Saturday, October 31, 2009

Barge through the mist

Another from my misty day shoot!
This time along our famous Beziers 'Canal du Midi', built by Paul Riquet
The most famous son of our city of Beziers.

It connects the French Atlantic West-coast with the French Mediterranean, a huge feat of civil engineering for its time.

This barge appeared out of the dark mist, looming and silent, the light was all I could see for several moments,
then the boats prow and the guy steering.

For this image, I didn't do much at all, I just used our Apple Blush texture twice, first the normal way in Overlay @ 43%
then I flipped it, to get some of the warm tones on the other sides trees, but needed to brush out a little from the middle.
This texture was also in Overlay mode but at 47%
A final tweak was necessarily with curves to bring out the tones.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pines in the mist

A rare misty day in our part of the world.
These mists are so far and few I have to dash out with my camera!
This picture was taken on a strange atmospheric hill that sticks out of the old sea marshes, or 'Etang' in French.
It now rises out of a sea of golden vineyards.

On top was a Roman settlement, guarding the road to Narbonne,  called Oppidum in those days an important sea port, now silted up and landlocked for over a thousand years.
On top of the hill, there have been archeological digs for more than one hundred years.
It's 'Necropolis' was a veritable treasure trove, its bounty being so rich that a Roman Museum was built on top of the hill to house the finds.
The Romans were finally forced to abandon this strategic hill after the area became Malaria infested.

The order of Textures can be important,
so I'm showing a screen shot of my layers, I list them from bottom up.

Raw Linen - Multiply opacity @ 39%
Apple Blush - Overlay opacity @ 73%
Apple Blush - Soft Light opacity @ 68%
Bruised Saffron - Soft light opacity @ 23%
Raw Linen - Linear Burn opacity @ %19
(both Raw linen textures were blurred)
The top layer is a copy of the trees placed on top of the textures to bring them out of the textural mist!
Top image copy - Soft Light opacity @ %100

To see the brightend version - with curves, please go to my Paul Grand flickr site

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Family Walk

Another day another beach! I took this last weekend when we went for a quick walk at Doctors Point near Dunedin. Since my family isn't cooperative when it comes to photos I have to make the most of any opportunities when it comes to getting some human interest in my photos, taking photos of distant strangers for example :-)

I processed this using Shagreen Bone at Overlay 63%
Followed by Caramel Soft at Overlay 100%
As well as adding texture the Caramel Soft layer also gave the photo most of the warm colour you see, in fact it added a bit much warmth to the sky so I added a layer mask to that layer and using a large soft brush set at about 32% opacity and removed a bit of the texture from the sky.
After the additon of a curves layer to tweak the tone and contrast, I called it done!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the sea bobber!

As requested, we now start to tackle live subjects!
This image is from a shoot with a charming Danish Family.
Its hard to believe that just a month ago we were still sea bathing!

I don't recommend standing in the sea with an expensive camera, but if that's what it takes to get a natural shot, who am I to argue?

Okay, to bring your 'family photos' up a level,
try this blend of Flypaper textures.
Just three were used with these levels;

Apple Blush with Soft light @ 100%
Orient express with Soft light @ 39%
Pompeii Stucco With Overlay @ 39%

To keep the skin nice and smooth (flattering) I simply painted over each texture covering just the boy with the blur tool.
This keeps the same rich colour values as the surround but stops the skin from looking 'dirty'.
I'm sure his mom will approve of that! :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

La tour romane

This 10th century Franco Roman tower is just outside the medieval village of Puissalicon.
Its just a short 10 min drive north from my coastally situated Beziers.
known as a veritable masterpiece of Romanesque art in Languedoc.
Its 4.3m wide and stands at 26m.
It was built as a bell tower for the church of Saint Etienne de Peazan priory.
These buildings are now lost in the mists of time, probably during the wars of religion. All that remains is a fragment of an arch top, left on display at the base of the tower. This tour is one of the most precious monuments of the region of Beziers.

I was very lucky to find this tour bathed in a biblical light, seeing this site much as the original 10th century Gallo-Romano people saw it.

Shot with a polarizor, using just 3 simple flypaper textures.
For the PP I upped the colour/brightness values and then used these textures:

Apple Blush with Soft light opacity @ 100%
Caramel Soft with Soft light opacity @ 100%
Orient Express with Overlay opacity @ 43%, Fill @ 72%

When I don't add the'Fill level', Its left at 100%.
If you have no Fill, you can just ignore this slider setting.

To see the full landscape version, please go to my Paul Grand flickr site!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Flying Lessons (or Gull ballet)

Another from a visit to the beach the other day!
Quite a bit of work went into this one to get the "look" I wanted.
First I duplicated the background and blurred it using a lens blur, and using a layer mask removed some of the blur from the central portion of the photo.
The textures I used were Grande Tour Soft light 33%
Nora Batty Soft light 44%
Shagreen Bone..Screen 19% with a mask added to remove some of the texture effect from the gulls.
Apple Blush Soft light 50%
and finally Grosgrain Overlay 55%
A curves layer was added to tweak the colours.

Remember that these recipes are just a guide, you'd get a totally different result with a different photo so "play", it's what I do :-)

Saturday, October 24, 2009


This is in the south of France in my local languedoc area.
There were many old windmills, but these are fast disappearing.
This one overlooks my old village as seen from a farmers side road.
I'd never seen it before the other evening!

For this bucolic sunset scene I used three flypaper textures,
two of them doubled.
Bruised Saffron Soft light Opacity @ 71% Fill 62%
Bruised Saffron Soft light Opacity @ 23% Fill 45%
Necropolis Soft light Opacity @100% Fill 79%
Apple Blush Overlay @ 71%
Apple Blush Soft light Opacity @ 100% Fill 83%
To finish I adjusted the Hue/Saturation colour,
which can be found at the top.
I didn't do much, I just helped the sky colour become slightly greener.

Once again you'll see I cloned out an object in the bottom left-hand corner!:-)
And if you'd like to see the full size landscape image,
please look at my 'Paul Grand' on flickr!

The castle...

This was taken after a lovely walk on my favourite beach. These two little girls were busily building a sandcastle when a wave came and washed away most of their hard work as often happens. Although this looks warm it was quite chilly but being kids they were obviously too caught up in what they were doing to notice. Their father was just a little further up the beach, well wrapped in a jacket!

I processed this using a layer of Grande Tour at Overlay 71%
Followed by a layer of Dangerous Liaisons at Colour burn 26%, this gave the photo the turquoise colour and as the crease in the texture didn't add anything to the photo I used the patch tool to remove it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

over a hill

During the golden hour, I came across a vineyard bordering a pine woods, and had to stop for a quick shoot.
Its a simple two texture combo, Caramel Soft (full blur) with the soft light setting @ opacity 92%.
Necropolis again with soft light @ 100% opacity and fill @ 79%.
A slight vignette was also used to give more depth to the edges.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Another rediscovered shot taken in my basement studio, an accumulation of beach treasures.
Since the original was fairly dark but had good lighting I decided on a fairly "light" approach when processing and just added texture to give the photo a little more depth.
I used Caramel soft which had it's colour adjusted with a hue saturation layer to get a more neutral colour at Soft light 100% and a layer of Grosgrain multiply 72% this made the overall photo darker so I added a layer mask and removed some of the texture from the central portion.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

nights backcloth

Whilst driving home from Carcassonne one blustery day last January,
I came across this tree nursery, growing on the banks of a flooding river near our famous Olive Oil factory, the Coopérative Oléicole L'Oulibo, Bize-Minervois

The setting sun lit up these trees like a stage-set!
If you look closely you'll see I've removed the tips of an olive tree in the bottom left hand corner.
Moments after I took these pictures using a polarizer, storm clouds brought the whole scene back into winter..

Firstly, I just used one texture twice.
Dangerous Liaisons @ Linear light, opacity 58%,fill 45%
Dangerous Liaisons again, but this time with full Gaussian Blur,@ 32% opacity, fill 45%
After several colour tweaks and differing adjusted layers I finished with a smooth Grosgrain @ 30% opacity and 20% fill.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


These trees are a feature of the coast in the beautiful Catlins area in the south of New Zealand. The wind comes off the sea and sculpts the trees to these wonderfully surreal shapes.
I processed this fairly lightly with Soft Caramel soft light 67% , Bruised Saffron multiply 17%and a touch of Raw Linen overlay 14%.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Harvest Tractor

One for the guys?
Found in the corner of a field, this retro tractor seemed abandoned but probably wasn't. I was struck by its white hand painted bonnet.
If you look closer at the 'before' image, you'll see I've removed a white twig from the bottom right, as it was catching my eye too much...

For this rich harvest look, I used;
Dangerous Liaisons with Multiply @ opacity 71%, fill - 48%
Caramel soft with overlay @ opacity 62%, fill - 54
Elysium with soft light @ opacity - 17%

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Blues

Another photo shoot with the forget-me-nots, flowers are so much easier to photograph than people :-)
This was taken with my macro lens and cropped square.
I processed it using Tarte Tatin at overlay 22 % and Pompeii Stucco at Screen 40% I used a layer mask to remove some of the texture from the focus flower on the screen layer.
Then I used two adjustment layers to tweak the tone and contrast, a curves and a selective colour one.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Last snow

For this misty winter farm-track scene I used;
Apple blush @ Vivid light - Opacity 37% Fill 34%
Grosgrain @ Hard Light - Opacity 27%, Fill 28%
Caramel soft @ Opacity 86%, Fill 100%

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Patong beach in Phuket

To spice up this Thai beach landscape I used just one Flypaper texture,
Apple Crumble @ Full Blur filter mode and Overlay @ 82%.

This resort was badly damaged by the tsunami several years ago.
Many locals and visitors lost their lives.
Patong in Phuket, pictured above was also the location for the opening scenes from'The Beach' movie. Leonardo DiCaprio booked into a hotel in the middle distance, where he meets 'Daffy'.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Stormy Sea

Anyone who follows my photos will know I love walking on the beach and we're so lucky here to have so many readily accessible beaches nearby. This was taken on a stormy day back in May when there was a dramatic big surf and stormy sky. The original photo included the top of a small bank where I stood as I was taking the photo, so I cropped that out and then to get the proportions right had to replace the sky with one from another photo taken the same day.

I added a layer of Grosgrain at Overlay 100%, which had it's colour made slightly less green by using a hue saturation layer.
Then I added a layer of Shagreen bone, at Multiply 85%
The colour was tweaked with a curves layer, then finally there was a levels adjustment to tweak the tone.
Here's the final layers palette -sorry I always forget to name my layers as I should :-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rosa Antiquus (with recipe)

I rediscovered this one when I was hunting for something to process earlier, my archives are full of things I've forgotten about -mainly because I have such a hard time finding anything!
Anyway...after much playing with different texture combinations and then tying to get the tone "just right" this is what I came up with.
Necropolis -Overlay 46%
Bruised Saffron Soft light 29%
Raw Linen Soft light 43% (with a layer mask added and the texture removed a bit from the rose)
The texturing done, I added a curves layer to tweak the contrast and colour a little, and then I used a Black and White adjustment layer at Luminosity blending mode, which gave a subtle lift to the colour.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The bluebells in my garden are in full bloom at the moment, they may not live up to my dream of an English bluebell wood but they're lovely anyway.

These were processed relatively quickly ( I say quickly because sometimes my processing can take hours and this one took minutes)...with a layer of Shagreen Bone at Overlay 69% and a layer of my favourite Apple Blush Soft Light 52%

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

l'ennui du dimanche

I spotted this wonderfully lit building whilst coming out of a Beziers art gallery one Sunday afternoon, the weather was a little washed out and everything looked bleached gray except this eighteenth century building painted a cool shade of ocher.
Naturally, when I uploaded it was washed out too..:-/
So out came the rich flypaper textures to inject that lost light and atmosphere!
This time I used some of the textures doubled up.

I used Pompeii stucco @ soft light opacity 46%
Necropolis @ overlay opacity 34%
Necropolis again @ fill opacity 61%
Elysium (twice) @ multiply opacity 37%, - fill @ 40%
Raw Linen (twice) @ soft light opacity 87%
Caramel soft @ soft light - fill 61%

The green shutter colour is a traditional Provincial moss green, however in this area the shutters are normally a pale pastel gray/blue,
this is used to help keep the flies away!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


These lovely little forget-me-nots grow like a weed in my garden, I can see why they're so successful at spreading too, as their seeds tend to stick to your clothes in a big way! Of course I don't mind their weedy tendencies at all, in fact they're one of my favourite spring flowers, tiny as they are.

These ones were processed simply using a layer of Apple Blush at overlay 64% (blurred slightly) and a layer of Shargreen Bone at Softlight 55%. To keep the blue of the main flowers I added a layer mask to both texture layers and removed some of the texture from just the flowers.

For those of you who are new to textures we are hoping to do a beginners texture tutorial sometime soon but in the meantime we found this video tutorial on YouTube that might help you understand the basics in photoshop at least.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ginkgo (with recipe)

Another archive shot from my "famous" basement! When you're using textures, it often pays to try out lots of different blending modes as sometimes the ones you'd not think would work give great results.
In this photo for example I used a couple of blending modes I don't often use, namely vivid light and linear burn, at 100% opacity they looked awful but used sparingly, they worked well.
Here's the "recipe".
Raw Linen at Vivid light 45%
another layer of Raw Linen but this time at Overlay 39%
And then a layer of Dove Grey Linear Burn 11%
Followed by a curves layer just to tweak the contrast a little.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

visitor from the past

A simple use of Flypapers Raw Linen in full blur mode.
Blend hard light Opacity was 100%, fill Opacity @ 94%

Necropolis texture was used to finish.
Blend soft light 48% and fill opacity @ 57%.
Just these two textures were used to create an almost 'sepia effect'
of a visitor, perhaps from the past.

Friday, October 2, 2009

View from St Nazaire

This is a favorite view of mine, taken from St Nazaire cathedral
in Beziers, looking N/West.  The water mill is best seen in winter because the trees obscure its view.

In this image I wanted to be rid of the pesky houses at the bottom,
so I simply cloned them out!  It took over one and a half hours, but I think it was worth it..

I'm showing a screen shot of my layers, (Click for a bigger view)
You'll see I've used Liaisons and Necropolis
Liaisons is - Multiply - Opacity @ 100% - Blending @ 84%
Necropolis is - Color Burn Opacity @ 51% - Blending @ 31%

To achieve the painterly effect, I simply use the 'Colour Noise filter' at a very low setting, I then sharpen this with 'Poster Edges' Filter at around 10%.  This pulls it together again, the other layers are those with various light levels at differing depths.