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What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with

Opinion

My wise old grandmotherWhen I was young and living with my wise old grandmother (picture ►), she used to sit at the dining room table during the day creating her scrapbooks and photo albums. Her sons used to chastise her because she would cut up her pictures to create what she wanted. As she used to say: “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.” I can only imagine how much fun she would have in today’s world with Photoshop.

I bought Photoshop when it hit the PC market in the early 1990s. Throughout the years, my photo editing skills have continued to improve. Since I know what I can do with Photoshop, as well as video editing programs, basically I don’t believe anything I see on the Internet. Instead, if I like it, I enjoy it, perhaps even sharing it. But there is so much stuff that I know is fake, most, but not all, of it involving still pictures.

That reminds me of the broadcast from Times Square on December 31, 1999. The broadcast, of course, was live, as had been all the New Year’s Eve broadcasts for as long as I can remember. Not until later, though, was it disclosed that the broadcast wasn’t as live as we thought. Turns out that a big lighting display in Times Square was broadcasting an advertisement by a competitor of the television station that I was watching. I never saw the advertisement because it was being edited out as the video was being broadcast “live.” So even live events might not be the truth!

A couple of years ago I experimented with my own video editing. Watch this one minutes video of a Coaster train in the Miramar area of San Diego and tell me which way the train is traveling.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If you think the train is traveling left to right, well, only in the video. In actuality, it was traveling from right to left. I changed it in about five seconds and one click of the mouse using Corel Video Studio Pro.

Here in San Diego, commuter trains are of the push/pull configuration. In other words, sometimes the engine is at the front, pulling the train, and sometimes the engine is at the rear, pushing the train. I have never liked the push configuration; it just looks wrong. So when I discovered the “reverse” function in Video Studio Pro, well, I couldn’t help but click on it. Voilá!

I have had fun with still pictures, too, like this one:

Sandstone arch at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In that one, there actually is only one bridge. The hole looked like an eye, so I thought that two eyes were better than one. Here is the original with just the one eye:

Sandstone arch at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

So remember: Just because you see it on the Internet and it’s been shared by 159,472 people and viewed 9,471,002 times doesn’t mean it’s true. That doesn’t mean you can’t simply enjoy it. As Edgar Degas said a century ago: “Art is not what you see but what you make others see.”

Abraham Lincoln

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Friday Flower Fiesta (4-3-15)—Most popular

Friday Flower Fiesta

I am a member of several groups at Facebook but my two favorites are Flowers Exchange and World Is Our Garden.

Both groups allow members to post one picture per day. Once that’s done, members stop by and leave LIKEs and comments.

My most popular post got 36 LIKEs and comments.

Interestingly, the Photographic Art that I thought would be most popular, wasn’t. That might not be the full story, though, because I don’t know where people are as far as time zone, what else they might be doing on any specific day, how much time they spend on Facebook, etc. Which days get more views, weekdays or weekends? However, I have noticed a distinct liking for certain effects, so that is helpful to me in my Photographic Art endeavors.

Following are eleven of my most popular posts from both groups. All of them without the stamp framing and text are available for purchase at my Photographic Art galleries at Fine Art America.

African Tulip Tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aloe Flower Buds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Anemone

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Anthurium

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Azalea

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Banksia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bearded Iris

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bees and California Tree Poppy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bird of Paradise

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Geranium

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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What comes out of the camera….

My wise old grandmother

When I was living in Utah with my mom, stepdad, and six other children, we rarely ate as a family at the table. In fact, in thinking back on those three years, I can’t ever remember us eating together as a family. That might explain why I stole so much food from the Food King right across the street. My friends were stealing toys; I was stealing food.

When my wise old grandmother adopted me, my youngest uncle (we’ll call him Doug since that was his name) was still living at home. Although he was in college, he knew that if he wanted to eat, supper was served at the dining room table at 6:00 p.m. Breakfast and lunch usually were served at the kitchen bar since everyone had different schedules for the day. But if you missed supper at the dining room table at 6:00 p.m., you pretty much starved until the next morning. It only took twice to realize that my wise old grandmother was serious….

After breakfast and through mid-afternoon, the dining room table belonged to my wise old grandmother. She would cut out patterns for the clothes she made, write letters to family and friends, read the newspaper, and, most important to her, put together her scrapbooks and photo albums.

Doug always found it funny how my wise old grandmother would create her scrapbooks and photo albums because there wasn’t a full-size picture in any of them. All of her pictures got cropped to meet a specific purpose that she had in mind. Cropping back in those days meant using the scissors to cut away parts that weren’t needed, and sometimes to cut out a person, a car, or a building.

Doug constantly was making fun of her but she never backed down. She knew what she wanted, she knew what she had to do to create what she wanted, and that was that!

Probably my favorite words of wisdom from my wise old grandmother are words that I have been using and practicing for at least forty years:

What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.

In today’s world, Photoshop is our scissors and our lightroom. No need to make a mess on the dining room table or get sick inhaling all the chemical smells in the lightroom. Just make a plate of nachos, grab a beer, put the cat on your lap, open Photoshop, and get started.

I am always after better or more time-saving ways to work in Photoshop, so I check out new software that comes on the market. Recently one of my favorite software companies, Topaz Labs, released a new plug-in for Photoshop, Topaz Restyle.

Following is a picture of the La Casa Estudillo Museum in Old Town. You’ll see and read more about it in an upcoming blog post, probably Saturday.

Casa de Estudillo Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That actually is a panorama comprised of six individual pictures, photomerged in Photoshop. I find it perfectly acceptable, but then I remembered the new Topaz Restyle software that I had just bought and had to go mess around some. I got a lot of interesting pictures but I liked this one the best:

Casa de Estudillo Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The original picture was taken at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2014. The Topaz Restyle picture also was taken at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2014, since they are the same picture!

The second picture certainly looks like it was taken at dusk the way the sunlight is reflected in the clouds, on the ground, in that left window, off the museum sign in the lower left, and off the exterior walls. Even to the right of the museum, it looks like the sun is shining a little more brightly over there, maybe because there were no trees providing any shade.

I love the Topaz rendition. I think it adds depth to the picture—look at the clouds through the arches in the bell tower—and a great deal more interest.

The Topaz Restyle plugin normally is $59.99 but you can get a $20 discount on it through the end of February by using the discount code FEBRESTYLE at checkout.

Topaz Labs is here.

All Topaz software has a free 30-day fully functional trial, so hop on over there, check out what they have, and let me know what you think.

Sadly, Topaz has not paid me for this testimonial….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Moving the mouse in a straight line in Photoshop

How I Did It

It’s no secret that ever since the advent of the computer mouse, those of us working with drawing programs such as Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator wanted a way to draw a straight line. It didn’t take too long before Corel and Adobe gave us the ability to draw those straight lines.

Recently I was wanting to draw a perfectly straight line in Photoshop, and that’s when it occurred to me that since Photoshop also is an Adobe product, there just might be a way to draw a straight line.

A simple Google search told me how:

Select the Pen tool.
Position the Pen tool where you want the straight segment to begin, and click to define the first anchor point (do not drag).
Click again where you want the segment to end (Shift-click to constrain the angle of the segment to a multiple of 45°).

I’m pretty much a keyboard person, using the mouse only when the keyboard is awkward, like drawing lines.

While I was drawing lines, I inadvertently hit the shortcut key to get to the eraser. In my haste and not realizing that I had switched to the eraser, I clicked where I wanted the line to begin, Shift-clicked where I wanted the line to end, and voilà!, I erased in a perfectly straight line!

My mind started working.

Some experimentation indicated that I could do anything in a perfectly straight line simply by clicking where I wanted to start and Shift-clicking where I wanted to end….

pen tool – yep
eraser tool – yep
clone tool – yep
spot healing tool – yep
brush tool – yep

Doesn’t seem to matter what you need to do, if you need to do it in a straight line, try Click, Shift-click.

Lastly, does anyone have a recommendation for software that will record my screen while I do things? That would have been very convenient for this post.

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You expect me to swim in that?

Picture of the Moment

I have had so many problems in the past whenever I upgraded Adobe Photoshop. Thus, when Photoshop CC (2014) was released in June, I resisted the temptation to upgrade.

That temptation overcame me today, which means that I started upgrading at around 6:00 this morning and just finished a few minutes ago.

Upgrading for me meant that I had to install a new version of Photoshop CC since it’s a major upgrade and does not install on top of any older versions.

A new version doesn’t recognize Actions, Extension Panels, Plug-ins, etc.

Since I have a lot of that stuff for my Photographic Art enterprise, I had to re-install or re-create everything. So burdensome. One would think that in today’s technological world, a few good programmers would be able to make things go more smoothly. Not the case….

Anyways, everything seems to be working, so I’m back in action. Here’s my first Photographic Art creation using Photoshop CC (2014):

You expect me to swim in that?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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A week’s worth of work all in one picture

How I Did It

Long-time readers know that I have been on a mission to accomplish in Photoshop everything that I previously had been doing in Corel Draw, Corel Photo-Paint, and Corel PaintShop Pro.

Until recently, those three Corel programs collectively cost less than half of what Photoshop cost.

Now, with software coming to us out of the cloud, Photoshop 2014 is a mere $9.99 a month. That is a significant savings over the previous cost of a full version of Photoshop and upgrades as they came out.

This past week I have been working on really getting to know what I can do using layers and masks, and here is the product of my work:

Sunny Window

That is a conglomeration of many pictures: wood floor, curtains and windows but without muntins, sunset, condos overlooking Mission Bay, and water and boats. I created the muntins myself; that took the most time.

I had to use layer masks to get the sun to be bright enough to shine through the window, but since the windows didn’t have muntins, the whole thing look too artificial. After I created the muntins, the sun shining on the floor looked artificial, so I had to add shadows cast by the muntins. That took the second most amount of time.

Although adding muntins created a better look, it was strenuous work then to mask out each of the itty bitty windows in order to let the water and boats show through. That was the third most amount of time.

I am off a little in the perspective with some of the muntins, but considering this was my first time to try to do this in Photoshop, I think I did pretty good, and next time I want to do something like this, it will go much faster and more smoothly.

Remember: Anything you see here at Russel Ray Photos might be a lie!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Do you have BWS?
I have the answer:photograhic art taking pictures making art

Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

Friday Flower Fiesta (8-15-14)

Friday Flower Fiesta

Photographic Art for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta were created by none other than the awesome Julian Rey Saenz, Database Manager and Director of Social Media Marketing at Russel Ray Photos.

I figured that he should know the ins and outs of everything that we are trying to do, so following are his first ten Photographic Art creations.

Let me know what you think of his work.

#1
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#2
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#3
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#4
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#5
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#6
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#7
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#8
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#9
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#10
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Need a unique gift?
photograhic art taking pictures making art

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