photos

The Sunflower has been named the plant of the year for 2021.  In her review of this information, Olivia Morris shares more fun facts and photos about the Sunflower.  Hope for the New Year Sunflowers Plant

Zazzle Products from My Photographs

I enjoy making cards and other Zazzle products from my photos.  Here are a couple I hope you like.



Here some more Zazzle Sunflower gifts from my photographs.

 




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