ABFriday – November 2015

Another month has gone by and it’s time again for the ABFriday One Photo Focus, sponsored by Stacy Fisher over at Visual Venturing. A number of us take the same picture and post process it with our own interpretation. It’s always fun to see what everyone does! This month’s entries can be found here and was provided by Helen Chen.

The original photo is on the left. I applied a few standard adjustments to improve clarity, contrast and exposure. I did some minor cloning of the inside doorway to get rid of the red object and some of the speckles in the upper half of the doorway. After some debate, I also cropped it down. The wall on the left was interesting, but I found it hard to figure out where I wanted to look! After that, the brick wall to the left was burned out and I used a masking brush to darken it down more. I also darkened the inside of the doorway. Since it was a bit junky, I felt a darker look made it more mysterious.

Now it was time to play with some Topaz Labs filters! This one was my favorite – a charcoal picture done in Topaz Impressions, with a dark vignette around the outside.

Topaz Labs Impressions, with a dark vignette
Topaz Labs Impressions, with a dark vignette

My intention was to create something mysterious and creepy looking. The charcoal didn’t do that, but I felt it really highlighted the jumble of vines and bricks.

This was a close favorite. It’s the same picture as above, but before I turned it into a charcoal drawing. This used Topaz Labs Adjust “Brilliant Cold” and “Dark Night”. It turned it into something dark and mysterious, while bringing up a lot of interesting colors and textures. I had to lighten the exposure more after doing that because it got too dark.

Topaz Labs Adjust - Brilliant Cold and Dark Night
Topaz Labs Adjust – Brilliant Cold and Dark Night

This one used Topaz Labs Restyle, “Swamp and Sherpa” (those names!). It’s a little too dark and I didn’t like the colors as well as on the one above. I could easily lighten it, but didn’t want to play with it any further since it wasn’t going to be my final version.

Topaz Labs Restyle
Topaz Labs Restyle “Swamp and Sherpa”

And here was my least favorite. It’s really hard to tell what the picture even is. It used Topaz Labs Simplified “BuzSim”. I like the bricks and foliage, but the vines to the right of the door are kind of weird and too blotchy for my taste. I’d also do a little more cloning on the inside left of the doorway, where that sliver of light is. On the other pictures it works as is, but in this one it doesn’t fit in.

Topaz Labs Simplified BuzSim
Topaz Labs Simplified BuzSim

So what do you think? Did I pick the right one or should I have picked something else? Let me know!

To see how I’ve edited other photographs, click here.

ABFriday Photography Topaz Labs

dogear6 View All →

I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com.

31 Comments Leave a comment

  1. hello dogear6 its dennis the vizsla dog hay that is a seeryusly spooky doorway!!! i bet swamp thing livs in their!!! i am too skayrd of them all to pik a fayvrit!!! by the way saya sez she is on her way there to kleer the areea of the vampires wot probly liv in it!!! ok bye

    • Dennis – I will be careful to not trip on a swamp thing. I’ve been watching for Saya – was that the brown blur I saw go whipping by a few hours ago? I think she missed stopping there. Saya The Vampire Hunter – it has a nice ring to it!


    • Thanks Kathleen! Those names really are something else on the presets I used, although that one came about because I used two different presets to get that look. It did turn out good – I considered it for the finals!

    • That was a close second. The colors were incredible on it and the mood as well. It’s always fun to try these out, but hard to pick the final winner!

  2. I think you picked the right one, Nancy! My next favorite was the “Swamp and Sherpa”, dark and quite mysterious. It is so much fun to play with Topaz filters, and you had lots of fun here.

    • Thanks Tiny! Swamp and Sherpa really did turn out cool. Playing with Topaz is just so much fun and these challenges give me a good excuse for it too.

  3. I’m torn between the charcoal and your “Brilliant cold/dark night,” Nancy, so I’m not going to pick and simply say I like them both :) I always enjoy seeing all your versions, though – you have your own mini-1PF going on :D

    • I agree with your indecision – they both turned out good. Brilliant cold / dark night (which was the name of two different presets that I used) gave me that dark and mysterious look that I went for, but the charcoal was just cool. I’m not much of a black and white fan, so even I was surprised by it. And yeah, I do have my own mini-1PF going on, don’t I? But trying different looks and then refining the one I like best is – for me – the bestest fun. That’s a technical term too!

  4. The B&W conversion has really brought out the details. Interesting to see the other effects too, what a good idea to show this! I quite like the Simplified BuzSim version too.

    • Thanks Cee! Yep, I sure did have fun, but I do each month when we do these. I think the one I did for your photo was the most challenging, but each month I try and learn something new.

  5. Wow, I don’t know if i can pick a favorite. They are all great for different reasons. I must look into this Topaz program. Because ya know, you can never have too many editing programs.

    • Thanks Mary! Topaz offers a free trial. You might want to try it, because last year after Thanksgiving, they had a great sale on the full suite. If they do that again this year, it would be at a great discount.

  6. Your manipulation of photos is so intriguing (and you can explain your thought process as well as the actual process. Unusual skills)
    I like the big 3rd one best with the shadows textures – and seeing through the door. But also like the next one (Brilliant cold/dark night) That one looks like a screenshot of a movie scene.
    Always in awe at your amazing work

    • Thanks Phil! I always love it when you comment and give me your vote (and the lovely compliments too). They all have a different appeal, which makes it hard to pick a finalist. But I love trying it all out.

%d bloggers like this: