Mobile Photography on Monterey Bay

I recently drove to Monterey to join my friend and painter Don Neff while he was doing plein air painting as part of the 2018 Carmel Art Festival. Don took us to one of his favorite spots along the Monterey Bay coastline – Perkins Park in Pacific Grove.

Don and I caught up on old times as he was painting a small 6×8 inch canvas for the show.

As I was sitting with Don, we watched the sun play with the fog bank – creating some beautiful and ever changing lighting on the bay. There was a single fishing boat out – seemed to be turning circles in the middle of the bay. I captured a few shots with my iPhone 8 Plus including this one:

Later, when I was home, I began playing with this image using some of the iOS photo editing apps that I’ve collected (don’t ask how many I have!). One of my favorites for landscape (or seascape!) scenes is called Distressed FX. This app is available on both the iPhone and iPad. It allows you to simply experiment adding both color and texture effects to an image. With this image, I cropped it to a square format and then, using Distressed FX, added the sky and a subtle texture overlay. The result is startling beautiful – and way different from the original! [Update 5/29/18: Here’s a good introductory tutorial about Distressed FX.]

Paddleboarders entering the water at Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor

Paddleboarders - Princeton Harbor - 2012

Here’s another image that I’ve had fun adjusting by applying a couple of textures to it. It seems like images like this one – with its big expansive sky – benefit from the use of textures and how they add more visual interest to those areas of the the image.

This image was shot in June 2012 at Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor using my Canon 5D Mark II. My friend Doug Kaye and I were exploring the area that day and stopped by the beach area to check things out. The fog layer was breaking up and – as we were taking some photos – this paddleboarder couple walked by us and into the water.

I added the textures to this image using Photoshop CC and the Adobe Paper Texture Pro panel extension that Russell Brown developed. It includes a number of textures from Flypaper Textures – two of which I used on this image (Villa Adriana and Aquaflore). Both were applied using the Overlay blend mode and had their opacity reduced into the 55-65% range to diminish the effects a bit.

Back to the Malecón in Havana

Golden Hour on the Malecón - Havana - 2013

I’ve been taking advantage of the holiday (July 4th) today to do some reading and exploring around the use of textures in images. I find that the addition of a texture or two to an image can add additional visual interest – especially those images that have large areas of sky or water.

With Photoshop CC, Adobe’s Russell Brown has made available a new panel extension – Adobe Paper Texture Pro – which comes pre-loaded with a number of excellent textures from Flypaper Textures. Using these textures – along with the built-in Photoshop watercolor filter, I added a couple of textures to this image shot using my iPhone 5 from a bus as we were coming into Havana following our flight. It was late afternoon in late January – near the “golden hour”!

Pelican on the Wing at Half Moon Bay’s Princeton Harbor

On the Wing - Half Moon Bay - 2012

I’ve been playing around again with textures – this time using the new Adobe Paper Texture Pro extension developed by Russell Brown. This extension includes several beautiful textures from Flypaper Textures – and I used two of these in adding texture to this image.

The original image was shot with my Canon 5D Mark II using the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. It was shot at 200mm @ f/3.2 at 1/6400 sec. The sky was hazy providing a great background for adding textures – but otherwise making for a very boring image!

For this treatment, I added a radial filter in Photoshop CC to create the vignette and then added two layers of Flypaper Textures from the Adobe Paper Texture Pro panel – Muscatel and Apple Blush – both in Overlay blend mode at 100% opacity. I used a layer mask on both layers (picking up the red channel to use for the mask itself) which blocked the textures on the pelican itself. A final sharpening layer was added using high pass sharpening only on the pelican.

Fisherman on the Beach

Fisherman - Hawaii - 2013

I’ve been experimenting a bit more with textures – and picked this image tonight to experiment with. The base image has a couple of textures added on top – in Photoshop using Overlay and Soft Light blend modes. It’s very different from the monochromes I’ve been doing recently – but that’s why I like it!

Another Look at The Rock – Alcatraz – 2011

The Rock - Alcatraz - 2011

This image is a composite of two images taken on my recent photo walk to Alcatraz with my good friend Doug Kaye.

Here are the two images used to create this one:

Guard Tower - Alcatraz - 2011The Rock Texture - Alcatraz - 2011

The guard tower was shot on a beautifully clear (and boring sky!) day – and a bit of The Rock itself captured up close – both images were taken using my tiny Canon PowerShot S95.

These two images were blended in Photoshop using a combination of Luminosity and Soft Light blend modes along with Nik’s Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 3 and Silver Efex Pro 2 filters. I first converted the guard tower image to black and white – the blue sky was just too overwhelming and taking it to black and white neutralized it. Similarly with the the rock texture. At the very end, I dropped a little bit of light into the spot light on the tower using Viveza 2 – trying to create a small point of interest. Finally imported the resulting JPEG back into Lightroom 3 and applied a vignette.

If you’re ready to make a movie about Alcatraz, this just might be the movie poster shot!

Welcome to the Old Barn!

Welcome on the Old Barn at Allied Arts

Yesterday, I met my friend Linda for lunch at Cafe Primavera at Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. A wonderful place for lunch sitting outside by the fountain under an umbrella!

Before lunch, I spent some time exploring Allied Arts again – a favorite spot of mine from years past. Funny how new things catch your eye that you looked past earlier – one of those included this welcome sign on the Old Barn woodworking shop. I loved the texture of the wood in this image – and post-processed it by adding some other weathered texture in the white washed wood surrounding the welcome sign itself. The original Image was taken with my tiny Canon PowerShot S95.

For more Allied Arts, see some of my early experiments in HDR shot at Allied Arts.

The Golden Gate – in Texture

Golden Gate

Here’s another of my experiments in adding textures to an image. This image is a texturized version of this original shot below taken on January 1, 2010 at Baker Beach in San Francisco using my tiny Canon PowerShot S90.

Golden Gate

I also tweaked the image a bit to make the bridge towers more vertical – and then applied the Purple Prose texture from French Kiss Textures. This particular texture has script elements on the left side of the image – and I thought those elements worked well into the sky and mountain area on the left side of the bridge itself.

I love how the texture adds dimension to the image – making it much more interesting to my eye as I want to explore it for longer than just the original image. For me, that’s the power of adding textures – making the image much more interesting and something you want to spend time exploring – similar to how a great painting captures your eye and mind.

For more examples of my texture experiments, see this image of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, this image of the FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness, and these early experiments in blue and gold texturized images of San Francisco taken from Fort Point.

Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco   FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness   San Francisco - Jan 1, 2010   San Francisco - Jan 1, 2010

If you’re interested in textures, here are some resources I’ve found very helpful:

Are there others? Yourself? Tell me about them in the comments below!

FV Point Reyes – Aground at Inverness

FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness

This is one of my favorite shots of the FV Point Reyes aground at Inverness – this time enhanced using the Ancient Urban texture from French Kiss textures with the Linear Light blend mode in Photoshop with a layer mask over the Point Reyes.

Earlier, I tried doing a black and white conversion of this image – and it’s just way to contrasty for my taste. This image – with the texture addition – captures the moment much more effectively.

What do you think?