From my window: Saturday morning bonus

Last evening’s sunset was, I feel, the most spectacular I’ve photographed in the almost-six and a half years I’ve lived here.

What do you think?

???????????????????????????????

*

???????????????????????????????

*

???????????????????????????????

*

The tall church spire is approximately three miles away (as the crow flies)...and my little Nikon did its best, with a bit of help from Photoshop (TM)!

The tall church spire is approximately three miles away in downtown Evanston (as the crow flies)…and my little Nikon did its best, with a bit of help from Photoshop (TM)!

Advertisements

‘Playing’ with Peonies

I found some gorgeous Peonies in full bloom on my mile walk to the pharmacy the other day…but I really didn’t care for the way the images turned out…so, of course, this morning I decided to ‘play’ a bit!

The original, as the camera saw it

The original, as the camera saw it

 

The intermediate, after straightening, cropping, utilizing Selective Color, and lots of Burning and Dodging

The intermediate, after straightening, cropping, utilizing Selective Color, and lots of Burning and Dodging

 

The final, with a Watercolor treatment, more Selective color and, of course, more Burning and Dodging

The final, with a Watercolor treatment, more Selective Color adjustments and, of course, more Burning and Dodging

I didn’t realize the next image featured a fly and the eyes of two ‘garden decor’ deer until I uploaded.

The original

The original

I decided to get rid of the faux deer–a good choice, in my opinion!

The intermediate, after cropping and utilizing Selective Color, Burning and Dodging

The intermediate, after cropping and utilizing Selective Color, Burning and Dodging

Photoshop’s Artistic Ocean Ripple filter has never really appealed to me–until I ‘played’ with it on this image…and found it added some interest to a very ordinary photo of a Peony.

The final, with more adjustments of Selective Color, Burning, Dodging and the Artistic Ocean Ripple filter added at the last

The final, with more adjustments of Selective Color, Burning, Dodging and the Artistic Ocean Ripple filter added at the last

Combined, these two images took about an hour to process, and the results were entirely worth spending the time to make the ordinary a bit ‘extraordinary’!

You might ask why I bother transforming what are considered dull images?

My answer:

“Because for me, it’s fun…and everyone needs SOME fun in their lives, don’t they?!?”

From my window: Sunrise…Sunset

This morning, A nice, warm glow, summoned me to my east window, and of course, I took the camera with!

This morning, A nice, warm glow, summoned me to my east window which overlooks Lake Michigan, and of course, I took the camera with!

This was the view to the north, overlooking Farcroft and the City of Evanston high-rise.

This was the view to the north, overlooking Farcroft and the City of Evanston high-rise.

N.B.:  The two images above are ‘straight from the camera’…all I did was crop them a bit.

Now is the time of year when the rising and setting sun reflect perfectly in the windows of Evanston’s tallest buildings.  It’s just barely touching the CBRE Building, (where the Chase Bank is located…the dark one above), which looked like this at sunset just four evenings ago, on the 15th:

Believe me, it is a sight to behold, and only lasts for a few minutes!  But, I do look forward to these displays, and happy I was here to catch this one, in particular!

Believe me, it is a sight to behold, and only lasts for a few minutes! But, I do look forward to these displays, and happy I was here to catch this one, in particular!

January’s Seed Pods

The bush on which these open seed pods reside is really unidentifiable to me...I cannot recall the shape of the leaves, but the pods are situated only at the top of each branch.Nonetheless, I find them very beautiful...and somewhat mysterious!

The bush on which these open seed pods reside is really unidentifiable to me…I cannot recall the shape of the leaves, but the pods are situated only at the top of each branch.
Nonetheless, I find them very beautiful…and somewhat mysterious!

 

Another group of seed pods I can't seem to identify!  These are not quite as open as those above...some still contain small seeds encased in a hairy-type fiber.Yet again they are beautiful, when drying and dying!

Another group of seed pods I can’t seem to identify! These are not quite as open as those above…some still contain small seeds encased in a hairy-type fiber.
Yet again they are beautiful, when drying and dying!

Although today was the beginning…

…of meteorological Winter, there is still a rainbow of colors to be found in Nature!

Late Autumn Rose

Late Autumn Rose

Late Autumn Leaves

Late Autumn Leaves

Many of you may realize I’m in love…

…with Nature, and all the beauty it grants us!  The following image was taken during the third week of October at a building a block away.

Branches and Shadows-Original

I really liked the tree, the shadows and the few remaining leaves…but I hated the color of the brick, because it just didn’t allow Nature to show off these gorgeous leaves!

Working in Photoshop (TM) with Selective Color and Contrast, I reduced the reds and yellows until the brick looked right…but the leaves became so very pale.

Utilizing the Lasso, I isolated the leaves (several at a time) and tinted them with several passes of a low-opacity suitable color…

Branches and Shadows-1

Branches and Shadows-2

…finally adding some vignetting (found in the Lens Correction filter), using Sharpen Edges filter, and a small amount of Gaussian Blur.

Branches and Shadows-3

Kind of harsh-looking, isn’t it?  I took care of that by adding a bit more Gaussian Blur (0.3) and lessening the Contrast (-36)…e voila!

Branches and Shadows-4

For the final image, Saturation was taken down (-12) and Lighten was added (+3)…and NOW I’m satisfied and hope this helped you to understand some of the FUN I have and the lengths I go to in order to present Nature’s beauty!

Branches and Shadows-Final