When I got sick back in mid-November (probably from those K-6 students I teach chess to!), I was looking for something to do while sitting at home. My music collection and YouTube playlists were complete, so that left my collection of 317,872 (plus or minus) pictures. About half of them had never been cataloged…. just sitting in file folders with the date and location noted. So I got busy. It took until yesterday, but I finished, and I found a lot of interesting stuff!
A couple of things happened while I was cataloging pictures. First, I noticed how big the RAW files were, and whenever Photoshop made changes to a RAW file, it created a little “sidecar” file. I found the sidecar files irritating. So I went looking for options and discovered Photoshop’s open source DNG files. DNG is a RAW that is not proprietary; anyone can use it! The coolest thing about the DNG files, though, is that they are about 80% the size of Canon’s CR2 RAW files and when Photoshop alters them, the information is included in the DNG file instead of in a separate sidecar file. I downloaded Adobe’s DNG converter and went to work.
While I was cataloging pictures, I found lots of old video files in the AVI, MPG, and MOV formats. Those video files were huge! I found a free (open source) video converter called DVDVideoSoft Free Studio and converted all my old video files to the modern MP4 format. Conversion was fast and painless.
When I first started taking pictures with the Canon Rebel XSi, I had it set for best quality JPG files. Then I switched to RAW+JPG. Once I understood how RAW files worked, I switched my camera to RAW files only. However, I never went back and deleted all those duplicate JPG files. Done.
After converting CRW, AVI, MPG, and MOV files, and deleting duplicates, I had an extra 4½ terabytes of disk space available!
Lastly, I noticed that I had a lot of good pictures. Some were really good pictures. None of them were great; I don’t have the equipment for great pictures. However, with over 300,000 pictures, I was thinking, “What can I do to distinguish myself from other photographers and, perhaps, make some money from my interest in photography, nature, and life?” Ah, the quandaries….
Could I make my not-great pictures into great pictures with digital photo editing software like Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, and Photo-Paint, all of which reside on my computers? My answer: A resounding “No!”
However, all three programs have some very interesting filters, and I’ve learned how to replace backgrounds, merge pictures, create composites, etc. I decided to take a not-great picture that I really liked and see what I could do with it. Here’s the original picture or, as my wise old grandmother would say, the basics as it came out of the camera:
That is a White’s Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea), also known as a dumpy tree frog or an Australian green tree frog. The Australians apparently simply call it a “green tree frog.” I guess that means that I can call a California Condor simply a condor…. Hmmm….
My basics picture is washed out, lacking in contrast, lacking in sharpness, lacking…. and the poor dumpy tree frog has some skin blemishes which distract from the picture except for perhaps a biologist or pathologist.
First I cloned out the skin blemishes and added some contrast and sharpness to get this:
Then I went to Photoshop’s Filter Gallery and created these:
Photoshop Water Color Filter
Photoshop Angled Strokes Filter
Photoshop Angled Strokes and Dry Brush Filters combined
Photoshop Poster Edges Filter
Photoshop has several dozens of filters and third-party filters also are available. Filters have slider controls to create interesting effects within each filter, and filters can be combined, stacked, etc., to create hundreds of thousands of interesting variations. Add filters from PaintShop Pro and Photo-Paint into the equation, and the possibilities probably get up into the millions, perhaps endless….
My favorite is the poster edges, followed closely by the Angled Strokes Filter. What I was trying to do was create a porcelain frog, which I think the Angled Strokes Filter does quite sell. At the very least, I wanted something that looked fake instead of being a photograph of a living creature.
Having been successful in trying to create something different from everyone else, I had to decide if there was a demand for it. I am not sure if there is a demand for it per sé, but I am pretty sure that I can create a demand. My marketing and real estate background gives me the skills I need to do that. I’ll divulge more in a post coming up in the very near future, like in the next couple of days.
I also had to have a name for my work. I have settled on “Photographic Art.”. I’ll be working on a logo today. Not sure what I will come up with, but here’s my first attempt:
Quite often one’s first attempt at something is correct (think answering questions on a test). I really like my first attempt and it won’t surprise me if that’s the logo I go with.
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