Playing with Fire

Vanuatu Fire Show

I saw an incredible fire show while on holiday in Vanuatu last week. This group of young people mesmerised us all with their dexterity and bravado. They performed just a few feet from the restaurant tables at my resort (Eratap Beach Resort). Here’s an interesting story about how the group was set up.

“Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele was the music for one of the pieces in the show (the photo above where the woman is twirling an umbrella of fire).

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Poolside – 4

poolside-purple-xray

This photograph is my entry for week 4 of the One Four Challenge. The premise behind this intriguing new challenge, hosted by Robyn, is to process the same photo four different ways.

In the words of Monty Python, “And now for something completely different!” I call this one the Purple X-ray, and I know it won’t be to everyone’s taste. This look is the result of adjustment layer on top of adjustment layer in Photoshop: invert (swap light and dark); channel mixer and hue/saturation (to adjust amount of r, g, b to get the purple and grey look); shadows and highlights to get the strong white background to the trees; vibrance; levels to darken the pot, cushions and reflection.

I like how the leaves in the trees have an almost painted quality. The spiky plant looks to me like flames shooting upwards.

Here are all four processing variations, plus the original:


Got a favourite? Let me know!

Bonus

I had two other processes that, in the end, I decided not to include officially. It was a real toss-up for week 4 between the Purple X-ray and the Solarized version. The Andy Warhol take was just a bit of fun!

poolside-bonus

Poolside – 3

poolside-fade
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.

week1-3

Poolside – 2

pool-plant-edit2b
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.

week1-and-2

Gallery

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.)