The Muse in the Camera

Summer Art Challenge Days 34-35 — making art (of some kind) every day!

I went on a little trip this weekend with Melody the Music Muse; The RabbleBerries were performing on Mayne Island, which involved a puzzle-like loading of the car with instruments, various accessories, personal overnight gear, and finally, musicians. I’m renowned for my ability to fit far more in a car than most people would think physically possible; some people suspect that I have a button on my key fob that turns the car into a Tardis!

We all had a lovely time on the ferry cruise and at our concert; we played for two hours (with a break) to a wonderfully attentive crowd at the Camassia Cafe, a very inviting space with great acoustics, not to mention good food! If you’re ever on Mayne Island, check them out at the Fernhill Centre (pick up a map on the ferry).

I still found room for the iris the Art Muse, though; she squeezed into my camera and kept nudging me throughout the trip. However, my poor little Canon A-700, which until now has been a trusty camera, and with which I have taken a myriad of beautiful photos, is acting up. I suspect a chip problem or a settings problem, but haven’t had time to check. I completely lost several shots that I hoped would be really great, and many others came out uncharacteristically blurry or with very strange profiles on the histogram.

I was disappointed when I got them back and into the computer, but Iris said not to worry, we could at least have some fun playing with them! I started out doing some fiddling in iPhoto, choosing one that had turned out too dark, and seeing if I could get it back to some semblance of what I remembered the scene looking like. Then I started playing with it for some arty effects, using the sliders on the histogram and the colour balances, primarily. I’ve done a couple of series of photos using just the simple adjustments available in iPhoto; you can actually do quite a lot with them in terms of weird effects.

But Iris, ever the experimenter, goaded me into the hard stuff: Photoshop filters. I haven’t played with those much; in fact I use Photoshop far more for artwork than photos. So I have spent an interesting evening poking around in the filter gallery, trying out some different effects, all with the same photo. I learned a lot, and now I want to try some more! There are a lot of controls to fiddle with, and I want to try superimposing various effects on top of each other. I think my art muse has led me astray…

Here's the original version. I have no idea why it came out so dark; it was a bright sunny day!

Here’s the original version. I have no idea why it came out so dark; it was a bright sunny day! I knew this had some strong compositional possibilities, so I decided not to give up on it.

Here's what I got when I pushed the exposure up to max. Still kind of dark, but at least there's something to work with here!

Here’s what I got when I simply pushed the exposure up to max. Still kind of dark, but at least there’s something to work with here!

I started pushing around the histogram, and adjusting the colour sliders until I got something I liked. Then I pushed the darkness slider up and all these groovy textures appeared!

I started pushing around the histogram (the little box with a graph of all the hills and valleys; pretty much all photo programs have these, as do many cameras), and adjusting the colour sliders until I got something I liked. Then I pushed the lessen-the-darkness slider up and all these groovy textures appeared!

Still in iPhoto, I went back to the original photo and tried some different slider play and came up with this poster-y version.

Still in iPhoto, I went back to the original photo and tried some different slider play and came up with this poster-y version.

At this point I decided to try Photoshop. This is the coloured pencil filter. I didn't discover that the filters (at least some of them) are affected by the active colours in the tool sidebar; more exploration is needed!

At this point I decided to try Photoshop. This is the coloured pencil filter. I didn’t discover that the filters (at least some of them) are affected by the active colours in the tool sidebar until after I did this; more exploration is needed!

I got bored with doing the whole picture and decided to try some crops. Here's the top left corner, turned upside down and with "accented edges" applied.

I got bored with doing the whole picture and decided to try some crops. Here’s the top left corner, turned upside down and with “accented edges” applied.

Then I zoomed in on the ferry workers, and tried to make them look painterly. This is "dry brush" which actually looks like an oil or acrylic painting to me.

Then I zoomed in on the ferry workers, and tried to make them look painterly. This is “dry brush” which actually looks like an oil or acrylic painting to me.

... and here's the watercolour filter. I tried it on different sections of the photo with varying levels of effectiveness.

… and here’s the watercolour filter. I tried it on different sections of the photo with varying levels of effectiveness.

 

I'd love to know — what do you think about this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s