Writing with Light

Posts tagged “Macro Photography

Toronto Refracted

I spent sometime over the weekend practicing the new macro skills I attained at last week’s workshop. I set everything up on my kitchen table but I wanted to try something different. Instead of using a flower as a backdrop I printed a map of downtown Toronto that I found on the internet to see how that would work as a refracted image.

Here it is and don’t forget click on the image to see a higher resolution version that’s much sharper. Stay tuned, later this week I’ll go through everything I use to create these types of images.

macro photography; water drop; refracted; Map of Toronto




Gerber in a Bubble

I attended a workshop this weekend with renowned photographer Don Komarechka on macro photography. Don presented at my photography club a couple of months ago and I was completely awestruck by his work.

After the club meeting I emailed Don and told him that a friend and I were interested in attending one of his semi-private workshops. While one of Don’s specialties is macro snowflake photography (you really need to check out his site) I wanted to learn how to photograph water droplets with  a refracted image in them.

Here’s one of my images.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

water drops, gerber flower, refraction, milkweed, macro photography


Tiny Bubbles

Welcome back! I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. I know that it was a long weekend in the US and here in Ontario we enjoyed a long weekend with Family Day. It was nice to have the extra day off and enjoy some downtime with my family.

Last week I got inspired to try something new. I was on Rachel Cohen’s Photography site (if you haven’t visited you really must. Just click on the link) and she created an abstract from oil and water. Rachel was actually inspired to try this when she visited Beverly Everson’s Photography site (yes definitely check out her site as well). I actually commented on Beverly’s post and asked her how she achieved this look. A few minutes later I received an email from Beverly giving me instructions. I think I need a bit more practice but here’s my first attempt of some macro photography of oil and water.

Now I’m usually pretty good at following instructions but once I got myself all set up and I filled a shallow dish with oil and added a bit of water here’s what I came up with….

Tiny Bubbles, bubbles, abstract, macro, macro photography, oil and water, blue

I actually liked how this came out but I thought “wow…why am I getting so many bubbles?”  Well I went back to Beverly’s instructions and I realized that I was supposed to fill a shallow dish with water first and then add a bit of oil….Duhh. For the image above I had my dish suspended over a bowl of blue and green marbles. Now for the correct mix of water and oil I placed two tulip stems under my dish and here’s what I came out with.

Remember you can click on any image to enlarge (they really do look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Tiny Bubbles, bubbles, abstract, macro, macro photography, oil and water, pastels,

Tiny Bubbles, bubbles, abstract, macro, macro photography, oil and water, pastels,

Tiny Bubbles, bubbles, abstract, macro, macro photography, oil and water, pastels,

It’s fun to experiment with something new.

The Toronto Ice Storm of 2013

I don’t normally post in the evening and truth be told I’m preparing my year in review post which will go live tomorrow morning but life sometimes has other ideas or should I say mother nature has a mind of her own. It’s been a crazy few days. On Saturday night Toronto and other parts of the east coast was hit by an ice storm the likes which we’ve never seen. On Saturday evening our power went out and didn’t come back on until Sunday evening. We were lucky. Others still don’t have power today. Sunday morning we awoke to downed trees, cars covered in 2 inches of ice and a very cold house.

Here’s the funny thing about mother nature, when you take a deep breath and look around you realize that you’re surrounded by beauty.

Ice Storm, Toronto, 2013, park, ice, trees, branches, pathway,

Ice Storm, Toronto, 2013, park, ice, trees, branches, macro photography

Ice Storm, Toronto, 2013, park, ice, trees, branches, macro photography

Ice Storm, Toronto, 2013, park, ice, trees, branches,

Ice Storm, Toronto, 2013, park, ice, trees, branches, macro photography

And then this was the scene on a street around the corner from me (just one of many).

Ice Storm, Toronto, 2013, park, ice, trees, branches, road, broken

I Can See Clearly Now…with Topaz Clarity

I’ve been fortunate over the last week to have been able to test Topaz Labs’ newest plug-in Topaz Clarity. Topaz Clarity enhances contrast and clarity with absolutely no artifacts or halos. With just a few clicks you can easily manipulate your micro, mid-tone and overall contrast, transforming your image from ordinary to extraordinary, while maintaining the natural feeling and tonality you are after.

While the plug-in is simple enough (you’ll recognize the familiar interface of the other suite of Topaz plug-ins) Topaz Clarity is a very powerful tool. I was a bit skeptical when I’d first heard about this new release but once I started using it I was blown away by the subtle yet powerful improvements achieved using this.

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 10.25.50 PM

Here are some of the unique features introduced in Topaz Clarity:

1. Selective Contrast Control. With Clarity, Topaz Labs has developed a cutting-edge process of selecting specific contrast variations in the original image, allowing you to quickly target and then increase or decrease the contrast and clarity in that specific variation.

2. Breakthrough Halo-Free Algorithm. Boost contrast and clarity without emphasizing transitions between light and dark areas, eliminating the common problem of halos, noise and artifacts.

3. Advanced Hue/Saturation/Luminance Technology. Using IntelliColor technology, you can easily enhance your image with the HSL filter, getting stronger, yet more natural HSL adjustments.

4. Re-Imagined Masking Workflow. The masking module, now attached to each adjustment tab contains a comprehensive set of tools including an edge-aware brush, gradient mask, smart feather tool, color aware tool and more.

5. User Interface Design. Topaz Labs has continued to develop a cleaner, more modern and efficient interface to improve usability, workflow and overall aesthetics.

Topaz Clarity comes with 9 collections of presets that includes Architecture; Fashion; Macro; Nature & Landscape. The presets are a great way to speed up your processing or giving you a good starting point for the look your after.

Instead of continuing to “tell” you what Topaz Clarity does I’ll “show” you instead with a couple of images I worked on specifically for this review. Please click on the images to enlarge and really see the detail.

Flower, Macro, yellow, gerber


Flower, Macro, yellow, gerber, Topaz Clarity

After – with Topaz Clarity

Boston, harbor, long exposure, black and white, pier


Boston, harbor, long exposure, black and white, pier, Topaz Clarity

After – with Topaz Clarity

Topaz Clarity will retail for $49.99, but it’s being offered now at a special introductory price of $29.99 through May 31st. Use promo code: claritynew Click here to purchase.

Icy Abstracts

A bit of a departure from what I’ve been posting lately but I thought I would mix things up a little. I was walking my dog on Saturday when I noticed some beautiful icicles forming on the tree outside my house. After we got in (and Brady got his treat) I grabbed my camera, put on my Tamron 90mm Macro lens and headed outdoors.

I processed the first image in Photoshop then ran it through Topaz Simplify to give it a bit more of a stylized look. You can download any of the Topaz plugins for a free trial and don’t forget to use the discount code ELPHOTO for a 15% savings.

Click on the images to enlarge (the detail is much better) or to Purchase a Print.

icicle, ice, abstract, macro

icicle, ice, abstract, macro