Photo Art with Topaz Simplify

I have fallen greatly behind posting new images. I have quite a few to get to so in the mean time I will share a post I’ve been sitting on for a few months.

A while ago I read an interesting essay on Luminous Landscape.  In short, Michael Reichmann was saying that us photographers should not take ourselves so seriously.  The opening line reads, “Photographers take themselves far too seriously. They are also on the whole uptight about whether or not the world takes what they do as an art form – even after some 150 years. Lighten up folks!”  Two pictures he shares in the essay are pictures converted to appear as paintings.

My first attempt at playing around with a few images did not go so well.  I searched Google for photoshop-related methods.  I played around with the art history brush, the Fitler Gallery, and the Oil Painting filter.  These were somewhat adequate but not quite what I was looking for.  I then found Topaz Simplify and used a trial download as a test run.

I definitely enjoyed transforming the photos of old houses, barns, and buildings into a more ethereal scene with this plug-in.  Most of the time I used the Watercolor Painting and then tweaked the sliders for the desired effect.

Former Grandeur

Wheel, Combine, and House

Shed and Trees



Palouse Antiquity

A few weeks ago my wife and I spent a Saturday aimlessly driving around Eastern Washington.  I meant to show her some sights and abandoned buildings along the way, but at one point we randomly decided to venture towards Ritzville to hunt for old, bygone structures.

The first destination was near Endicott.  I was aware of the abandoned home but unaware of the barn and few outbuildings beyond.  Though there is more to see than just these two sheds, this was the shot I liked the most from this stop.  (The black and white image was taken in the rear entrance to the house.)

Endicott Sheds

Aged Lines

After continuing on the gravel road and coming to the highway, we decided in a spur-of-the-moment fashion to head towards Ritzville.  My brother-in-law had mentioned many old houses being in the area.  The farmland is much flatter in this area and more conducive to the grid pattern of the country roads.  One can also see quite far in all directions; spotting potential photo opportunities could be easy, we thought.

Before arriving at Ritzville, I headed back east just to cover some extra land.  As luck would have it, a beautiful old barn was adjacent to a home.  I isolated the barn from its surroundings and was very thankful for the nice clouds accompanying the subject.

Ritzville Barn

There are many roads to choose from but we had limited time.  I drove north from Ritzville and aimlessly meandered through the grid.  We could see clumps of trees here and there signifying a farm house.  One collection of dilapidated buildings was found and perused.  Not much was found to my photographic liking at the time so we continued.  Of in the distance I saw what promised to be a old house.  I was unsure if a road went to the location.  I took the chance and we were both very pleased!  Many old carts, trinkets, and boards from fallen buildings surrounded the site.  The gem was the small house, still standing after many decades.  It was a great find; a great way to end the day’s exploration.

Ritzville Antiquity No. 1

Ritzville Antiquity No. 2