Writing with Light

Posts tagged “Topaz Detail

After the Rain

When we arrived at Parc Guell (after a gruelling uphill climb) it was cloudy and raining. Parc Guell is beautiful but it absolutely radiates in the sunshine. Luckily a half hour after arriving the clouds dispersed and the sun came out.

It had already stopped racing but people still had their umbrellas out. This image with its bright skies, people holding umbrellas and the partial view of the park with the sea beyond, I felt was a good candidate for a digital painting. After processing this in Lightroom I used Topaz Detail and Topaz Impression to create the final image.

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

Barcelona, Spain, Park Guell, Antoni Gaudi, architecture, digital painting

Deflection in the Old City

Sometimes you get the shot even if you don’t mean to. I was focusing on the buildings in the old city of Jerusalem when these two gentlemen walked into my shot. The one on the left was trying to avoid my taking a picture of him but in doing so gave me an image I was quite pleased with.

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

Jerusalem, Israel, Old City, orthodox, jewish, architecture,

The Woman at 2949

Keeping watch on the street below in Trastevere, Rome….while I keep watch above.

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

Italy, Rome, Trastevere, window, woman, black and white, monochrome, travel photography, street photography

Old Jaffa & The Beacon on the Hill

Located in the central square in Jaffa is St. Peter’s Church and the Bell Tower that dominates the hillside.

The church was built-in 1654 over a medieval fortress, in dedication to Saint Peter. It was twice destroyed and rebuilt in the late 18th century and the current structure was built-in 1894. The church is open daily and masses are conducted in English, Spanish, Polish and Hebrew.

The bell tower overlooking Jaffa’s old port and dominating the view of Jaffa from the sea, has for over a century acted as a beacon for sea-faring pilgrims signalling that the Holy Land is near.

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

Israel; Old Jaffa; clock Tower; blue hour; town square; long exposure; HDR; travel photography

Manhattan Eye Candy

Here’s another extraordinary piece of street art from my time in Manhattan. This one was in Little Italy and before you ask I didn’t “almost” miss this. This beauty caught my eye right away.

I used Topaz Detail to bring out  bit of the detail in the brick and adjust the saturation on each colour (individually) in Photoshop. Don’t forget you can download a free trial of any Topaz Labs product and use the code ELPhoto to save 15% off the regular price.

Click on the image for a larger view.

wall mural, wall art, New York, Manhattan, Little Italy, brick, building,

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

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!

The Bell Tower

I was going through my images from California (can you believe I still have quite a few to process) and I came across another one from the Carmel Mission that I haven’t posted yet. I really loved this place and it was just a joy to photograph.

Just a reminder….yesterday I posted a review on 2 new books from Dreamscapes – Desert Paradise, A Guide to Death Valley National Park and Gear for the Landscape Photographer. I found out after I posted the review that the Dreamscapes Store will be running a Thanksgiving Sale starting tonight, Wednesday Nov 27th at midnight. 15% off everything in the store. No discount code required!

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

Carmel Mission, Carmel, California, bell tower, garden, Monterey Peninsula, travel photography

Santa Barbara Harbour Abstraction

Before we hit LA we spent 2 days in Santa Barbara and I absolutely fell in love with the place. The beautiful harbour front, the quaint downtown area and the friendly people made me wish we were staying longer.

I took this image of the harbour from the wharf while we were waiting to be seated for lunch.

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

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

Speaking of lunch, if you’re ever in Santa Barbara you must go to Brophy Bros. After checking in to our hotel we asked at the front desk if they could recommend a good local restaurant. We were sent to Brophy Bros. I have to tell you the baked clams were the best I have ever had. And the oysters. And the shrimps. Ok…I’m making myself hungry and I really want to go back.

Santa Barbara, California, restaurant, Brophy Brothers, Brophy Bros., seafood, wharf, clams, sign

Books & Old Prints

Walking along the Freedom Trail in Boston and making my way purposefully towards Boston Common, an awning caught my attention as I walked past a small alley way.  I stopped and decided to check it out and I’m really glad that I did. Not only was this a picture perfect opportunity but I had a great time browsing through the bookstore.  I’m always lamenting the fact that the big box bookstores have taken over the landscape. I miss these little bookstores where every nook & cranny is stuffed with old tomes and it has that slightly musty smell of books.

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

book store, alley, Freedom Trail, Boston, travel photography

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Here’s one more from Falmouth, Jamaica. Oh and their coffee was quite good. If you look behind the palm tree you can see the ship…larger then any of the buildings in port (or the city for that matter).

Have a great weekend everyone.

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

Jamaica, coffee, Falmouth, port, travel photography

The Elgin Theatre

I held off posting this because the brackets for this image were used in our most recent round of HDR Tennis on Facebook. You can click on the link and check out the other versions of this image from the many talented photographers that participated.

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

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

All The World’s A Stage

I was going to switch gears and take a break from my Winter Garden images but I was watching the Oscars last night…Ahhh…the fashion, the jewels, the musical numbers, the movies! So given my “magic of make believe” state of mind I thought that another image of the Winter Garden was appropriate.

Here’s a closer look at the stage and the fire curtain. Should a fire break out backstage or on the stage the fire curtain comes down and restricts the passage of heat and flames from the stage to the audience area. The fire curtain you see here is the original hand painted one from 1913 which was restored in the 80’s.

I want to draw your attention to the circular light fixture in the upper left hand side of the ceiling. Among the clouds and mountains it’s the moon.

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

Winter Garden theatre, Toronto, stage, balcony, fire curtain

Let Me Entertain You….

Here’s another view of the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. In yesterday’s post I gave you a little bit of the history on this beautiful theatre (you can see the post here) but didn’t give you any shooting information…sorry.

Knowing that I’d be shooting inside this theatre and having been here before (as a theatre patron not as a photographer) I knew that I would need a fairly wide angle lens. I rented the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens and I fell in love. I loved the versatility of this lens and have now added another item onto my wish list.

Due to union rules we couldn’t turn on any stage lights so the only lighting available were the house lights. A tripod was a must and 90% of the images that I took were bracketed.  Today’s image was 3 separate exposures of 30 sec, 1.3 sec and 30 sec.  With both yesterday’s image and todays I adjusted the white balance in ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) before tone mapping the brackets in Photomatix. I then brought the tonemapped image into Photoshop and used Topaz Detail to bring out some of the finer details in the scene. Don’t forget you get a 15% discount on all Topaz products by using the code ELPHOTO.

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

theatre, Winter Garden, Toronto, interior, stage, balcony

Welcome to the Theatre….

One of the wonderful things about being a member of a photography club is the opportunity to shoot places that you wouldn’t normally have access to. One of these opportunities came about last month. I’m on the board of my club, The Toronto Digital Photography Club and I made mention that it would be great to be able to shoot at the Winter Garden Theatre here in Toronto. The answer came back…”that’s great Edith can you arrange an outing for us.”  So after months of coordinating with the management of the theatre we were able to schedule a date when the theatre was dark, for our members to come in and shoot.

The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre complex was built in 1913 as the Canadian flagship of the Marcus Loew’s theatre chain. It was built as a double-decker complex with the Winter Garden seven stories above the Elgin Theatre. It was originally known as the Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre.

The two theatres were so dramatically different in style (as you’ll see in the images that I’ll post over the next little while). The Elgin was the more traditional of the two theatres, filled with gold leaf,  rich fabrics and ornate opera boxes. The Winter Garden on the other hand was a botanical fantasy. The walls were painted to resemble a garden and its ceiling was adorned with branches, leaves and lanterns. “The theatres played host to such greats as George Burns and Gracie Allen, Sophie Tucker, Milton Berle and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.”

With the decline of vaudeville the Winter Garden closed in 1928. The Elgin continued to function as a movie house but it continue to decline into disrepair with each passing decade. In 1981 the Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the building and in 1987 a $29 million restoration project began. The walls of the Winter Garden were painstakingly hand cleaned to avoid damaging the original hand painted watercolors. In 1989 the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre reopened and has once again become one of Canada’s finest theatre houses. Hits such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rent, Tommy, Avenue Q has graced the stage and every year it now serves as one of the venues for gala screens for the Toronto International Film Festival.

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

Theatre, Winter Garden theatre, Toronto, historical site, stage, balcony

The Curious Case of the Pelican (As opposed to a Pelican Case)

Curious you say? Yes curious! There I was, sipping a nice cold Corona on the beach in Cozumel when out of the corner of my eye I saw a Pelican fly by. He floated effortlessly above the tourists who were enjoying the hot Mexican sun. Suddenly, he landed on the pier and surveyed his surroundings.
In my enhanced state of relaxation I thought to myself….do I grab the camera and run over there to get some shots of him? No! Obviously after going through the effort he’ll fly away before I get to him. So I sat there and watched. He stayed there. A mother and daughter walked up the pier to get a closer look. He just stayed there. A couple of people got off a scuba diving tour boat and walked by my little Pelican friend. He just stayed there.  Ok…that was it. If he was going to stay calmly perched in his spot for everyone else, I certainly wasn’t going to sit around and miss a wonderful opportunity. I raised my very relaxed self off of my lounge chair, grabbed my camera and off I went.
I got to the pier and inched slowly towards my friend. I do believe that he actually enjoyed the attention, posing for me happily. He was a curious little fella!

pelican, beach, sea, nature, bird, Cozumel

pelican, beach, sea, nature, bird, Cozumel

pelican, beach, sea, nature, bird, Cozumel

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

Forest Impressions & Topaz Detail

Sometimes you have your posts planned out in advance and other times you have to seize an opportunity that comes along and share certain things with your readers. Forest Impressions is an image that I made a couple of month ago when the fall colours were at their peak. I really enjoy creating these types of images, using long exposures and moving, shaking or panning the camera to see what types of effects I can create. I used a texture filter right in Photoshop to give this image its final look.

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

long exposure, trees, fall, autumn


About a week ago Topaz Labs announced the release of its newly revamped Topaz Detail 3 plug-in. As much as I wanted to take sometime and write a review of this new release, time just wasn’t on my side and I always want to try something before I pass on the information to you. On Friday I received an email from Topaz Labs letting me know that while the initial promotion period would be over on the 16th they were going to extend the 30% off promotion to affiliates only.  I took this opportunity to download the software over the weekend and really give it a test run.

As with other Topaz plug-in’s Detail is very intuitive and I was pleasantly surprised with its capability. The entire engine of the plug-in has been completely redesigned and the results are outstanding.  I dug into my archives from Italy and here’s the result.

Topaz Detail, Venice, Travel photography

Before Detail

Topaz Detail, Venice, Travel photography

After Detail

Topaz Detail, Venice, Travel photography

Before Detail

Topaz Detail, Venice, Travel photography

After Detail

Click on the images to enlarge and really see the difference. I love how subtle the changes are and how it just gives the final image that added punch that it needs.

The discount period has been extended for 2 days only, Monday Dec. 17th and Tuesday Dec. 18th. Use coupon code “getdetail” Topaz Detail retails for $39.99 but with this discount you get it for only $27.99 which is an absolute steal for a plug-in this powerful. Click here to getdetail.