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Annecy Canal

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Just back from eastern France, where we visited Annecy, the ancient lakeside mountain town on the Swiss border which, coincidently, during my time as a freelance Getty curator, whilst selecting mostly French imagery, I was delighted to finally visit the actual location of the famous Palais de l’Isle canal prison that I saw images of nearly every day whilst looking through Flickr.

Ive not shown the medieval fort latterly a prison here, this view is from the back of the moated prison as I preferred the golden hour sunset light on the canal and far distant mountain backdrop as a cherry on the top!
One surprise, a good one, was that our trip coincided with their end of winter Mardi Gras, but I’ll be sharing those images at a later date.

As I’d previously lost my beloved PL filter and perhaps it was just as well because those shadows were already sinisterly dark! I first opened in Nik Color efex pro and used their polarizing filter to darken the sky to great effect without darkening the shadows as my PL filter would have done, next I used our Fly 4 Lavender preset, saved and opened in Topaz Impression, saving at around 50% and then opening the Flypaper textures to both warm up and add a subtle canvas texture, called Danielle, from our August  painterly textures.

Btw, We hear Topaz has launched a new promotion for their Black and White Effects filter, and for the month of March you’ll receive a whopping $20 off  this plug-in! Simply enter the code MARBW on purchase!

I’m showing the raw base image unchanged by Photoshops manual lens adjustment filter.
The birds were natural and not cloned into place, just crowning an end to perfect winters-day out! ☺

Nik Fly 4 Lavender preset @ 100%

Muscatel – Soft Light @ 49%

Masque – Soft Light @ 84%

Danielli – Soft Light @ 100%

Base image duplicated – Luminosity @ 72%

Muscatel is from Tex Box 2, Masque and  Danielli are from the August Painterly pack.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

Blue

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You’ll be pleased to know that the Hydrangea that I planted last season has remained blue! So I’m happy! I’m now hoping the bush will grow a bit bigger now and have a mass of flowers to brighten a fairly bland corner of my garden. While we’re on the hydrangea subject, I was given another hydrangea bush for Christmas which I planted it at our country hut. Unfortunately when the river that borders the property is low, the sheep from the paddock over the fence can get in via the river bank and this is what they did a month or so back. They ate everything; hosta, roses, flax bushes, potatoes, they even nibbled on conifers and I was expecting the hydrangea to have been eaten to ground level too, but obviously hydrangea mustn’t be palatable to sheep because apart from a nibbled flower, it remained, almost the only thing that hadn’t been eaten.

Back to the photo, I revisited some old textures for the processing of this…
Peacock @ Soft Light 100% masked from the flower
Apple Moss which was desaturated a bit and toned slightly more blue using a hue saturation adjustment @ Overlay 75% and masked softly from the flower
Cobalt Cloud @ Overlay 52% Masked from the flower to taste.

Peacock and Apple Moss are from the Spring Painterly Pack and Cobalt Cloud is from the Summer Painterly Pack.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

Bell Tower

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I’ve recently started using my Lensbaby again, with the Optic 80, ideal for tilt shift effects looking down from the mountains, and frankly a lot lighter to carry! Its also great for capturing a moody, painterly effect. Enhanced by the painterly filters in Topaz Impression and finishing with our Flypaper Textures.

Freshly home from the Haute-Savoie, an up-market ski resort village of Megeve, where they’ve strived to keep the ancient center as picturesque as possible and ensuring that all new ski lodges have traditional raw alpine cladding. This is their tourist office with an original bell tower, perhaps an old village hall or school in the past? I’ve always loved the ghostly effect you get in victorian Camera Obscura’s, a kind of glowing yet blurry effect from their inaccurate lenses which Lensbabies and Lomo cameras also capture but need the help of our textural grunge to give that final polished analogue effect.

Shot in mid morning sunlight, the final 4 textures gave a rich sunset effect to finish, after using a Topaz Impression painterly filter at 50% layer opacity. I rebalanced by darkening the sky with a duplicated layer of the base image and brushed off the bottom half with the layer settings as below.

Topaz Impression painterly filter saved @ 50% strength

Sky duplicated layer – Multiply @ 37%

Muscatel – Soft Light @ 50%

Sakura Skies – Overlay @ 45%

Rococo
– Soft Light @ 31%

Danielli
– Overlay @ 32% (colour desaturated)

Muscatel is from Tex Box 2, Sakura Skies is from Spring Painterly,  Rococo and Danielli are from the August Painterly pack.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

Jam

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I have always made my own jam, usually from produce I’ve grown in my garden. As well as knowing exactly what’s gone into the jar, you get the satisfaction of eating something that’s completely home made (well apart from the sugar that is). The above is a jar of blackcurrant jam and I was delighted to find I’d sold the photo for use as a bookcover via Arcangel Images . The book is  Burnt Toast Makes you sing Good by Kathleen Flinn, here it is on Amazon. I’m adding it to my reading list, I love books like this about food :-)

burnt toast 2

So two recipes today, first the recipe for the jam.
Blackcurrant Jam
500 g blackcurrants
2½ cups water
1 kg sugar
Boil currants and water for 10 minutes. Add sugar and boil fast until it sets when tested (around half an hour).

and here’s the simple texture recipe
Greystoke @ Overlay 100% Greystoke is my go-to texture for adding a subtle softening effect
Nik Color Efex filter – Lighten/darken centre- to taste
Then I darkened just the shiny part of the jar using curves adjustment masked selectively.

Greystoke is from the Autumn Painterly Pack

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

Canal walkers

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Low winter light with its dramatic long shadows can be fabulous, it can also be very hard to process. Here’s one of several I shot just before Xmas at our Canal du Midi’s head of the UNESCO protected 17th century Five locks, i’ve photographed it many times, in fog, mist and even rain when it had its beautiful rows of Napoleonic ancient marching trees along each bankside, unfortunately this is all that’s now left, as they were all cut down last year because of a fungal infection spreading though the canal water all the way from the Atlantic coast, now finally reaching here in the Mediterranean coast after they think the fungus arrived inside a liberating American Army’s armaments wooden box during the 2nd World War and has taken all this time to move slowly through the canal water to reach here. Same view from before.
We’re hoping they’ll quickly be replaced with young American infection-resistant poplar trees asap, which should grow fast and give our world famous canal banks their much needed shade from the fierce summer sun.

Back to the picture, it had very dark shadows and very bright highlights, I tried to soften in Nik color effects and settled on ‘Candle’ from our Fly presets 2 pack, this gave it a slightly dreamy effect but wasn’t quite enough, so I then opened it up in Topaz Impression where I have quite a few of my own presets saved, this one is a 50% strength preset of mine called ‘boat’, this gave it its true painterly softness so to really get cooking with gas I recommend purchasing the inexpensive Topaz Impression which works as a free-standing program or a normal Photoshop plug-in.
Now I had a nice soft effect but finally thought the colour tones were, ahem, a bit dated? So I opened up in Nik Color Pro again, and just used one cross process filter, and was instantly happy with the cooler more modern yet retro result.

Then it was time to rebalance and soften more with our Flypaper textures, I finally used 3 Fly textures as below. Even then after standing back I could see it still wasn’t quite right, there were several distracting/burnt-out looking dark shadow areas, so after merging and flattening and duplicating I did a bit of simple light painting, I took a mid-tone green sample, loaded the PS CC large soft brush, chose Screen @ 13% and softly brushed over the black shadows, on the right of the boat, bottom right corner of the bank grass and the left hand mid tree line, and voila, I was finished!

I could then have continued by making the two figures darker to stand out and who knows, perhaps I will, phew! ☺

Topaz Impression Painterly Filter @ 50% layer strength
Nik Color Effects- Cross processed B02 @ 52% strength -100% Normal filter
Casanova – Soft Light @ 100% Slightly desaturated
Danielli – Soft Light @ 35%
Ezekiel Plum – Overlay @ 24%

Casanonva and Danielli are from the August Painterly, Ezekiel Plum is from the Summer Painterly set.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

 

Snow Barn

RainRoad

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Up here in the French Jura again! This year the snow was very late, the resort workers were pulling out their hair for the lack of it.
Then only just this weekend it finally arrived heavily enough and has been snowing ever since and now we’re expecting it to continue all week!

This was my first venture up the mountain when I arrived last week, it looks deceptively thick here , but in fact wasn’t deep enough to ski on.
I shot this on our way home as the golden hour sunlight gave us a last burst of its glory before setting behind the mountains.

I hope everybody now knows how much we love Topaz Impression here at Fly central, they have almost ruined me for straight shots, im even shooting with them in mind, their painterly filters were made for fly texturing, and here is another example.
The base before image has already been through Topaz Impression using their ‘watercolour filter’ @ around 50% strength.
I could have left it like this but wasn’t happy about the ‘overspill’ affects above the trees, so I opened the Adobe Texture Panel and started playing with differing texture combos.
The final result with our canvas texture on top, proved to be very popular on Face Book and Flicker, so I’ve written the recipe here for you! ☺

Casanova – Soft Light @ 100% (desaturated)
Caspian- Soft Light @ 100%
Danielli – Overlay @ 45%
Atlantic – Soft Light @ 55%
Burnished Clay – Soft Light @ 100%

Casanonva and Danielli are from the August Painterly, Caspian and Atlantic are from the Paper Painterly and Burnished Clay is from Tex Box 2.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

 

Rain in Paradise

RainRoad

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On New Years Eve I visited the Queenstown area for the day, Queenstown being a very scenic and busy tourist town and the arguably the adventure tourism capital of New Zealand. It’s also one of the places to be on New Years Eve and naturally the town was extremely busy! To escape the crowds we drove to the head of Lake Wakatipu and visited the more remote but beautiful  Glenorchy and Paradise areas, unfortunately it rained…I can’t really complain too much as it’s been very dry and rain does make for nice textures photos.
This photo is another one of those “through the window shots” which are perfect for rainy days as you don’t get your feet and more importantly camera wet :-)

Now the processing…

Blueberry @ Soft Light 100%
Andaman @ Overlay 100%
Scotia @ Multiply 35%
Magnum Bonum @ Soft light 63%
Curves and Levels layers to tweak tone to taste.

Blueberry and Magnum Bonum are from the Pastel Painterly Pack, Andaman and Scotia are from the Paper Painterly Pack

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

Forks

forks

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Christmas briefly came early for me! The lens that I had ordered as my Christmas present finally arrived yesterday, and I couldn’t resist a quick play before I put it away, just to check that it worked okay :-) The lens is a fabulous Sony/Zeiss sonnar 55mm f1.8 for my favourite  little Sony A7 camera and after my quick session with it, I can say it’s a keeper. The sharpness and clarity are wonderful and it produces some beautiful bokeh. I’m looking forward to Christmas!

Anyway, this is one of the photos taken with the aforementioned lens and camera, I did have to crop it as the lens doesn’t focus quite as close as I wanted but that is no problem with the quality of images the Sony A7 produces.

Now back to Christmas preparations….

The processing…
Juniper Berry @ Soft Light 100%
Flypaper Nik Color Efex Preset Berry tweaked to taste.
Glass Plate 26 @ Multiply 53% masked from the focus forks.

Juniper Berry is from the Pastel Painterly Pack, Glass Plate 26 is from the Antique Edge 2 Pack and Nik Preset Berry is from the Presets 4 Pack.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
We recommend : Topaz filters !!

Fauvist mist

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Here in the Languedoc, where the fauvist artistic movement made its home we’re blessed with over 300 days of sun, unfortunately many of those days are windy! It’s that same wind that keeps the clouds away and also makes my job as a landscape photographer harder as the light is very hard.

However, on the few autumnal or winter evenings when a sea mist rolls inland and just before the sun wakes up the wind, we sometimes have this lovely etherial combination of bright blue skies and thick sea mist. These mornings are the best for photography and I normally rush out of town with the camera as quickly as possible, as it only lasts an hour or so as the strong Mediterranean sun burns it off.

So here I was just outside Beziers, looking back in, I live on top of that hill, behind the Cathedral in the ancient quarter.
You wouldn’t believe it from this peaceful image, but this river is a killer, once a year or so the river swells up an extra 20 foot and just touches the tops of those Roman bridge arches, flooding all these bankside houses, school and ground floors, thus many don’t use their ground floors, no point. I say this as it happened again just last week!

I tried processing these images when I first shot them, but the top was too pale and the bottom too dark, it was before we had our Nik Colour Pro to rebalance, and I gave up, just couldn’t get it to work, so the other day when I rediscovered these files I thought, why not give it a go in my fab new Topaz Impression plug-in and see what happens? The result was a bit of a revelation, I didn’t even use the paint preset I created at full strength, as I knocked the opacity down to 50%.

I then ran it through Nik Colour pro to lighten the water and slightly darken the sky.
I then beefed it up in curves and finally to both warm and add our own Flypaper textures, I used just two, Sakura Skies, and Cassanova – totally colour desaturated.
The Sakura skies gave it a lovely warm pink Mediterranean glow, the Cassanova adding a rough but stylish grunge paint effect, the result im so happy with, I’d almost go as far to say, imho I’ve re-discovered and brought home Photographic Fauvism !

Topaz oil paint filter @ 50% opacity
Casanova – Overlay @ 65%
Sakura Skies – Overlay @ 66% – totally desaturated colour.

Casanova is from the August Painterly Pack and Sakura skies is from the Spring Painterly Pack

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures. Or our Preset Page to buy Nik Presets.
For information and more plug-in products please hit this hot link: Topaz

Nik Preset 4 Pack Launch

Preset 4 Mosaic

Click image for full screen view.

We’re pleased to launch this summer/autumns final color efex preset pack and get you bang up to date with our basic color balance processing. All our images pictured above are processed with the presets included in this 4th pack. For those new to our Nik Color Pro Presets, you’re in for a treat because we now release all 4 sets as a  bundle pack at a discounted price!
Other changes include a newly updated Complete pack and for the first time we’ve bundled all 3 of our Edges packs into an Edges Combo!

For Thanksgiving and Cyber monday week we’re holding another popular Black Friday Sale. Simply enter the code Blackfly when purchasing and you’ll receive a 25% discount off any products, including the new Presets 4 pack but hurry as this discount is only valid until Dec 3rd! :-)
Downloads of this very small file are fast and they just need to be unzipped, normally by double right mouse clicking. Then open a picture in your Nik color pro efex and look to the left hand column, on top of the list click – Back – then look to the bottom of the page list to see – Import – click import and a loading page will open, find your unzipped preset file, open and simply select all the presets inside the folder and import. Your collection of new presets will then be found in its own recipe list. Each Preset begins with the handy preface: fly, so you’ll always know this set from others.
Please note, if your copy of Nik color Efex Pro, isn’t newly updated and registered or if its only a trial version, the importing and saving of presets is not possible. If in doubt try downloading this single free preset ‘Here’ as refunds of unusable presets cannot be given due to the nature of software downloads.
A tutorial on installing the presets (including screenshots) can be found HERE
To purchase, please click on the Add to Cart icon. A download link will be sent to you after you’ve made your payment.

Flypaper Nik Color Efex Presets 4

40 Presets for Nik Color Efex

Add to Cart
$8

Find our other Preset Packs and the brand new Preset Combo Pack HERE
For another great Black Friday recommended sale please hit this hot link: Topaz Black Friday!