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Monthly Archives: July 2015

USING PHOTOSHOP EFFECTS FOR OUR WILDLIFE PICTURES

We certainly like to show our wildlife photos on this blog, mostly birds of course. A couple of years ago, however, our daughter got me interested in quite special things that can be done with photographs using Adobe Photoshop Actions.

We use Adobe Photoshop on virtually every photo we take. Usually it’s just cropping, a touch of vibrance, a little brightness and sharpening or we try to save a poorly shot photo. With Photoshop Actions, however, a ton of effects can be applied, some quite interesting. Often there are many, many steps to be taken to make a photograph just the way you want, without overdoing it. With Actions, Photoshop can store hundreds of these steps in sequence, like a stored program. Actions can be very, very complicated and one has to be an expert to design some of these little “programs.” I’m just a user, not a designer. Some Actions are easy to apply and some require a whole lot of careful work. Some Actions “run” for a minutes and require a lot of input (from me).

Of course, just using tools that come standard with Photoshop software is pretty powerful.   We often stitch photos together using Photomerge, for example. This can be very effective for certain images.

I don’t like to overdo Action effects and I don’t often put them in my blog but thought you’d like to see what can be done with photos, sometimes with quite remarkable and dramatic results.

Photoshop Actions are almost entirely free of charge (on the internet of course) except for some very special effects that are available at other sites. Here are some of my attempts. I hope you enjoy them.

Catch you later, Bob and Arlyne Draper

Photoshop action made this photo into a coffee table book

Photoshop action made photo into a coffee table book

afternoon ferry coming into Port Townsend, Washington

afternoon ferry coming into Port Townsend, Washington

glaucous-winged gull

glaucous-winged gull

sailboarder flying out of a photo

sailboarder flying out of a photo

tufted titmouse - we auctioned off a print of this

tufted titmouse – we auctioned off a print of this

rose-breasted grosbeak made into a postage stamp

rose-breasted grosbeak made into a postage stamp

Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque

Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque

JUST SPECTACULAR

JUST SPECTACULAR

grandson's soccer in Texas

grandson’s soccer in Texas

flowers put on a fan

flowers put on a fan

magnifying a heron

magnifying a heron

Used Photoshop but not done with an Action.  I cut out a Costa Rica laughing falcon, put a jungle behind it, pasted the book and put a stick under it.

Used Photoshop but not done with an Action. I cut out a Costa Rica laughing falcon, put a jungle behind it, pasted the book and put a stick under it.

Action that is glued together into a 2-inch cube

Action that is glued together into a 2-inch cube

reflection action

reflection action

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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Bird Lover

 

The 2015 Texas Floods

Last weekend, we drove to nearby Wimberley to look at damage from this year’s Memorial weekend flooding. Wimberley is a small, picturesque town somewhat reminiscent of Julian or Idyllwild in California. Wimberley has cool restaurants, old-fashioned ice cream shops, crafty stores, boot shops, family bakeries…….and a river runs through it. The Blanco River (Rio Blanco) was named by early Spaniards because of the pale limestone rocks that form much of the river bed and its banks. The Blanco is placid enough most of the time but with turbulent weather over the last several years it has developed a reputation. During May, rain pelted this area of Texas, swelling the Blanco.

Giant tree down on the Blanco River

Giant tree down on the Blanco River

Memorial Weekend, however, the river rose dramatically, clogging bridge areas and starting to take down trees. During the night unfortunately, the Blanco climbed to a crest of 43 feet, “drowning” 350 homes and killing 9 people. It happened very quickly because of an apparent jam-up of debris that suddenly let go and took part of a bridge with it.

An unsuspecting family vacationing in a cabin on the river certainly didn’t expect to have dark water rush into their cabin at 1:30 am, forcing them upstairs and eventually lifting the cabin off its foundation and sucking it into the now hugely swollen river. The father survived, with serious injuries, but the wife and two children were swept to their death. She was on the line with 911. There are some things that you just can’t easily forget.

Granddaughter looking at debris

Granddaughter looking at debris

part of a trailer, I think

part of a trailer, I think

The pictures we took are an indication of the extent of the disaster, which included the complete loss of any local Wimberley homes that were anywhere near the normal track of the river. If you want numbers, it was estimated that the river that night was flowing at over 220,000 cubic feet per second, more than 2-1/2 times Niagara Falls. We felt a bit guilty “rubbernecking” at the now peaceful river.

a sign of the times

a sign of the times

broken trees - big ones

broken trees – big ones

Highway signs (even parts of the highway), lawn chairs, furniture, vehicle wheels, pieces of trailers and other debris could be seen in the trees, some high up above the current river. There is one piece of indeterminate debris that has running lights, wrapped around a tree.

Broken and uprooted brush and rocks littered the banks of Rio Blanco, including massive trees that couldn’t possibly be moved by a river, except they actually were.

I talked to a golfer today who told me he was in Wimberley the day before the BIG flood. It rained a lot, then there was a short break, then it rained harder, then they decided to leave Wimberley and drive to Marble Falls. It rained hard over there as well. He says they were either smart or lucky.

Driving by the devastation

Driving by the devastation

Looks like part of a camper or trailer up high in tree

Looks like part of a camper or trailer up high in tree

The only positive I can think of is the rising level of Lake Travis in Austin.  The drought isn’t over but there is more water available, at a cost.

The Drapers

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Bird Lover