Prickly Pears

by | Blog

It’s a little known fact, but whilst at school I was a nerdy member of the South Yorkshire Cactus and Succulent Society, and wore a cute little prickly pear opuntia sticking out of a house of York white rose enamel badge, unkindly abbreviated to… well, we wont go there!
Didn’t do much at the monthly meets, just had a slideshow and lecture by Cactus nuts, normally after their having visited the Arizona or Mexican desert. Also, members sold their plants cheaply to each other at the end of the evening, otherwise they cost a fortune back then..

So, many years later it came a nice surprise to discover after moving to the south of France that even here on the northern most edge of the Mediterranean, we get loads of these prickly pears growing like weeds in stony hedgerows!

The fruits innards are like a red-fleshed pulpy watermelons, and barely worth the trouble of picking as the spots are made of tiny fibres which irritate the skin, that’s if you get past their mothers giant spines!

The idea came to me to use these varied coloured pears for a collection type poster. I had it all worked out in my head, shot it in the roof with 2 velux windows above  and a couple of fill-in lights to take away the darker shadows. I shot them on cream card, it needed a warming background as the light was very blue and white can be a nightmare to texture as a background.

I made a Flypaper Prickly Pear preset in Nik color pro efex  and you can freely download  it  HERE – which really brought the fruits to life!  I textured in the normal way. I always load my full size fly sets into the Adobe paper Panel from our friend, Dr Russell Brown, btw, you lucky guys with CC cloud, there is a new texture panel upgrade just out!

I also tried uploading our French Receipts PNG overlays set into the panel, but even though it uploads fine, the PNG’s wont show up, so I hit ‘Random’ and got 3 overlays show up, click off the ones you don’t like, keep trying till you get the one you finally like and there you go, better than nothing! I finally removed the bottom half of the overlay, and I also cloned and moved – Fruits Sec. – header at the top right to line up with the first pear and finally adjusted the brightness to taste!

Sonnet – Soft Light @ 100%
Mystic Hues – Soft Light @ 20%
Muscatel – Soft Light @ 100%
Dangerous Liaisons – Overlay @ 26% Texture removed from fruits
Dried Fruits – Fruits Secs. PNG – Multiply @ 37% all text removed from fruit
Dried Fruits – Fruits Secs. PNG – Multiply @ 34% all text removed from fruit and a slight blurring with Gaussian Blur filter to soften.

Sonnet and Mystic Hues are from the Spring Painterly, Muscatel is from Tex Box 2 and Dangerous Liaisons is from Tex Box 1.. The dried fruits png is from the French Receipt PNG pack

How to import presets and/or recipes in Color Efex 4
Open Color Efex Pro 4 from the host application that you use (Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture).
Click “Recipes” in the left panel.
At the bottom of the Recipes menu, click “Import.”
Select the “.np” preset files you have saved and import them.
These presets will then be located in the “Imported” section.

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