about   tools   help   Y   Q   a         b   n   l
User / Pixelated Sky
Peter Whitfield / 350 items

N 54 B 1.3K C 41 E Jul 15, 2019 F Jul 15, 2019
  • O
  • L
  • M

Pressed digitalis flower.

Last week I was rummaging in parts of my study that haven’t been delved since the Balrog was wakened. I discovered a folder which contained some flowers that I pressed quite a few years ago.

Flower pressing is something of a lost art these days which I think is a shame. Not only are they pretty in their own right but they give a unique perspective on the structure and delicate forms of plants and flowers.

Several of the pressings were of foxgloves, and I thought they were really quite interesting to look at.

One of the things I like about foxgloves is the pattern of spots on the inside throat of the flower which are there to guide flying insects to the nectar. The pressed flowers revealed the whole patterns of the individual flowers. You can’t normally see these without dissecting the plant.

The patterns are very variable, and the arrangements are curious. I like the way the splotches get smaller nearer the nectar.

The Macro Mondays theme this week was on patterns in nature. It’s a theme made in heaven (almost literally :) ) because there are so many interesting things you could take. I thought though it would be a good opportunity to share an image of one of my pressed foxglove flowers. I thought it would be a bit different…

The dried flower is two inches long. Yey!

Thank you for taking the time to look. I hope you enjoy the image, and the pattern. Happy Macro Mondays :)

[Tripod mount, delayed shutter, single image. Backlit using my cheap and cheerful LED lightbox (second time it’s been out this week :) ).
Quickly developed in Lightroom for colour and exposure with noise reduction but no sharpening.
In Affinity used Levels to make the backlit pure white, and used Curves in LAB mode to get the exposure more even and to emphasise the colours a little using steepened ramps for the colour channels. Sharpened with Unsharp Mask and that was it.]

Tags:   Patterns in Nature flat pattern anthers foxglove 105.0 mm f/2.8 flower Macro Mondays pressed flower macro digitalis nikon z 6 dried spots

N 18 B 354 C 13 E Jul 14, 2019 F Jul 14, 2019
  • O
  • L
  • M

Pink paeony petals. Yep :)

This is derived from exactly the same image as last week, but with a different endpoint. It treads a well-trodden path for me though in this case I used a different way of producing the symmetry.

Oh, and it’s for Sliders Sunday in case you hadn’t guessed :)

First I developed the image in Affinity Photo to a passable rendition of the flower (effectively a plainer version of last week’s).

The symmetry was achieved very simply: duplicated the layer and then flipped it horizontally and blended the upper copy with Darken. Merged the two layers and repeated the performance but flipping vertically. And there we go: four-way symmetry.

[At this stage it is already a fun image. If you want to have a go do feel free to download the original and have a play yourself: it doesn't take long and can do it in Photoshop or Affinity. I suggest you try changing the colours and contrast a bit and see what happens...]

Then the pretty bit. Into Topaz Studio using the Glow filter and starting with the Contrast Cables preset. Quite a lot of fun and tweaking from there, and looking at it I must have played with hue shifting too.

Finally back into Affinity with a dark vignette and a slight tweaking of the brightness and contrast. The usual frame method of merging what we have so far, expanding the canvas by 100 pixels, placing a white fill layer underneath the merged layer; then adding a shadow and a 1-pixel black outline using layer fx.

I’ll post a link to the in-camera original in the first comment so you can see how far we meandered...

I rather liked the stained glass window effect...

Thank you for taking the time to look. I hope you enjoy the image. Happy Sliders Sunday :)

Tags:   paeony glow pattern stained glass reflection window mirror Sliders Sunday flower pink blend modes Topaz peony symmetry blue manipulation

N 28 B 724 C 16 E Jul 13, 2019 F Jul 13, 2019
  • O
  • L
  • M

Paper and ink.

I’ve seen some lovely images today for the Smile on Saturday group’s Pic of Paper theme this week. All sorts of images of pretty paper shapes and crafted objects.

Well one this isn’t, I’m afraid. Typical left-brainer I guess I went for answering my self-posed question about which of the qualities of paper I like best.

I’ve always wanted to be a watercolour painter, but I can’t draw for twopence though so that was doomed. I went back to wanting to be an astronaut or a fireman instead.

I love the way colours bleed together in wet watercolours. The abstract creations you get from the diffusion patterns of the pigments in the paper I find fascinating.

So this is a macro of cartridge paper backlit with my trusty LED lightbox. It’s a macro just over 5 centimetres across. The backlighting really emphasising the pools of pigment trapped in the fibre cells of the paper. It also reveals the texture in the paper. It’s prettier with front lighting but this is hard science we’re doing lol.

I used four Diamine fountain pen inks, loading a toothpick with an ink and then touching the paper which I’d previously wet. The colours were Scarlet, Imperial Purple, Dark Green and Royal Blue. Interestingly the purple seems to resolve into a mix of the scarlet and blue.

So we have it. An abstract image of sorts that demonstrates one of the qualities of paper I enjoy.

Thank you for taking the time to look. I hope you enjoy the image. Happy Sliders Sunday :)

[Developed and processed in Affinity Photo. Sorting out the white balance (the paper was creamy) and the contrast, colour and exposure was a nightmare… Very slight dark vignette.]

Tags:   watercolour backlit macro diffusion abstract smile on saturday ink Pic of Paper paper art colours

N 203 B 24.8K C 28 E Apr 26, 2019 F Jul 11, 2019
  • O
  • L
  • M

Woodland path.

Two or three times a week I go for a walk in one of the local woods. These are open deciduous woodland tracts that adorn the steeper slopes of the valleys around here. Mainly of beech, they are full of plant and birdlife as well as the homes of badger, fox and deer.

I usually take my camera as it's part of my relax-time. But I have discovered that it is amazingly difficult to take interesting images of woods that reflect their peace and calm. Generally you just get an amorphous mass of green and trunks which just ends up being a restless and unsatisfying visual experience.

It's no better with intentional camera movement: just green and brown stripes with wiggles.

One ICM type does hold more promise though, and this is where you have some sort of path to create a story for the eye to follow and then imagine.

This is one of those.

I'm a bit non-existent on Flickr just now which is rather a regret on my part. Hopefully real life will get a bit easier in a month or two and I'll be able to interact more with my friends here. Meanwhile I'll send you all a wave :)

Thank you for taking the time to look. I hope you enjoy the image :)

Tags:   track path blur dizzy ICM circular green wood movement dsc-rx100m5 restful

N 34 B 549 C 27 E Jun 10, 2019 F Jul 7, 2019
  • O
  • L
  • M

Rain on paeony flower.

Yeah, I realise it’s another droplets on pink paeony petals image, but in my (somewhat desperate) defence what else can I do with all these, but see if some are worth publishing? :)

This may look like a relatively photo-realistic shot, but it’s really a highly contrived one for Sliders Sunday this week. I’ll post a link to the original in-camera image so you can see how far we came

Originally I had intended to produce an arty variant, perhaps with a pseudo pencil drawing emphasising the petal edges but I kind of got distracted (several times) along the way.

One thing I have discovered about these forays into fiddling and filters (aka Sliders Sunday playtime) is that I learn far more from what doesn’t work than what does. That's good as far more doesn’t work in any case :) So with this.

The real interest in this image for me are the droplets and the petal shapes so that’s the direction the processing journey drifted most of the time.

I first developed the image in Affinity and then duplicated the resulting base layer and took it into Topaz Studio and used the Simplify filter. This smoothes the detail and thickens the petal edges. I then blended the result back with the original developed version using Overlay at 100%. This added contrast and pulled back some of the smoothing effect.

I took the merged result back into Topaz and used the Textures module to add… well, textures (there’s nothing like an informative commentary is there?). Apart from surface texture one of the texture layers added subtle bokeh lighting which produced the dappled light effect which seemed to add visual interest.

So at this stage, we have thick smooth petals, defined droplets, a dark vignette and more interesting lighting. The final tweak was to add surface texture to the whole image based on the brightness.

Using the Lighting filter in Affinity I added two white spotlights, low down and far away in the top left and top right corners, adding the luminance texturing which produces an embossing effect on the highlights and shadows (having two spots evens out the 3D look a bit). Curiously this had a fairly radical effect on the droplet definition, almost like an overdose of micro-contrast in an HDR filter, but simplified.

Thank you for taking the time to look. I hope you enjoy the image! Happy Sliders Sunday :)

Tags:   paeony 105mm f/2.8 Sliders Sunday rain pink Topaz Studio peony nikon z 6 droplets drop