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



Black and White Palouse

The primary mindset I have when photographing is color.  Many people shoot only in color, reserving black and white for midday light and other times the light isn’t quite right.  This has usually been my mindset, though over the past few months I have started to approach this differently.  In color photography, the main aspects to consider are how the colors contrast and complement each other in a composition (strong red-orange light at sunrise or sunset, or contrast warm and cool tones, etc.).  I have typically treated black and white images as ones that just wouldn’t work with color but I would try and salvage an image nonetheless.  Then I began playing around with converting fine color images (or what I thought were fine) to black and white and seeing the results.  Below are a few images I have taken over the summer that turned out much better in black and white than they would have in color (and some were taken in fine early day light).

Road through wheat

Old Chevy

Decaying Combine

Wooden Gate