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April 3, 2010 / Steve

Day 93 – Painterly Pathway

San Elijo Ecological Preserve has some great trails, and is close to home so it’s a no-brainer for walking the dog and taking in some sights. The lagoon is home to White Egrets, Blue Heron, at least one Peregrine Falcon, Osprey and other hawks, White Pelicans and all kinds of ducks.

I took experimented a little with today’s picture, going for the painterly look to give it that sort of dreamy characteristic.

Sometimes the picture you see is a very long way from the original picture, and such as the case with this photo. I did a lot of work on this photo to end up with this, but it’s not a step by step process. You experiment and apply the treatment that you think will look good, and then you might move on from there or start from scratch. That’s the beauty of digital photography – the photo itself is a canvas to be worked with.

To demonstrate my point on how this picture is quite unlike the original, here’s how it looked when it first came off the camera:

Taking photos during middle hours of the day is not the best idea. When you have the option, it’s best to take photos during the first two hours after sunrise and the last two hours before sunset. During that time, you can get natural light which looks very rich and saturated. Midday photos have a tendency to look washed out with harsh shadows. You only need to look at the second, original photo here to see that.



Leave a Comment
  1. Mel / Apr 3 2010 5:21 PM

    Gotta love Photoshop 🙂 Great job with this one, your finished product is beautiful!

  2. Mom / Apr 5 2010 12:42 PM

    Pretty enough to have framed. I liked seeing the original and then to see the enhanced picture. Love it.

  3. Marilyn / Apr 5 2010 2:05 PM

    This a beautiful. Would like to have this one framed. Hope you had a good week-end. Love to both of you.

  4. Steve / Apr 6 2010 7:40 PM

    Glad you like it! I’ll post more of these before and after shots where it shows a significant difference.

    For prints or framed prints, you can get all that easily online through my smugmug account. Just go here:

    … and then you’ll see a buy button above the top right of the photo. Select “this photo” and then in the window that comes up you can select from different types of prints in various sizes and finishes (if you wish to buy the frame yourself after you have the print), or you can also buy it on canvas and framed prints too.

  5. Natalie / Apr 7 2010 6:49 AM

    When this one opened up on my computer I thought.. there’s no way that can be real! It looks just like a painting and the colors are amazing… then as I read and you said it had been enhanced it made me feel better aobut my own photography. … Love this one, Steve! Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

    • Steve / Apr 7 2010 7:08 AM

      Thanks Natalie!

      If you get to know a spot and plan to be there when the lighting is perfect, you can actually get results like that naturally. It really is all about being in the right place at the right time; otherwise software helps. 🙂

  6. Pia / Apr 7 2010 1:11 PM

    I, too, love the before and after pictures. It’s so cool what you can do to transform a picture! It’d be super cool if you could get a similar shot w/that “perfect” natural lighting so we non-professionals can see how much the time of day affects the results of a photo.

    • Steve / Apr 7 2010 2:02 PM

      I’m certainly no pro, but I’m happy to pass on whatever I’ve learned.

      I’ll try and do your suggestion at some point and update this original post. I love a photo challenge. 🙂

  7. Melissa / Apr 15 2010 6:05 AM

    WOW, what a dramatic change I really like this one too! Add this spot to the list for our walks when we come! You are doing a great job!

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