I took the center photo with my IPhone on Burst Mode using 10 images stacked together of a sago palm looking into the center.

The image on the left is the original photo converted to black and white followed by an added layer set to COLOR blend mode and a gradient applied. COLOR blend mode lays the color on top of your image but not as a solid, so you can see the details through the color.

The image on the right is the original image with an added layer and gradient set to MULTIPLY which darkens the colors.

IPhone Photo

tea-glassI was over at a friend’s house today and noticed my glass of iced tea on a bumpy black coaster had quite an interesting look to it.  Out came the IPhone and I snapped away with different levels of tea in the glass and angles.  Liked this one the best, especially the blue that came through from the black coaster.

Used the Camera+ app with Macro setting checked.

Just to prove – you can find fun images anywhere!

Focus Stacking in PS

focus-stackI didn’t realize how good Photoshop had gotten with focus stacking. I use Photoshop CC but you may be able to do this with other versions.

  1. Take a series of photos of the same subject focusing on different points each time. By using f/8 or wider you will get even sharper focus than f/22 in one shot. Plus, you can really tweak the areas.
  2. In Photoshop, File > Scripts > Load files in layers – you will need to select the images at this point  (this will open all your pix in one file, each on its own layer
  3. Select all layers and Edit > Auto Align layers
  4. Keep them all selected and Edit > Auto Blend layers
  5. Voila!

Three initial images:

Some uses:

1.macro for greater depth of field

2. You may have a subject that calls for great depth of field like a big bush, but something behind it is really distracting and you want it blurred.  So, if you use a setting like f/16 you will often get the back ground blurred too.  By using focus stacking you can use f/6.3 for example and get each part of the bush in focus but the background will stay nicely blurred.

3.In low light you may not want to have a really slow shutter speed. Using this method you can use a wider opening with faster shutter speed and take multiple images to blend later.

NOTE: Photoshop does a good job at aligning your layers in case you are off tripod.


Backgrounds on Foamcore


There are many ways to change backgrounds in your images, or add textures in Photoshop. But one of the easiest for small subjects like flowers is to make your own and use in the garden. I use 11×14 foamcore to mount these, one on each side, and then carry into the garden. You can cut your own foamcore or order. Amazon has offerings, here is just one available today for reference:×14-White-Foam-Backings/dp/B0072ZH97S

My favorite backgrounds are mainly in one color family, like greens or yellows or browns.

  1. In Photoshop click on Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur.  You will need to take the slider almost completely to the right to get rid of all detail.
  2. You can adjust levels and color balance or use hue/saturation. If you create a nice mottled look, you can use that repeatedly by coloring it differently.
  3. Print out your image. You want to keep reflections at a minimum so I find matte is the best finish. Lustre sometimes works fine depending on the lighting.
  4. Mount on the foamcore. One piece can have two backgrounds, one on each side as I mentioned.
  5. You can have a plamp hold this in place or often you can hold it yourself if close enough or use a timer on your camera.
  6. Below I have added a third option – select a highly feathered circle on your texture and brighten slightly so an individual flower is really showcased with the effect of a vignette built in!


Winter Flower Photos


This time of year can be challenging for those of us who love lush gardens and lots of beautiful color. I decided to see what I could do with my Lensbaby Velvet 56 on my Canon 5D Mark II indoors.


The flowers are artificial held by a plamp. The softness was created by wrapping light pink tulle around the lens leaving just the very middle clear.  ISO 200 f/8 @ .6 seconds.  I set the 2 second timer and then swooshed a colorful scarf behind the flowers while the shutter was open. (otherwise it was a plain neutral wall)  I used one Alien Bees light with softbox as my light, but did not trigger the flash.

After bringing into Photoshop, I added a French Kiss texture called Tea Bag.  I made the texture black and white and used a Soft Light blend mode. Then I reduced the effect on the flowers by using a layer mask and painting light grey to reduce some of the effect.

I found the frame in a Google Images search.

Selective Multi Exposure

sunflower-finalI laid a sunflower bloom on a green pillow to get a sharp center approximating the same size as the next shot. Then I placed the bloom in a pot of greenery and used Blast Mode with 10 exposures on my IPhone.

I layered the two images with the blast one on top and selected the center brown circle with Shift/Elliptical marquee which constrains your selection to a circle. I feathered it with 20 pixels.

Then I added  a layer mask to the top layer and filled the circle with black, bringing through the sharp center below without any other part from the bottom layer.

A few green areas needed Content-Aware Fill to make them consistent.

A square crop seemed to work well on this symmetrical image.

Lens Condensation

_MG_8504_MG_8504-EditIt is a little frightening to see your beloved lens covered with condensation. You get out of your nice air conditioned car and grab your camera only to find moisture on your lens.  Of course you can greatly reduce this problem by storing your equipment in zip lock bags and using silica gel bags.

Our recent humidity has exaggerated this problem and I wasn’t ready one recent morning but liked the result. (not recommending!)  Added a texture in the second shot.