Poolside – 3

This photograph is my entry for week 3 of the One Four Challenge. The premise behind this intriguing new challenge, hosted by Robyn, is to process the same photo four different ways.

This time, I’ve gone for the ‘distressed old snapshot’ look. To achieve this, I applied a number of adjustment layers to the jpg in Photoshop: levels, black and white, colour balance, a gradient fill. Then I added some dust and scratches on top to give it that authentic “laying in a drawer for 20 years” look.

Below are snapshots of weeks 1 to 3 for comparison, and you can see the original here.


Poolside – 2

This photograph is my entry for week 2 of the One Four Challenge. The premise behind this intriguing new challenge, hosted by Robyn, is to process the same photo four different ways.

I’ve gone for something completely different this week — from harsh and monochromatic in week 1, to soft and dreamy now. Some people commented that my first edit reminded them of images in interior design magazines; to me, this one is right out of a wedding magazine (without bride!).

To get this look, I knocked clarity way down; bumped up vibrance, exposure, highlights and whites; increased noise reduction; decreased luminance in greens and aquas; added blue to shadows and highlights.

Below are snapshots of week 1 and week 2 for comparison, and you can see the original here.



Barking mad

(click any image to view full size)

Like a snake sloughing its skin, the gum tree in front of my balcony sheds its bark in spring. Never before having lived 10 feet from a gum tree, let alone one that towers above even the six stories of my apartment building, I am fascinated when this tree’s smooth bark begins to wrinkle and crack. After a few weeks, the fresh new bark appears.

This post is my entry for two challenges: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bark or Leaves and Sunday Stills Shallow Depth of Field.

(post edited on 11 November to include link to Sunday Stills challenge)

Poolside – 1

poolside edit 1

This photograph is my entry for week 1 of the One Four Challenge. The premise behind this intriguing new challenge, hosted by Robyn, is to process the same photo four different ways.

Robyn asks that we talk about the photo, so … the original (click the thumbnail below to view it larger) was taken 2014-09-19 at The Byron at Byron Bay, which is a resort I stayed at. You can see a few other photos from that resort here.

I do all my photo processing in Photoshop CC. To get the look for this edit, I processed the RAW file with the following settings:

  • saturation: reds, oranges, yellows, aquas, blues, purples and magentas = -100; greens = +100
  • high noise reduction
  • bumped up exposure
  • contrast at +100
  • shadows at -100
  • blacks at -70
  • clarity at +100
  • vibrance at +80
  • saturation at -50

poolside thumbnail
(click thumbnail to see original)

Descent to the caves of Taittinger

Eighteen metres (59 feet) below the ground in Reims, France, lie the caves of Taittinger, one of the finest producers of champagne. To make the descent to the caves, you must negotiate this spiral staircase.

spiral staircase to the Taittinger caves
The Taittinger caves occupy some of the vaults of the ancient Saint Nicaise Abbey. These stairs are in the old abbey vaults.
stairs from the old Saint Nicaise Abbey
In World War I, the caves were used as places of refuge for civilians and Allied soldiers. If you look closely, you can make out the year 1914 in this graffiti carved into the wall.
World War I graffiti in Taittinger caves
A pupitre with bottles is visible at the foot of these stairs. The bottles of champagne are placed in the pupitre and rotated so that the sediment collects in the necks.
pupitre at the base of the stairs
And this is what it’s all about…
Taittinger champagne
(The first four photos were taken in the caves of Taittinger in May 2005 on a poor quality print camera, and later scanned to digital. The final photo was taken in October 2014: the champagne in the glass is not Taittinger, but the backdrop is a bag from Taittinger; it appeared recently in this post.)

Psycho thriller, qu’est-ce que c’est?

In Your Sights by Elizabeth Krall

In Your Sights is a psychological thriller. A key theme of the novel is photo blogging, and the way we bloggers make friends with people we never actually meet; the way anyone can post anything, for the world to see. How would you feel if you stumbled across a photo of yourself on a stranger’s blog? How would you feel if you found two?

Confession: I wrote In Your Sights. It will be released in December this year. The Daily Post ‘cover art’ challenge was too good a fit to pass up!

The cover is based on a photo I took in August 2013 (unedited original below), at an art exhibition in an old industrial space in Sydney. Those bright pink cones are actually the tops of large pyramids of multi-coloured candies.

art exhibit, Cockatoo Island, Sydney 2013

And if you’re still reading — the title of this post is a take on a line from the classic Talking Heads’ song Psycho Killer.


Champagne Day redux

Taittinger champagne

I don’t make a habit of posting twice in the same day, let alone two posts on the same topic, but that garish ‘Bordello Bubbly‘ post has been making me cringe all day. I couldn’t let that stand as my ode to Global Champagne Day! So here is something rather more tasteful.

With apologies to Taittinger, I must confess that this is a glass of Mumm champagne. All I can say in my defence is that Mumm is on sale in Sydney this week! The very elegant glass itself was, uh, liberated from the Dorchester in London. The backdrop is genuine Taittinger: it’s the bag they put my ice bucket in when I bought it in Reims.