Flypaper Textures



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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


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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


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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 !!



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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

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!

Paint it Black!

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My first apartment in London after moving south with a college friend after graduating in the 1980’s was in the Hasidic north London Jewish area of Stamford Hill. Our charming Anglo German landlord and his wife we discovered to our embarrassment as we were hiding our pet cats, were drinking tea in our apartment on arrival! whilst meeting we noticed that they both had faded blue German WW2 ID numbers tattooed on their wrists, which we’d seen before on Holocaust survivors up north. On departing his final friendly though bizarre words were;
“Of course you’re not going to do anything like paint the walls and ceilings black are you!?”.

It had never crossed our minds but the warning or advice has stood me in good stead over the years with many landlords, right up until now, as I’ve just painted a corner of my studio matt black after finally discovering a rare can of black emulsion paint in my local Lidl store! Who would have guessed that matt black paint was so taboo in the south of France?
So these new black background image series are despite my deep seated guilt from painting a corner of the room matt black up to the window. Its just enough blackness to shoot small still lives in, and when Im over these I can quickly paint it white again, even though now as the actual house owner I’ve nothing to fear from a landlord, phew!

I started off shooting a lone candle and books but during the course of the day I felt that it wasn’t saying enough? So after a rummage through my box of props, came up with an antique french lamp (ebay) and a leather pouch of antique English copper coins, mostly old victorian pennies and three penny bits.

After which the story came together easily, one of Dickensian poverty, a dichotomy, paying the bills or buying food? And so I dedicate this to all workers who’re currently fighting for a living wage.. Calling it, ‘Oh for a living wage!’

Lighting was very simple, just daylight, it was sunny outside from a north facing window and the candle light with a bright LED anglepoise desk lamp @ desk level under the window. I shot loads of pictures before realising the reflection in the lamp door could show the candle flame to add extra depth, and finally after adding the money, I also added a white reflector on the right to brighten up the foreground slightly.
Shutter speed being just 1,25th sec and carefully hand held this time.
Just getting the candle flame in focus really helped give the image depth as the looming lamp in soft focus looked very painterly.

For processing I opened up in my now beloved Topaz Impression Filter, and quickly chose Rembrandt Portrait II, saving my settings with a screen grab as you cant save presets at the moment in Topaz.
I made a 2nd duplicate of the raw base and ran it through Topaz Star filter to get a nice light haze around the candle flame. This was to be the base layer below the Rembrandt Portrait II painterly layer and can just be seen as the painterly filter is at just 55%.
To get rid of the fake painting effects, our Flypaper textures are perfect for adding atmosphere and rebalancing, I opened the Russell Brown Paper panel and used several of our textures as the recipe shows, that lovely charcoal wall glow behind the lamp is enhanced
From our desaturated textures!

Topaz Star Effects – Candle Light 1 Preset @ 100%
Topaz Impression Effects – Rembrandt Portrait II Preset – Normal @ 55%
Flypaper Texture – Casanova – Overlay @ 23% (100% desaturated colour)
Flypaper Texture – Sakura Skies – Overlay @ 76% (100% desaturated colour)

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

Back in London many years later to finish my opening story, quite by chance saw a small picture of my old landlord in the Evening Standard newspaper, it reported that after he’d written and published his autobiography the German Government had noticed and given him a medal for bravery for trying to assassinate Hitler by placing log/s on the train tracks ahead of his train, he modestly admitted it was the bravado of youth, the log/s were discovered and removed in time for Hitler to carry on the extermination of his people, but at least he tried. Locked up afterwards surviving many death camps and thus explaining perfectly his fear of black rooms and my vicarious blackened room guilt!

Btw, after writing this and googling my old landlords name, I amazingly found this recent interview with him Here heroic guy or what?

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



Thought it was time for some more roses to brighten up the blog pages. These are my old favourites Cecile Brunner which are looking particularly beautiful in the garden at the moment, I simply added an old open book et voila!
In other news Nat from Webucator Photoshop Training has produced a wonderful and useful new video for beginners which features our Autumn Painterly Pack. In it you’ll learn how to purchase our textures from the Adobe Addon store, how to add the textures to your photos and basic masking.

And since we are talking about the Autumn Painterly Pack I decided to use textures from it to process my photo.

Gertrude Jekyll @ Multiply 55% masked from the focus flowers
Greystoke @ Soft Light 100%
Nik Analog preset Fly 3 Soft Pink with the light effects layer turned off.
Glass Plate 24 @ Soft Light 100% Masked from the focus flowers.

Gertrude Jekyll and Greystoke arr from the Autumn Painterly Pack, Glass Plate 24 is from the Antique Edges 2 Pack, Nik Analog preset Soft Pink is from the Analog Presets 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

Lonesome Bison

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After an unusually warm autumn up here in the French Jura, we were finally blessed with an overnight snow fall and so we drove up early into the
nearby ski resort and snapped away until lunch time, passing a bison farm en route and shooting them eating fresh hay, all the other cows having being taken indoors and finally buying a load of freshly churned mountain butter and their local Comte cheese to take home with us.

I’ll be taking home much more than dairy produce though, as I’m now well and truly hooked on Topaz plug-ins and stand alone Impression Topaz for Photoshop! I’ve been playing with their various plug-ins for 2 weeks now and I have to admit they’ve been nothing but fun and a pleasure to use with their general format being similar to Nik Color Pro, so its been easy to get used to, recently though, through Thomas Churchwell’s sublime portrait renderings posted on the Face Book Topaz Impression group, I also got to hear about the Topaz Impression painterly filters, there are so many to choose from, if you fancy, say, an Ed Hopper style paint effect, he’s there, along with Van Gogh and Monet et all. Amazingly you can download them all for a one months free trial period!
For me finally, these plug-ins are the perfect upgrade and antidote for filling the void left by Photoshop’s removal of their painterly filters from CC 2014.

For this image, as usual I ran it through Fly Nik color presets, I just slightly darkened the sky and added a soft cross processed LO5 color @ 25% but we’ll include this Bison preset in the next pack.This time I fancied something a little bit more illustrative than the artists presets, so I chose the Colored Pencils filter, it worked because of the bold graphical silhouette of the Bison on the snow background, it also cleared up the lumpy textured snow and rendered it into attractive snowy waves.

If you mouseover to look at my raw base shot, take note that I under exposed it as bright white snow is very hard to do moody imagery with. To finish and enhance the lonely mood I applied just one Flypaper Texture, the Classic Muscatel to warm and vignette. For more information and products please hit this hot link: Topaz

Bison Nik Fly Preset @ 100% (to be published soon)
Topaz Impression – coloured Crayons filter @ 100%
Flypaper Muscatel soft light @ 100%

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