One-Four Challenge: Forager Duck, Part IV

It’s the final week of the One Four Challenge for this month (we work on one photograph of our choosing and present a different version of it each week.) I’d wanted to play around more, but I didn’t really have much time last week, so I finally decided to just focus more on the Forager Duck itself. The result –

Forager DuckI zoomed in on the duck and applied a light oil painting effect for this version. I love how the beautiful plumage of the duck looks here!

Since this is the final week for this month’s challenge, I’ll also show the original photograph…

Forager Duck

… and the earlier three versions for this month, so you can decide which, amongst all five Foragers, you like most –

Forager Duck - Glow  Forager Duck - Muted colors  Forager Duck - Monochrome

You could even vote for one if you’d like –

For more One-Four Challenge submissions, please check out the comments section of Robyn’s post for this week, or search for the tag ‘One Four Challenge’ in WordPress.

One-Four Challenge: Forager Duck, Part III

It’s week 3 of the One Four Challenge for this month; it’s hosted by Robyn Gosby, and we present four weekly versions of one photograph (of our choosing) over one month. My chosen photograph is a Forager Duck, of which I’ve presented ‘glowy‘ and muted-color versions so far. This week, I went monochrome, so I could submit it to the Monochrome Madness series that Leanne Cole hosts. 🙂

Forager Duck

For this version, I slightly blurred the surroundings using a combination of radial- and zoom-blurred layers in Hard Light mode before applying a sepia effect, resulting in softer waves that still show some reflections, and a comparitively stronger focus on the duck.

For more One-Four Challenge submissions, please check out the comments section of Robyn’s post for this week, or search for the tag ‘One Four Challenge’ in WordPress.

For more Monochrome Madness submissions, you might want to head over to Leanne’s post.

One-Four Challenge: Forager Duck, Part II

It’s week 2 of the One Four Challenge for May. Robyn Gosby hosts this challenge on her blog, and we work on a photograph of our choosing, presenting a different version of it every week for four weeks of the month.

I’ve chosen a Forager Duck this month, and my version for this week is a muted-color one.

Forager Duck

For this version, I played with color levels on a duplicated layer of the original image. I changed the ranges of the color channels in the layer to make it appear washed-out, and set the duplicated layer to 50% opacity in Color mode.

For more submissions, please check out the comments section of Robyn’s post for this week, or search for the tag ‘One Four Challenge’ in WordPress.

One-Four Challenge: Forager Duck, Part I

After a break of many months from the One Four Challenge that Robyn hosts on her blog, I’m participating again this month. And the picture I choose is that of a duck looking for food on the shores of Lake Tahoe. I call it ‘Forager Duck’ because it sounds like ‘Ranger Duck’ and makes the duck look tough.

Forager Duck

I had to do some pre-editing on the original photograph to make it eligible for more editing, and this pre-edited version is what I’ll use as the base image for this time’s edits. I’ll publish that at the end of this month, as always. I’m planning on keeping this month’s images soft and light; I hope that’ll eventually turn out to be true. (The pre-edit is neither soft nor light, so yeah, it’ll take some work.)

For this week’s edit, I duplicated the original (by which I mean pre-edited) image layer in Hard Light mode, and applied a Gaussian Blur of 15. I then duplicated the blurred layer in Screen mode. I finally added a vignette. That adds some simple softening and a bit of glow, and hides the frothiness of those waves.

If you want to look for more submissions, they’re on Robyn’s blog. Or you could search for the tag ‘One Four Challenge’ on WordPress.

One Four Challenge: Lamp Post IV – on canvas

Yay! It’s week 4 of January’s One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn, where we process one image of our choosing in 4 different ways over the month. This final week is when I get to show you the original as well, and ask you which, amongst all versions of this month (including the original), you like best. (For other wonderful submissions, check out Robyn’s blog or search for the tag ‘One Four Challenge.’)

Okay, last week’s foggy day effect was considered spooky by a few 😉 so I decided to publish something much less foggy this time — a painting on canvas. To tell you the truth, I had this version ready well before last week’s version, and I was still trying a couple of different versions. I didn’t like them as much as I did this one, so without further ado, here it is —

Lamp Post

Lamp post, on canvas

I’d restrained myself long enough from using edge detection, but for this, I went bonkers! 🙂 Edge detection, works very well in… a painting effect, for instance, if you’re interested in giving the edges that extra definition. For this version, I made a copy of the original image layer. I applied a slight blur on it (so the edges don’t come out crystal clear) and inverted the colors before performing a Sobel edge detection. This layer is in Value mode at 35% opacity. I then applied a canvas texture on the image. A simple process when compared to the past couple of weeks, but simple is good, especially when it achieves the purpose, isn’t it? 🙂

As promised, here’s the original, with some color and contrast correction applied, that I used as the base for this month’s versions.

Lamp Post

Lamp Post, original

To refresh your memory, or for your benefit if you haven’t seen them yet, here are tiny versions of the other edits for this month. Clicking on them will take you to the corresponding posts where I’ve mentioned how those effects came about.

Earlier images this month in this series

Lamp Post - radiating Lamp Post - damaged Lamp Post - foggy day

Do you have a favorite? Would you like to tell me which one?

One Four Challenge: Lamp Post III – foggy day

It’s monochrome time! 🙂 I think this image will go well both for this week’s One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn, and for the week’s Monochrome Madness at Leanne’s. Do check out their blogs for other brilliant submissions.

This time, I thought I’d add a foggy day feel to the scene. These were what I wanted to accomplish: (a) The fog would lend a slight softness to the scene, reducing the contrast. (b) The lamp would be switched on. (c) Because fog translates to low visibility, the reach of the lamplight would not be much.

This is what I decided to submit —

Lamp Post, foggy day

Lamp post, foggy day

For this version, I had to do a lot of things, but this is the gist —

I added a copied layer in Grain-extract mode and blurred it by 3 pixels to make it softer. It was a bit too soft, but reducing the blurring would kill the softness, so I added another copied layer (with no effects added) above it, with reduced opacity. That completed the softness part.

To make it monochrome, I added an all-white layer in Saturation mode. (I think this was the simplest step in the process. 😉 )

To light up the lamp, I added a small starburst with a lot of short spokes over the lamp. I reduced its opacity until it felt right.

For the light emitted by the lamp, I used three layers — one with a radial gradient of white-to-transparent, applied with the lamp as the center, to simulate the light’s glow; another a black vignette to darken the surroundings where the light would be weak; and a last layer with some faint extra shadows in the background, cast by the fence post and the tree, that would correspond to the weak light. I’m not overly fond of how that last layer turned out, but without it, the scene looks weird to me. Maybe I’ll try something else the next time I have to add shadows.

Finally, I added a sepia layer because I thought it looked better that way. 😀

Most of the time, I played around with the transparencies of all the layers until I was satisfied it had just enough of the foggy feel. But now that I’ve linked the picture here, I see that I have a problem that’s the opposite of what Robyn’s been facing with her image this month — mine looks clearer here than it actually is…! 😮 Should I consider this one of life’s mysteries?

Earlier images this month in this series

Lamp Post - radiating Lamp Post - damaged

One Four Challenge: Lamp Post II – damaged

I’d originally decided to go vintage for this week’s One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn. Vintage, for me, translates to sepia or black and white images, so I decided to shake things up. I thought I’d retain the colors while introducing some damage to the picture. (Now that’d make it not so vintage, wouldn’t it? 😉 )

I first thought of creating something like heat damage, but none of the stuff I tried came out satisfactory. The different dark and light areas cause something that looks good in one region look, well, not so good in another. I was beginning to think that I should abandon my attempts and try something else, but decided to give it a chance when I got this result — a faded, damaged (though not overly) photograph that looks like it used to be a high-contrast one with some over-saturated colors in it…

Lamp post, damaged

Lamp post, damaged

For this version, I started out by adding a copied layer in Burn mode to get a darker, more saturated version of the image. Then came two vignette layers with 50% opacity, one with black to darken the over-exposed looking ground and sky, and one with blue in Color mode to augment the next layer. And the next layer is the ‘damage’ — a red-on-black lava effect (that one’s available as a render-filter in GIMP), which I added in Grain Extract mode at 60% opacity to make the effect subtle. This layer also lightens the image, which compensates for the earlier darkening from the Burn mode and gives a faded look.

Though it was not what I originally intended, I think it doesn’t look so bad either… What say you?

Earlier images this month in this series

Lamp Post - radiating

One Four Challenge: Lamp Post I – radiating

It’s time for the first One Four Challenge of this year, hosted by Robyn, where we process a single image (of our choosing) four different ways. This post’s actually probably late, because there already are about a hundred others published for the challenge. I’d been wondering at the end of last month about whether I’m going to take part in the challenge this month (since I don’t post too often in the first place), and if I am, which photograph I’m going to choose. And I forgot to decide! 😥 I hastily browsed through my pictures, but I think I’ll just stick with one that was a candidate last month — a lamp post.

Lamp post, radiating

Lamp post, radiating

This lamp post is one of several in the gardens around the Royal Palace of La Granja, Spain. The original photograph will be on display in my final post for this month’s challenge.

I’d intended to not apply drastic effects (like, say, a color splash 😉 ) this time, but seeing that I didn’t spend hours browsing through my photo stash to find a versatile photograph, I’m hoping that I’ll keep this promise. (Now there’s my challenge! 🙂 Right?)

For this version, I applied a zoom blur radiating outward from the light in the lamp post, and tinted the image a tiny bit of yellow to make the scenery somewhat warmer. (It was really cold that day.) I like how the blur masks the distracting piece of sky at the top and keeps the focus on the foreground.

As always, here’s hoping that the challenge is a fun and enlightening experience! Thank you for hosting, Robyn.

One Four Challenge — The Path 4, Night light

This is the final version of my photograph in a very fun and experiment-filled month for the One Four Challenge series hosted by Robyn. After last week‘s color splash, I decided to do a muted-color version of the path that I clicked at Chitradurga.

While I was trying out things, I had this thought on making a ‘night’ version of the scenery, with all discernible colors dulled and replaced with some sort of moonlight effect. And this is what I came up with –

Path -- Night light

Path — Night light

I think this is the darkest the picture has been, and the most highlighted the path has ever been, and I feel that together, they skew the shot somewhat. Well, I’m consoled by the fact that I at least got the night effect that I was aiming for… 🙂

The How:

I duplicated the image layer in Grain extract mode at 65% opacity, and applied ‘Difference of Gaussians’
edge detection on it. (Yes, I’ve used edge detection for an earlier version too, albeit with different settings. I think I’ve to make a conscious decision to not use it much next time.) I then added a layer in Multiply mode at 85% opacity, and filled it with blue. Finally, I added a layer in Soft light mode, and filled it with white — that brightened the scenery and made the glow on the stone, the grass and the path more prominent. Evidently, I like how that glow turned out! 😀

Earlier images

Path -- sepia tones   Path -- monochrome textures   Path 3 - Color splash

The original version is very, very similar to the first photograph (I did minimal editing there) so I’m not going to post it this time. However, if you’d like to tell me which of these four versions you like most, I’m all ears!

One Four Challenge — The Path 3, Color Splash

Yet another week, yet another post for the One Four Challenge series hosted by Robyn. 🙂 I continue from last week‘s photograph of a path to a structure at Chitradurga that I processed as a monochrome of stony (and other) textures.

This time, I’d thought of bringing the focus to the grass and plants abundant around the structure. What I’d wanted was to highlight only the grassy colors in the photograph, and make the rest of the picture subdued. The grass in this photograph, though, is vague and hazy at most places, and really distinct at some other spots; and no matter what I did, the colors either did not stand out much from the rest of the scenery, or stood out so much that it marred the picture. So I decided that I would deviate from the original plan and instead, introduce splashes of color to the plain, boring green that I’d wanted to highlight.


Path — two-tone with color splash

After playing around in GIMP, this is what came closest to what I had in mind. Now the color splash makes the picture reminiscent of spring, and not the original cloudy, rainy day! 😛

The How:

I duplicated the image layer in Value mode at 65% opacity, and mapped it to two tones with a threshold that I liked the result of. This gives a black and white image — not with shades of gray, this has just the two colors black and white. (The higher you set the threshold, the blacker the image is.) Let’s call this Image #1.

I then duplicated Image #1, restored the black-and-white layer to 100% opacity, and merged both layers into one. I selected all of the green colored areas in this layer, and filled them with bright green. I then copied the selection and pasted it as a new layer in Image #1 in Grain extract mode at 65% opacity. The pink had already started showing! 🙂

I now selected the opaque areas in this layer again. (An easy way to do this is to select by color, since all of the opaque areas are bright green now.) Keeping the selection intact, I shifted focus to the original (bottom-most) layer. I copied the selection from here and pasted it as a new layer in Burn mode at 85% opacity to make the reds emerge. Done.

Earlier images

Path Path

One Four Challenge — The Path II — Monochrome

This post continues from my first entry for this month’s One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn. This time, I wanted to focus more on the stone of the structure itself, and the stone wall behind it. I know — this, when the title for this series is ‘The Path.’ Well, what can I say? 🙂 Only that the path will still feature in all of the pictures this month; taking it away makes the picture look incomplete to me.


During some very fun experiments, I found that I liked this monochrome version. Well, that means I’m also submitting it to Leanne Cole and Laura Macky’s Monochrome Madness series, hosted at Leanne’s. Of course, this picture looks very processed, and that’s alright. I like the sharpness of the stones in the wall and the altered texture of… almost everything, really.

I’m mostly on Linux, and I use ImageMagick for simple processing, and the impressive GIMP for anything that deviates from easy with ImageMagick. For this picture, I cropped the image at the bottom for a 5:3 aspect ratio, and converted it to grayscale. To exaggerate the texture, I added a duplicated layer above it in Divide mode with 50% opacity. I embossed this layer, performed edge detection using Prewitt Compass algorithm, and applied a Gaussian blur to soften the edges slightly.

Earlier images

The One Four Challenge

This month, I’m participating in the One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn. In short, this challenge involves processing a photograph four ways, and posting each week about each kind of processing that we did. And I’ve decided (after a very quick search) to use this photograph of an unknown structure and the path leading to it. I clicked this on a cloudy-and-rainy day at the Chitradurga Fort, a historical site in Karnataka, India.

Path This time, I’ve done precious little in terms of processing. I brightened it some and added a bit of contrast (the usual), then added a semi-transparent layer of sepia for the slight brownish tinge.

I have to admit that I only have a couple of processing ideas for this photograph so far. (Shhh!) I’m hoping that inspiration strikes at the right moments. 🙂