Writing with Light

Posts tagged “Topaz Black & White Effects

The Reader

A reader in Milan. He provided me with a perfect photo-op and didn’t even know it.

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

Milan, Italy, brick, stairs, man reading, reader, black and white, monochrome, travel

A Typical Day in Havana

Before we head into the weekend (with some milder temperatures coming our way) I thought I’d leave you with an image from Havana.

To convert to black & white I used Topaz Black & White Effects. I wanted to let you all now that Topaz Labs is having a sale until the end of March, you can pick B&W Effects for $39.99 (regular price is $59.00). Click here to purchase or down loan a trial version.

Cuba, Havana, Black & White, Monochrome, city, street, architecture

Getting the Shot

It was unfortunate that when shooting at the Toronto Centre for the Arts we weren’t able to get into the main stage. That evening they were setting up for an upcoming show. We were however granted access into the George Weston Recital Hall. While not quite elaborate it was still fin to set up and shoot in there. Now I know that some people are getting tired of selective colour and thrush be told I was actually going to clone out the photographer in the image but I thought that including him provided a bit more of a compelling story. The decision to bring back the color was just me playing with the image to see what worked well. I think the red jacket just makes the image pop a bit more. What do you think?

I used Topaz Black & White Effects to convert the image to black and white and selectively bring back the colour. Don’t forget you can always use the code ELPHOTO to get a 15% discount on all Topaz Products.

Toronto Performing Arts Centre, interior, Art Deco, North York, North Toronto, Theatre, sets, row, black and white, selective colour

2013 – A Year in Review

I can’t believe another year is coming to a close but then again I say that every year. It seems they go by so quickly these days. As I look back on 2013 I’m proud of some of the images that I produced and some of the projects that I’m working on. As I announced a couple of months ago I’m launching a new pet photography business, PhoDOGraphy by Edith Levy. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for sometime and I’ll have the website ready for launch in January.

Below are some of my favourite images from this year. They don’t necessarily reflect the most popular images by hits or comments but ones that resonated with me for various reasons and I’ll let you know why as you go through them. Enjoy!

One last thing…wishing you all a Happy Holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Jackson Square in B&W

Interestingly enough this image never appeared on the blog. The colour version did (and you can see it here) but for some reason I didn’t post the B&W version which happens to be my favourite of the two. This was shot before sunrise and I love the moodiness that comes out in the B&W.

New Orleans, NOLA, Jackson Square, benches, sunrise, dawn, travel photography, monochrome, Black White

Jackson Square

Cafe du Monde

To call Cafe du Monde a coffee shop is downgrading it a bit. It’s a landmark and institution in New Orleans which was established in 1862. Cafe du Monde is open 24/7 and it was the perfect place for me to duck in and warm up with a piping cup of coffee and beignet right after my sunrise shoots in the city.

New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde, cafe, coffee, French Quarter

Cafe Du Monde – New Orleans

The Elgin Theatre

I was fortunate to be able to shoot this iconic theatre in Toronto at the beginning of the year. This was one of my favourite images from that shoot. Little did I know that it would be selected to appear on the cover of the theatre’s souvenir brochure. Below is a scan (sorry about the poor quality) of the cover.

Elgin Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, Balcony, ornate, interior

The Elgin Theatre, Toronto

Elgin Theatre, WinterGarden Theatre, 100th Anniversary, Brochure Cover, Edith Levy Photography,

Boston Strong

I attended a conference in Boston in April. At the time I wasn’t quite sure if it would be taking place as it was taking place a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing. The conference went on as scheduled and although security was tight at the airports and in the city I was amazed at the resilience of the city and its people.

Boston, Memorial, Bolyston street, Marathon, remembering, Boston Strong


This past July I took a trip to California, starting in San Francisco and driving down the coast to L.A. While the weather wasn’t always in my favour (lots of fog) I di manage to come away with some images that I was really pleased with. My second day in San Francisco called for an early morning wake up call to shoot the Golden Gate bridge. Being in a place for the first time without a lot of time to explore and get to know you’re way around means that you waste a lot of time looking for the perfect vantage point to shoot from. I was lucky here because as soon as I shoot this the lights on the bridge were turned off.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, Sunrise, Blue Hour, bridge, landscape, Edith Levy Photography


La Bicyclette

Come on…you had to know I’d include a bicycle image in my year-end recap 🙂 I loved that the name of this restaurant in Carmel-By-The-Sea was called La Bicyclette.

Carmel, California, night, bicycle, La Bicyclette, restaurant, window, French, flags, dining, travel photography

La Bicyclette

The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle

I was just really pleased with the way this came out. The light was very low and I didn’t have a tripod with me. I increased my ISO, braced myself against the railing and took the shot. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

Hearst Castle, Roman Pool, San Simeon, California, indoor pool, water, reflections, travel photography

The Roman Gods Stand Tall


This is just a personal favourite. I took pictures of this little guy…his name is Sponge as part of my portfolio building sessions. Isn’t he just adorable.

French Bulldog, Frenchie, pet photography, best friend, dog photography

The Lonely Path

This image was taken at the Rockwood Autoyard in Ontario while I was attending a workshop with Denise Ippolito. It was drizzling the whole day with a light mist floating in the air which made for some terrific light.

Ontario, forest, path, autumn, fall, changing colours, trees, fine art, texture, fog

The Lonely Path

Santa Barbara Marina

Here’s another personal favourite from my California trip. I loved the different colours emanating from the boats and wanted to give this image a bit of an abstract, impressionist feel.

Santa Barbara, California, harbor, sailboats, abstract, pacific ocean, surreal, wharf

Santa Barbara Harbour Abstraction

Santa Monica Pier

One the last night of my California trip I was determined to get a shot of Santa Monica pier at night. Even though it was cold and I really wasn’t dressed properly I headed to the pier (with my husband in tow…he really does deserve an award) and set up for this long exposure.

Santa Monica, pier, amusement park, lights, ferris wheel, roller coaster, night photography, long exposure, travel photography, beach

Amusing Lights

Malibu Pier

This is probably the image I’m most proud of this year. A long exposure of Malibu Pier with a high key treatment.

Malibu Pier, California, long exposure, high key, beach, waves, malibu pier cafe, travel photography

Elephant Seal Rookery at Piedras Blancas

I really had fun photographing these elephant seals at Piedras Blancas which is about 3 miles north of San Simeon on the Pacific Coast. I title this image “A Little Disagreement” but someone made a comment that it looks like the seal on the right might be laughing at a joke (wish I had thought of that), but the loud barking of these mammoth seals is still ringing in my ears 🙂

Elephant Seal, Rookery, San Simeon, Piedras Blancas, California, beach, nature, travel photography, ocean front, beach

A Little Disagreement

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday and a Very Happy New Year.

Sidewalk Surfing

Skateboarding was born in the late 1940’s as a result of surfers wanting to practice their surfing skills when the ocean was calm, hence the name sidewalk surfing.  Right in the heart of Venice Beach, California is a skateboard park which was packed on the day I was there. The skateboarders were unbelievable to watch and I had a blast photographing them. It was a good opportunity for me to practice shooting sports/action which I don’t do very often.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Venice beach, California, skateboard, skateboarder, park, beach, pacific ocean, action photography

venice beach, California, skateboard, skateboarder, park, beach, pacific ocean, action photography

Venice beach, California, skateboard, skateboarder, park, beach, pacific ocean, action photography

venice beach, California, skateboard, skateboarder, park, beach, pacific ocean, action photography

Black Friday Sale at Topaz Labs – The Complete Collection

You all know that I’m a big fan of Topaz Plug Ins and regularly use Topaz B&W Effects, Topaz Clarity, DeNoise and Detail just to name a few.

Topaz Labs is running a sale on their complete collection (and that doesn’t happen very often) starting today to Dec 2nd The Complete Collection is on sale for $199.99 (normally it’s $379.99) Use promo code blackfriday2013.

Happy Shopping!

Floating Pier

Sometimes you work on an image, where an idea and a pre-visualization of the end result had been percolating for some time and it just clicks. I’ve been waiting to post this image for a few weeks. It’s not often that I’m pleased with the outcome of one of my images (I tend to be my own worst critic) but I was really pleased with this one. This was taken at the same time as the surfing images I posted a couple of weeks ago. I used my 10-stop ND filter in order to achieve a long exposure and I used Topaz Black & White Effects to create the final image.

Click on the image to see a larger, high-resolution version (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Malibu Pier, California, long exposure, high key, beach, waves, malibu pier cafe, travel photography

Need Weed…And A Little Something For You!

I think the image speaks for itself.  Taken in San Francisco at Pier 39.

San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, street photography, homeless, weed, sign, black & white, #whylieguy

And now for a little something for you guys and quite appropriate for this post. I found out today that PhotoWhoa is offering a free ebook on Street Photography. The Street Collective  is the result of many hours interviewing top photographers such as Bryan Formhals (of LPV Magazine) and World Press Award winner Laura Pannack about their process and how they achieve
their unique looks. I’ve just downloaded it myself and it looks quite good. You can download it here. When you get to the PhotoWhoa click on Freebies in the navigation bar and scroll to the bottom. Enjoy!

Artist in Boston Common

I love watching an artist create and on this beautiful afternoon in Boston Common I did just that. As I stood and watched, her painting came to life on the canvas. I converted the image to B&W using Topaz Black & White Effects and then selectively brought back the color in the painting. As an artist you can see the scene as it is or interpret it in your own way, on your own canvas 🙂

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

Boston, Boston Common, park, artist, painter, selective color, Topaz Black & White Effects, travel photography


If you’ve been following my blog and have looked at my travel photography then you know how much I love photographing unique bicycles leaning up against distinctive looking buildings.  Well I came across this bicycle and while not normally what I would be attracted too it was too good to pass up.

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

Kensington market, Toronto, city, street, bicycle, street photography, black and white

Sixty State Street

In the heart of the financial district and next to Faneuil Hall in Boston is Sixty State Street. The building is Boston’s 13th tallest building but I was fascinated by the abstract sculpture in front of the building.

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

Boston, Sixty State Street, tower, building, financial district

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall marketplace is located near the waterfront in Boston and is a popular destination for tourists. What I didn’t realize is that Faneuil Hall has been a marketplace and meeting hall since 1742 acting as a backdrop for many speeches made by Samuel Adams encouraging independence from Great Britain.

After processing the image in Photoshop I converted it to black and white using Topaz Black & White Effects and then used the selective adjustment brush to bring back some colour.

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

Boston, Faneuil Hall, Black & White, red, street photography

Under My Umbrella

I suppose the title and this image may be appropriate since it hasn’t stopped raining the last 2 days. This was taken just after sunrise in Jackson Square in New Orleans. The street vendors get there early to claim their piece of real estate for the day.

I converted the image to black and white using Topaz Black & White Effects and then used the local adjustment tool to selectively bring back the colour in the umbrellas.

Topaz Labs will be releasing, later today, Topaz Black & White Effects 2.1. I had the opportunity to test out the beta version before its release and the latest update has 2 excellent additions:

The Zone System Viewing Mode which lets you see your image broken down into 11 zones that represent the full tonal scale going from 0 as black to 10 as white. Zones are shown in different highlight colors for easy viewing. This viewing mode helps you determine whether or not you have the full tonal range in your image and then make exposure adjustments in the conversion module to correct these tones.

The Borders feature in B&W Effects 2.1 allows you to choose from several realistic darkroom borders, with several styles including both bleeding and crisp edges. This new feature also allows you to select the size of the border.

I really get excited when Topaz Labs updates their plug-ins because the enhancements are always so well thought out and makes the plug-in an even more powerful tool.

The update is free to anyone who already owns Topaz B&W Effects. If you don’t have it, Topaz Labs is offering 30% Black & White Effect v2.1 until April 21, 2013. Use coupon code bw21 off.  You can check it out here.

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

New Orleans, NOLA, Jackson Square, street vendor, sunrise, dawn, umbrella, travel photography

Life on the Tracks

As a photographer your vision, the story you want to tell will hopefully translate to your viewer. How you compose the image and frame your subject will help to tell that story.  The streetcar image that I posted on Monday is a very good example. That image was bright and cheery and even a bit whimsical in the way that I choose process it (you can see it here).  The image that I took seconds later tells a very different story. By stepping back a little and zooming out this is the scene that I saw.

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

New Orleans, streetcar, street photography, black and white, homeless, man

Topaz Detail

Topaz Labs today announced the release of Detail 3.1 which is a free upgrade for existing clients. I’m a big Topaz Detail fan and you can read the post that I wrote when Detail 3 was released here with some before and after pictures. If you haven’t tried this incredible plug in yet you can download a free trial version. With this latest release Topaz Labs is offering Detail 3.1 for only $29.99 until March 22. Use Coupon Code detail31. Click here to purchase or to download a free 30 day trial.

Jazz It Up In NOLA Travel Poster

I was going through my New Orleans images, looking for one that really  embodies NOLA, in order to create a unique travel poster. A jazz club, Bourbon Street, French Quarter Architecture…what more could I have asked for.

You can have a look here at some of the other posters I’ve created.

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

New Orleans, travel, poster, jazz, Bourbon Street, club

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

The hallway in this image, on the top floor of the Elgin / Winter Garden Theatre complex,  is meant to lead the theatre goer forward. The final destination…the Winter Garden Theatre and (depending on the show) another place or time that you can immerse yourself.

I converted this image to B&W using the just released Topaz B&W Effects 2. I really like the upgrades in version 2, the user interface has been greatly improved. Topaz B&W Effects 2 is a complimentary upgrade for existing owners of B&W Effects 1.

Don’t have B&W Effects? Get it for 30% off until the end of February with coupon code bwfx2 (expires on 2/28/13) This coupon code is also good for any bundle purchase. Click here to purchase.

Click on the image to enlarge or to Purchase a Print.

Winter Garden theatre, Toronto, hallway, garden, painted walls, bench, black and white

Listener Funded Public Music

One of the best things about hanging out in Jackson Square in the French Quarter is listening to the street musicians and they are a talented bunch. They’re also make for fantastic subjects.

To process this image I used Topaz Detail to bring out a bit  more detail in the performers face and beard. I then used Topaz Black & White Effects for the monochrome conversion. Don’t forget you can use coupon code ELPHOTO to save 15% on all Topaz products.

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

New Orleans, Jackson Square, street performer, musician, black and white, street photography

Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise

I took this image in the spring when I went to High Park to photograph the Sakura trees.  What I liked about this tree was that when I was looking at it there was a face staring back at me straight on. Imagine my surprise when I was processing this and I saw another face in the tree looking out to the left. See it?

I used Topaz B&W Effects to do the conversion to monochrome. Topaz Labs is having an amazing sale…40% off on all products until Dec 31, 2012. Use discount code “topaz2012”. Click here to check it out.

High Park, tree, face, spring, Toronto

Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflections

Early morning reflections straight from Bar Harbour, Maine.

Bar harbor, Maine, reflections, pier, water

Which Gerber? Another Close Up View

This is another image that I shot at my Close-Up Photography workshop last weekend. After processing the RAW file in colour I felt that this image would be a good candidate to make into a fine art B&W image. When I posted the first image I took at the workshop (which you can see here) I was asked by some of you which lens  I used and my settings.

Everything was shot with natural light and the use of reflectors.

This image was shot at f/2.8, 1/8s ISO 100

After I processed the RAW file in colour I felt that this image would make a good candidate for a fine art black and white conversion. So know I ask for your opinion, which do you prefer 1) Color 2) Antique B&W (created with OnOne Perfect Effects) or 3) B&W created with Topaz B&W Effects Don’t forget you can save 15% on all Topaz products by using the discount code “ELPhoto” at checkout.

Click on the images to enlarge (they really look better) or to Purchase a Print.

macro, flower, gerber

macro, flower, gerber, black and white, antique

Created with OnOne Perfect Effects

macro, flower, gerber, black and white

Created with Topaz B&W Effects

Weekly Photo Challenge – Renewal

I was contemplating this week’s photo challenge and which image I should post. Naturally with a theme like “renewal” I was leaning towards posting an image of a bloom in the spring but then I started to think about what makes me feel “renewed and fresh.” It’s being out by the ocean…it does it to me every time and obviously this couple felt the same way on this day. I was a bit envious when I spotted them. It seemed that they had Otter Point (in Acadia National Park) all to themselves. I made a mental note to bring a chair the next time I visited 🙂

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

Maine, Acadia National park, Otter Point, ocean, view, B&W, landscape

Portland Wharf

Brrr…it was a cold weekend in Toronto. We didn’t get any snow in the city but winter was definitely in the air.

I had a client who contacted me over the weekend who was interested in a couple of my images but wanted to know if I could convert them to B&W. I was more than happy to oblige and have added them to the gallery which you can see here.

I also spent some time over the weekend trying to catch up on processing my images. I’m a little backlogged but I’m getting there. This image was taken this summer in Portland. This is one of the wharf’s where the lobster fishermen come in to deliver their catch.

This image was processed in Photoshop and converted to B&W using Topaz Black & White Effects. If you haven’t tried Topaz B&W Effects you can find it here. Remember you can 15% on all Topaz products when you use the code “ELPhoto”

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

Portland, Maine, pier, fishing, lobster trap, wharf

A Road Less Traveled

Back to Maine for this image. This was taken atop Cadillac Mountain right after sunrise. It was such a beautiful morning and we were already up….so we went for a walk.

Click on the image to enlarge or to Purchase a Print.

Acadia National Park, Maine, Bar Harbour, Mount Desert, winding road, shadows

Peering Underneath

This is one of those shots where a little bit of acrobatics was needed to get the shot. I’m sure there was easier access to the beach and to get under this pier but I couldn’t find it from where I was. We had just taken a drive to Bass Harbor Light and I spotted this pier in SouthWest Harbor on our way there. I made a quick mental note to stop on our way back.  We did stop but the only way to get under the pier was to climb down a steep rocky slope, camera slung over my shoulder and tripod in hand. It wouldn’t have been so bad but climbing down through the rocks and weeds I kept getting bitten by mosquitos (not to self…next time where long pants).

I decided to frame this differently in post processing. Let me know what you think.

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

Pier, Bar Harbor, Maine, Southwest Harbor, Travel photography