Thursday, December 31, 2009

Moon tree ~ Bonne année !

From Jill and I we'd like to wish you all a gilded Bonne année!
Its funny how the best shots are never planned!
Yesterday, as it was sunny, I went for a drive in search of fresh images.
Its continually maddening that all the best views are from our motorways and they are impossible to access without doing huge detours!
However, thus armed I left the motorway and snaked my way home via the normal slower side roads, capturing a few views I was after.
I saw this view from a side road I'd been turning the car from,
looking back towards the East the moon had come up over a hill, framed by this scraggly old fruit tree glowing with the sun set golden light!

I used my 75-300m zoom lens, turned the camera portrait wise and took several panning shots of this scene.
Back at home I joined them in my trusty Autopanopro program to make a huge landscape version first.
This image is a later Square crop of only half the image.

Apple Blush - Opacity - soft light @ 43%
Lost Void - Opacity - Overlay @ 33%
Muscatel - - Opacity - Overlay @ 50%
Colosseum Sienna - - Opacity - soft light @ 47%
Necropolis (turned to indigo blue) - Opacity - soft light @ 49%
Caramel Soft - Opacity - soft light @ 39%
I then flattened the layers, doubled the base image and turned the top layer to B/W.
I then made this copy a contrasty sepia, this helped bring out the depth.
B/W sepia copy - Opacity - soft light @ 42 %

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009


This was taken one warm summer evening earlier this week when we were visiting family in Alexandra. There's a lovely track alongside the Manuherikea River and these daisies and some wild poppies were growing in the gravel on the river bank.

I processed this by using just two textures, one from Tex Box One and one from Tex Box Two
Colosseum Sienna @ Soft Light 100%
Gosgrain @ Screen 62% with a mask added and some of the texture removed from the focus flowers
Then it was just a matter of adding a curves layer where I tweaked the colour curves this gave much of the green tone you see in the final image.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I've kept this one back a few months because it was a first try-out with the as then unpublished; Lost Void & Lime Plaster textures.
Its just a shot of Geraniums & ivy on our north facing window ledge.
They caught the sunlight glancing off the stone house windows opposite.
I liked the way this texture combination gives a kind of antique glass look. I was pleased with this painterly effect, reminding me of the Paintings of Lucian Freud, the grandson of Sigmond.

This image uses textures from both Box One and Two.

Lost Void - opacity - Soft light @ 100%
Lost Void - opacity - Overlay @ 46%
Lime plaster - opacity - Overlay @ 46%
Apple blush - opacity - Overlay @ 32%
Necropolis (turned to a dark olive green) - opacity - soft Light @ 100%

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Walking the dog

At this time of the year when our evenings are long and it doesn't get dark until around 10pm so we often go for a walk on the beach after dinner.
We weren't alone at the beach this night, as well as the few walkers, runners and dogs there was also a solitary sea-lion basking in the evening sun.
This was taken just before the sun disappeared behind the headland at the south end of the beach.

This was processed fairly simply.
First I duplicated the background and changed the blending mode to Soft light and reduced the opacity to 68%, this had the effect of increasing the contrast a little
The two textures I used were
Muscatel from pack 2 @ Soft Light 65%
Caramel Soft from pack 1 @ overlay 25%

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Butterfly Bliss

Just like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers and viewers and wish everybody from both of us - Happy Holidays!:-)
Here's an oldie but a Goldie, taken with a 75-300m zoom lens in the summer at a small lavender farm at Barjac in the Gard area of the south of France.

Processed first by tone mapping in Photomatrix, to enrich then adding:
Phosphorescence - opacity - Soft Light @ 51%
From Pack One of our Flypapers.
I gave the final image a clean up with a slight paint effect
Reprinted here:
"To achieve the painterly effect, I simply use the 'Colour Noise filter'
at a very low setting, then sharpen this with 'Poster Edges' Filter at around 10%.This pulls it together again, I sometimes also use the
'Paint Daubs' filter at a low setting and then Poster Edges".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Roses

It's Christmas eve here in New Zealand and my Christmas preparations are largely complete thank goodness!! In some ways I envy you northern hemisphere people your winter Christmas celebrations. As well as preparing for Christmas we have to cope with organising summer holidays as most people take their annual leave after Christmas, the end of the school year and the high season in the garden. Tomorrow we intend to have a casual BBQ Christmas dinner with my mothers wonderful whiskey trifle to follow....mmmm!! I love trifle!!

On that note, Paul and I would like to wish all our loyal customers and readers of this blog a very Happy Christmas. and thanks as always for your support, friendship and inspiration.

Anyway back to the photo...this one was processed with several textures from Pack 2 and one from Pack 1
After duplicating the background and cloning out some distractions.
I added a selective colour adjustment, the only colour adjustment I made here was to the neutrals. the settings were Cyan -5, Magenta +10, Yellow -8 and Black +6.
Textures added were
Peach Blush @ Overlay 66%
Peach Blush @ Hardlight 13% masked to remove texture from the key areas.
Ming @ Multiply 56 % this layer had its colour changed with a hue saturation layer so it was warmer.
Archival canvas @Screen 7% masked as before
Archival canvas @ Soft light 100%
Apple Blush @ Overlay 68 %

Happy Holidays (and Texturing) everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

fishing trip

On Sunday afternoon just to curb the midwinter 'Cabin fever'
we drove up towards the mountains. The light was clear and the air was crisp, but this time I diverted, hung a left and drove to 'Lake Salagou'.
Normally its a tourist nightmare, being the biggest and most famous lake in our area of the languedoc, but now in midwinter it's almost deserted, and apart from it being a couple of meters lower than it should after our 10 year drought, looked superb!
These guys were having a great time, all over the place, drinking, and not much catching as it was too cold for fish to bite. The sun was setting, catching a slight mist. These light misty scenes are ideal to texture.
The last two overlays are blurred because I liked the color they gave but wanted to keep the bokeh effect soft.

Textures used are from both packs, using the first listed to the last.

Chlorophyll (Blurred) Opacity - Soft Light @ 19%
Muscatel - Opacity - Soft Light @ 25%
Apple Blush - Opacity - Soft Light @ 44%
Pompeii Stucco - Opacity - Soft Light @ 32%
Phosphorescence - Opacity - Overlay @ 48%
Phosphorescence (Blurred) - Opacity - Overlay @ 22%
Phosphorescence (Blurred) - Opacity - Overlay @ 22%

Friday, December 18, 2009


A flower again, this is an astrantia bloom that I picked on one of my walks and brought home to photograph indoors, it being too windy here at the moment for macros outside. The pink you see in the background is the roses in the blue and white jug from one of my previous photos.

The first thing I did was add a selective colour layer, adjusting the "neutrals" -the sliders were at cyan -12, magenta -11, yellow +1 and black -27.
The textures I used were
Rainbow trout @ Soft Light 69%
Pompeii Stucco @ Soft Light 40%
These two added a very subtle textural depth to the photo
I finished with a curves and levels adjustment for minor tweaks to the tone and contrast.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and stay warm if you're affected by the snow-storms!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

ruined windmill story

Our Southern French countryside is dotted with these ancient stone windmill ruins. There must be hundreds but I've seen only a couple that have been restored. The backdrop being our black mountains, which help to protect our Mediterranean coastal plains from the worst excesses of the northern European winter cold.
The field contains freshly planted vines, the soil disturbance having caused these very fragrant ancient winter flowering weeds to thrive once more. They are pink/white and I have no idea what they might be, we always see them in organic winter vineyards, their perfume is intoxicating, reminding me of carnations. In this image I've tried to evoke that rich, heady scent.

I've used textures from both One and Two from the first used to the last.

Lost Void (upside-down) ~ Overly ~ Opacity @ 26%
Caramel cream ~ Overly ~ Opacity @ 61%
Ordinance Map ~ Color Burn ~ Opacity @ 17%
Antique Liaisons ~ Overly ~ Opacity @ 78%
Raw Linen ~ Soft Light ~ Opacity @ 100%
Chlorophyll ~ Overly ~ Opacity @ 17%
Labyrinth ~ Soft Light ~ Opacity @ 68%

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flypaper Iris

Sometimes when you're texturing it's a toss up between the subtle approach or a heavy treatment. With this iris I spent what seemed like hours trying to get the balance right, it looked nice subtle but in my eyes anyway, looks better with the texture more pronounced.

I processed it using a mix of Textures,
3 textures taken from pack Two and 1 texture from Pack One.
First I duplicated the flower layer and used it with Soft Light @ 24%
this darkened it slightly.
Algae @ Soft Light 63%
Rainbow Trout @ Soft Light 39%
Tarte Tatin @ Soft light 38%
Chlorophyll @ Hardlight 95% desaturated a bit to tone down the green

A layer mask was added to each texture layer and some of the texture was removed from the flower.
I finished with a Levels adjustment to tweak the contrast.

Monday, December 14, 2009

light at the end of the block

I'd been meaning to capture the sun set light on this building for ages, over looking our central market hall, this elegant shop/apartment building must have some very strange shaped rooms!
I've not done much to it, the camera had its polarizor filter on, the textures were just used to bring out the golden tones I saw on the building.

As ever, the textures used are from the first listed to the last.
Textures are from both Tex Box One and Two.

Chlorophyll - opacity - soft light 38%
Caramel Cream - opacity - soft light 76%
Necropolis - opacity - soft light 36%
Copy of base image - opacity - soft light 32%

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Some more roses from my garden, these ones sadly have almost finished flowering and being "old roses" only flower the once each season, but they more than make up for that with the abundance of blossom and wonderful fragrance.
I grew the bush from a cutting I'd appropriated from our local historic cemetery :-)

After my initial square crop and the tidying of a stray petal or two from the bottom I processed this fairly simply with...
Apple Blush from Tex Box 1 @ Soft light 100%
Colosseum Sienna from Tex Box 2 @ Soft Light 100%
I removed a little of the texture from the focus flower using a layer mask.
And tweaked the tone and saturation using curves and hue saturation layers.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Another photo from a day trip to a wonderfully frosty Central Otago last winter -many of my photos that day were taken out the car window, a shooting technique I'm getting very practised at as my driver gets sick of me asking him to stop.

Anyway in this photo I cropped off some of the base (a fence) and added some sky using the clone tool, you'll probably see my rough cloning in the before version, but it doesn't matter too much as texture is wonderful for covering up these things!

Processed using
Lost Void @ Soft Light 100%
Ming @ Overlay 100% desaturated a little using a hue saturation adjustment
Holmes @ Hard Light 100% this texture too had it's hue and saturation adjusted so it fitted the subject better -mainly toning down the yellow a bit.
and that was it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

m e s s e n g e r

A dull afternoon on the beach found me on my knees trying to get a low level shot. Overcast days are perfect to try moody, grainy textures.
The idea behind this picture was 'a Message in a bottle', but from the bottles perspective!
The Lime Plaster somehow helps give that 'old distorted glass effect' .

Tex Pack Two textures were:
Lime Plaster ~ opacity ~ Overlay @ 27%
Lost Void ~ opacity ~ Overlay @ 100%
Lost Void flipped vertical ~ Opacity ~ Overlay @ 100%
Voyageur Map ~ opacity ~ Soft Light @ 97%
Ming ~ opacity ~ Overlay @ 100%
Ming's colour was changed to a Prussian blue with the Hue/Saturation sliders. The combination of Voyageur Map and Ming used here is a real winning combo!
Finally, as I'm all for an easy life, a new thing I've tried is to first re-size my images to 4000 x 4000 Pixels*.
This is the same size as the Flypaper textures. Thus simply enabling dropping of the same size on top of the base image, saving the laborious 'pushing and pulling' our textures into shape! :-)

*Changing to 4000 x 4000 pixels
Firstly, You need to crop your image square, then go to the top of the page and select Image - image size - width, change the top box to 4000 pixels
And make sure your resolution is 300 pixels/inch. Press save.
Its easy:-)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Cecille Brunner is such a pretty little rose, I have the bush variety and it's lovely at this time of the year. My mother used to have the climbing version in her old garden, it was a huge bush which scrambled up an old plum tree and was smothered in blossom and seemed to grow new branches overnight, we had roses in the spring and plums in the summer!

Anyway back to the texturing, as Paul says we've been asked how we go about deciding which textures to use, and for me at least it's all a matter of trial and error especially at the moment when I'm still learning how our textures in the new Tex Box 2 behave with photos. I don't usually have a look in mind when I start processing, but just open some likely looking textures and "play", and if I'm lucky, something works :-)

In this one after the initial square crop (I'm a square addict) I went to our new texture pack and decided on:
Archival Canvas @ Soft Light 100% this added a nice subtle texture and I could've left it like that, but I thought I'd see what some other textures looked like.
Backdrop@ Multiply 100% (which added some depth)
Holmes @ SoftLight 100% for some grunge and to add interest with the banding of this texture at top and bottom.
Copy of original image @ SoftLight 63% this added a little more definition
And it was done!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wall Story

We drove past this windmill many times on the way to the beach,
situated on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean salt marshes.
Thankfully we managed to stop a few times at sunset on route home to capture it on camera.
I was lucky because it was cut down this year, it was really sad to see the top rotors resting in the vines..
It was beautiful lit up at sunset, I even climbed it once!
Martine pretended she didn't know me, but that's another story!:-)

We've been asked about our thought processes when we use textures.
Firstly, if you get the format or crop of the image sorted I think you're halfway there.
Here I noticed the ground at the same level as the texture's skirt,
a lucky marriage made in heaven. The rest just fell into place...

This recipe uses textures from both sets..
As always its the first listed used to the last.

Leaden Hall - Opacity - hard light @ 94%
Copy of base image - Opacity - Luminosity @ 14%
Lime Plaster - Opacity - Color @ 68%
Copy of base image - Opacity - soft light @ 98%
Copy of base image - Opacity - Color @ 34%
Necropolis - Opacity - soft light @ 65%@

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Black Birds ~ Our first guest post !

Lora, who is a semi-professional photographer from Seattle,
wrote to say that she loves our new texture pack and has shared her lovely Black Birds images of before and after and even her recipe!
We hope to showcase more of your donated images and recipes,
just drop us a line! :-)

Lora used Lightroom to crop and did some extra sharpening and exposure adjustment.
All textures used are from the new Tex Box Two!

1st Layer: Algae - overlay @ 88%
2nd Layer: Colosseum Sienna - overlay @ 38%
3rd Layer: Sunflower Sky - overlay @ 73%