Captured Moments – Garden of the Gods – part 2

Good morning,

When I think of the Garden of the Gods, I think of the huge beautiful red rocks with names like Cathedral Spires, or Sleeping Giant.  Of course, there is so much more to see there and one of those is another rock formation they simply refer to as White Rock.


See the rock formation on the top to the left?


We decided it looked like a buffalo.  What do you think?

This was a fun day trip and there are more photos to go through and hopefully share.  If you are in Colorado Springs and I would highly recommend visiting Garden of the Gods.

Captured Moments – Full Moon with Panasonic Lumix FZ80 and Topaz Studio

One of the reasons that I wanted the Panasonic Luminx FZ80 was the 60x zoom.  My old Canon SX280HS , which had a bad experience at the beach one year, had a zoom that worked well for moon shots and I wanted another camera with similar zoom capabilities..  I tried using the hand held night shot scene mode on the Panasonic Lumix FZ80.  It would not zoom close enough to get the shot I wanted.  I decided to try using the 4K mode in the iA setting and the zoom extended and focused the way I was hoping it would.   Below are the results.  The photos were shot in 4K, hand held with the camera braced against my porch post.  (A new tripod is high on the wish list)

I caught a bit of the clouds in this one.

The next photo is also a hand held shot using 4k in the iA (Auto) setting.

This is the same photo using an effect called Antique Amber in Topaz Studio. 


Captured moments – Waterlilies and thoughts on photo editing software.

We place water tanks around our place for the wildlife.  The taller ones for the deer, lower ones for other creatures.  It gets so dry in the summers and there are no ponds or creeks nearby.  We added some Gambusia, also known as, Mosquito fish to all the ponds to keep the mosquito population down.  This tank is near the house and I added underwater plants and a waterlily to it a few years ago.  This lily has not bloomed for a couple of years, but this year has given me a single bloom about once a month since spring.  

Of course I have to take photos.  

Photographer, author and editor, Theo Fenraven,  takes amazing photos and turns them into beautiful works of art.  Click the link above to visit his website.   He has some amazing art.  I was curious about which photo editing software he used and he said that he uses Photoshop and Topaz.   He was very helpful answering my questions and directing me to blog posts he has done detailing some of the processes he uses.

This is an example of his art.  Beautiful!

Digital Art by Theo Fenraven

Theo uses the pro plugins that Topaz offers and actual Photoshop.  I have not used either of those,but had experimented with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software.  I admit that I did not enjoy using it.  It may have been more than I was ready to commit to.

I have been using Photoshop Elements 13 for a while now and went in search of Topaz.  They have a series of great plugins that can be used with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.  They also have their own free software called Topaz Studio.  I am trying it out now before I venture into buying some of their plugins.  I am enjoying Topaz Studio.  It is very user friendly and fun for a novice like myself.   Since I am comfortable with Photoshop Elements, I find myself switching back and forth between the two software programs, comparing ways to edit photos. One of the lovely things about Topaz Studio is users can create filters and share them.  While I have created some of my own, I did not use them for the waterlilies, they worked better for the wildlife photos I had been editing.

Below is the unedited, direct from the camera photo of the waterlily.  I am using a Panasonic Lumix FZ80 camera.

The next photo is edited with Photoshop Elements.  It is cropped and I used a Saturated Film effect.

Below is one using a filter titled Expressionism from the user created filters in Topaz Studio.  I did tweak some of the setting.  This a very cool feature.  Even though they have given you their settings, you can open individual sections and make your own adjustments.  

Lastly, is a filter from Topaz Studio called African Forest.  I love this effect.  I did change the color temperature and hue and played with the opacity of the filter.

After using the free software, I am sure that I will be buying some of the Topaz plugins.