Flypaper Textures



A few days ago I took delivery of a Lensbaby composer lens, it’s something I have had my eyes on for ages but spurred on by Paul’s photos taken using his, I decided to take the plunge. I’ve loved it so far and it’s hardly been off the camera though I’m still coming to grips with finding the sweet spot if the lens is in anything other than centred.
Most of the shots I’ve taken so far have been landscapes so yesterday I decided to see if I could take some closer ones. The focusing distance is about 12 inches and although you can get a lensbaby macro filter for closer work, I don’t have one of those, I do however, have a set of 52 mm close-up filters which screw onto the front of an ordinary lens, so I thought I’d  see how they’d work. Since I lack an adapter to attach the filter on the front of the “baby”, I just held it in place in front of the lens and moved the camera in and out till I achieved focus and voila, this here is the result! The processing was relatively simple….

Fly Edges 3@ Soft light 100% removed from the flower using a radial graduated fill
Curves layer to add  a little contrast
Dawn Grunge@ Hard light 83% removed from the flower and  lighter parts of the image
Brushed rose @ Soft Light 100%

See it a little larger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Cone Flower

These cone flowers or echinacea are such beautiful photographic subjects with their bold spiky centres and pretty colours. This is a white form that grows at  my local Botanic Garden. I do have a plant of my own which I notice is just coming into flower for the first time, it’s been slightly overshadowed by some taller growing plants next to it so I think I’ll have to move it if I want it to thrive.

I could have easily left this one without textures but I wanted to show a slightly different processing using a Fly Edge.

Brushed Rose @ Soft light 100% Toned slightly orange using a hue saturation adjustment
Fly Edge 16 @ Subtract 59% This layer was inverted. Subtract is one of the new blending modes in CS5, if you don’t have it and want the same effect you will  have to experiment, using colour burn without the inverting seems to give a similar effect.

See it slightly larger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

my own private little vineyard

Sunday morning was misty with freezing fog.
Thus not to miss a perfect texturing opportunity, I drove out of town to get some bleak countryside pics. This cute little scene was glimpsed from the car, and so I did a fast ‘u’ turn to get back to it!
The other pictures had the Cabana or Mazet with the vines leading up to it, this was the wild card, as is often the case, spotted as I left the scene. The recipe is correct, I always save the layers in their own job files. Thus I could, if I wished, just open up an old picture, and just click and drag the old textures across onto new pictures, it can save loads of time! Both Jill and I sometimes do this! 🙂
Finishing touches were cloning out litter on the left and softening the top of the tree before adding the final Mulberry Silk texture, this pulled it all together. Some colour softening was also done with the colour sliders, to warm the tones.
I wonder if anyone else see’s the similar cracked face in this image as seen in – ‘My Own Private Idaho’ Movie?:-)

Leadenhall – Linear Burn @ 20% – over sky only, rest brushed away. Flipped vertically and skirt pulled above image and cropped off.
– Soft Light @ 100% slightly desaturated.
Pompiii Stucco – Soft Light @ 100%
Apple Blush – Soft Light @ 67%
Leadenhall – Color Burn @ 20% over sky only, rest brushed away.Flipped vertically and skirt pulled above image and cropped off.
Antique Liaisons – Luminosity @ 11%, Flipped vertically.
Mulberry Silk – soft light @ 100%

See it bigger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Grunge flowers

Just to show that I don’t just do pale soft flowers and also to show how textures (and toning) can change the entire feel of an image.  Our fly edges work well on black and white images especially if you want to portray a gritty “early photography” look.

I started by converting the base image to black and white using a black and white adjustment layer, tweaking the colour sliders to get the tone and contrast I wanted.
Fly edges 18 @ multiply 65% desaturated
Curves layer to tweak tone
Then I merged all, ctrl -alt -shift-e on a PC
Converted the layer to a smart filter so I could go back and edit then used the render lighting effects filter to add a bit of drama and light. I used a bluish light hence the blue/grey toning of the finished work.
For a little added grunge I added
Stygian Tin @ Soft light 100% desaturated

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.


As its still winter over here and too cold to get out much, I’ve been revisiting some of my old images from last summer.
I said summer but my visit to England in August was more like our winter in the south of France! This day was freezing, and more so on top of the white chalk cliffs at Birling Gap, near Eastbourne on the south downs.
These young cows were happily munching away, and I guess more so than usual as the strong cold sea winds kept the pesky flies away from them! Speaking of flies, this recipe is also refreshingly simple, I pulled out the original Necropolis from tex pack 1, dragged it over, pulled it down much lower than the actual base image as the corners do get darker and above also, I then cropped the middle out, discarding the rest.
A re-balance was important because the grass was too dark and heavy, the extra use of the same texture bleached to a milky colour sorted this out. I finished with a general brightening of the flattened image.
I could have carried on, cropping square perhaps and using more textures, but not today, today I draw a chalk line at just one texture! 🙂

Necropolis soft light @ 20% on grass and cows only
Necropolis soft light @ 100% lightened to a very pale/milky green with colour sliders
Necropolis soft light @ 100% over clouds only

See the photo in glorious Cow ‘o’ rama on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Chalk path into mist

Here’s another example of why we should always carry our camera on airport runs! I drove through thick fog banks from melting snow on the way to Gatwick airport in England over Christmas, being on the motorway it was impossible to stop, so I changed my route home to the minor country roads to capture some serous fog!
This was taken at a beauty spot, a big picnic area, that normally has a superb view of the surrounding chalk hills, you can see the white chalk path in this image, in fact the chalk is always just a few inches under all the grasslands in this protected area of the Surrey Downs.
Shot with a soft grad Cokin filter.

Continuing the conversation about texturing improving images rather than rescuing bad ones’ here’s an example, the base was ok, but needed some re-balancing.
Textures were used all over then gently brushed away at the darker sides, to try and even things up. A final colour tweak at the end with a flattened version helped pull all the colours together and cool the overall look.

The final result has, I’ve been told, the timeless quality I was looking for, possibly for a Romance period bookcover? Just a few days after publishing, Getty Images snapped this up as a rights managed image, so I guess they thought so too! 🙂

Aquarius – Overlay @ 100% Bottom left hand corner brushed away
Europium – Soft Light @ 100 % all 4 corners softly brushed away
Rose Blush – Overlay @ 100% Bottom left and top right brushed away
Elysium – Hue @ 50% Blurred with Gaussian Blur

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

orbit around the winter sun

In January we often get these midwinter fairs, we think they all come south to over-winter, only returning to northern Europe in the spring.
It was nice to see this fresh white painted Ferris wheel as they’re normally brightly colored.
Taken from the ground, with a circular polarizer, the camera turned portrait format.
A few snaps later, I was off to Apple Mac to buy a new 15″ Macbook pro, to hook up to my 27″ apple cinema display.
I’d been constantly warned these Macbooks weren’t really strong enough to process huge Raw files, well I’m happy to disprove this myth!
I really wanted to be able to travel and process whilst away, but I still have the 2008 circa Imac and will now use both. I hope this info helps others decide!:-)
feel free to ask more mac set-up questions.

Processing was long, so I’ve shortened the recipe as much as possible,
I think it took all afternoon to get this looking something like the way I’d envisioned it. Remember, if you find your image getting too muddy, just add a base image copy as I did here.
My main goal was to get rid of that blue sky, and add a bit more mood.

We’ve recently heard that people think textures are just used to hide poor photography! Well, nothing could be further from the truth,
as we show in our before and after tutorials, everything is out in the open! Here at Fly we tend to use textures to enhance and bring out more mood from images, filling negative space with mostly organic texture, and some painting with light. We’ll have more to say on the subject later!

Brighter HDR version of base image – Luminosity @ 100%
Pans Sky – Overlay @ 61%, softly brushed from parts and white frame.
Muscatel – Soft Light @ 100% Flipped vertically, softly brushed from top and bottom cabins.
Aquarius – Soft Light @ 100%
HDR base 2nd copy – color @ 100%
Muscatel – Soft Light @ 100%, softly brushed from top and bottom cabins.
Luminescent – Saturation @ 93%
Iridescent Brush – Soft Light @ 100%
Iridescent Brush – Soft Light @ 68%, middle brushed away
Iorek Ice – color @ 24%
Aquarius – Soft Light @ 14%

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

The miracle of positive thought

Its always a pleasure to share our published images.
This book came out a few days ago, shot last summer, we’ve already shared the recipe, but here we’ve brought the two together!
Translation: Where there is a will there is a way!
The miracle of positive thought.

This was shot a few mins after sunrise over a green wheat field and a vineyard on the horizon. The camera was very low, almost in the wheat, and I shot on automatic in raw mode.
Processing was simple, I used just one texture,
Muscatel, desaturated, Hard Light @ 100%
And a base copy which was altered in curves, changing the saturation to more of a purple tone. This final top layer was Normal @ 44%

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.


Our country hut (or crib as they’re called in southern New Zealand) is situated beside a river in the midst of farmland. We have sheep on one side and cows on the other so I have plenty of four legged models. These “models” were in a paddock up a hill just a short distance away, thankfully they weren’t too scary when they spotted me and stood still long enough for me to snap a few shots.
The photo was taken just prior to  sunset so the light was lovely.

I started processing with a gentle levels adjustment to brighten the shot slightly.
Peach Blush @ Overlay 39%
Brushed Rose @ multiply 100% the colour of this layer was desaturated and toned more yellowish using a hue saturation adjustment. I also removed some of the texture from the sheep using a layer mask.
Necropolis @ overlay 22% desaturated  slightly and with its colour tweaked a little using a hue/saturation adjustment.
Next I did a little gentle dodging/burning to brighten the sheep.
To do this I made a new layer and filled it with 50% grey @ Overlay ,  then with a soft brush at a low opacity (about 8% or less), I painted with white to brighten selected areas, or black to darken.
I finished with a subtle HDR adjustment layer on the merged layers.

Peach Blush is from Tex Box 2, Brushed Rose from the Summer Painterly and Necropolis from Tex Box 1
See the photo a little larger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

lone tree on Christmas day

Another picture from the same Christmas day sunset shoot as the previously blogged snowman. I knelt down in the snow for this shot, and used the same Cokin mild ND2 graduated filter as before. Processing was simple, and with the addition of a slight clone-over, removed the distracting buildings behind the tree.

Base copy slight HDR enhancement in CS5 – Multiply @ 15%
Base copy slight HDR enhancement in CS5 – Soft Light @ 23% over snow only – sky brushed away.
Dawn Grunge – Soft Light @ 100%
Matmos Lake – Soft Light @ 100% Flipped vertically and horizontally, smoothed. Colour changed to a ‘Lime green’ with colour sliders.

See it bigger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.