Author Archives: Bill Barber

The Egret and The Eel

This morning along the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park was dark and stormy. I had gone over to check out the wildlife action. Approaching storms kept action to a minimum. This afternoon after the storms moved on I went back. When I first got there, there was a Great Egret patiently watching for a late lunch. All of a sudden the Egret struck and came up with an Eel. Nice Catch! Well Mr. Eel was not going to go down the hatch so easily. It was a struggle. In fact at one point Mr. Eel had himself wrapped around the Egrets bill! But the Egret was determined and eventually had his lunch!

Egret-and-Eel-web Egret-and-Eel-2-web Egret-no-Eel-web

Posted in bird, causeway, huntington beach, outdoor, photography

Twirls

Twirling is on fire, especially if you’re a member of the Photoshop and Lightroom group on Facebook. Hundreds upon hundreds of images have been shared on social media this week featuring the techniques that create a Twirl.  Some will say that this technology has always been there and that it’s not new.  While this may be true, the trend worthiness of it certainly is, as most had never heard of it or knew how to create one.  They are addictive and super easy to do. The possibilities are limitless.

Step by Step Instructions on How To Twirl in Photoshop

1.) Open any image in Photoshop

2.) With your background layer selected, go to Filter – Pixelate – Mezzotint. Make sure your mode is set to “Medium Lines.” Press OK.

3.) With your background layer still selected, go to Filter – Blur – Radial Blur.  Amount (100) – Blur Method (zoom) – Quality (best). Press OK.

4.) Repeat step 3 as many times as you like.  I usually like to run it about 3 times.

5.) Duplicate your background layer.  Keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD J. This will create a duplicate layer called “Layer 1″ right above your background layer.

6.) Select your background layer.  Then go to Filter – Distort – Twirl.  In the Angle number box, you want to put in a positive value number.  Let’s put in 80 for now.  Press OK. You can always try different ones the more you experiment.

7.) Select Layer 1 above your background layer.  Then go to Filter – Distort – Twirl.  In the Angle number box, you want to put in a negative value number this time.  Let’s put in -80 for now.

8.) With Layer 1 selected, we want to change the blending mode of this layer. In your layers palette, right above Layer 1, you will see the word “normal.” Click on that and it will expand a variety of choices.  Depending on the colors and exposure in your image, will depend on which blending mode works best here. Click through the various options until you find the one you like the best on your image. I like Darken, Multiply, Lighten, Exclusion and Difference modes for Twirl art. But choose what works best for you.

9.) Flatten your image. You can stop here or work on it some more.

10.) To see more advanced tips on taking what you’ve just created to the next level, watch the video directly above this step-by-step guide. Have fun!

Here are some Twirls created using the step by step methods shown above as well as some more advanced techniques. Click on any image for larger view!

 

Clown-Balloon-Kaleidoscope-web-twirl collage twirl frax_47362_custom-web with frame kia6-web photo 3 purple

Posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Digital Art, photography

Collage and Orb

Just the other day I was looking through some older files. While doing so I decided to compose a collage of florals. This collage is shown below. Shortly after creating the collage I wondered what the collage would look like if I turned it into an orb. This orb is shown below too and I think you will agree looks rather nice!

The Collage

The Collage

The Orb

The Orb

If you would like to learn how to make your own orb, you can find a video and written tutorial here: HOW TO MAKE AN ORB

Also, I run a group on Facebook that is about orbs. People from around the world post their orb creations here for others to enjoy. If you would like to look or join in you can do so here: NATURE OF ORBS

Posted in art and entertainment, Digital Art, flowers, orbs

Sabattier Effect Revisited

I got an email from someone asking about the Sabattier Effect. After answering his questions, I realized I had not done anything using this effect for quite some time. So I dug up an image I thought would work well and applied the effect. This image is of some small boats tied up in the harbor of Sorrento, Maine.
Should you be interested in trying this effect on your own images, there is a written and video tutorial here: Sabattier Effect

 

Sabattier Effect on Sorrento Harbor boats.

Sabattier Effect on Sorrento Harbor boats.

Posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Digital Art, Maine, photography

Tips for Beach Photos

The following is a repeat of a an article I posted almost four years ago. With beach season now upon us , I thought it might be a good time to kick it back to the forefront.

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Are your holiday snaps by-the-sea often disappointing? Beach images can seem repetitive, with little more than the water’s edge and shore, or people on the beach. With a change of focus, your beach photos can be turned into unique and original images. This article highlights the most important steps to follow when taking seaside photographs.

1. Take a look at your surroundings and look for a focal point. While the seaside as a whole is beautiful to the naked eye when you’re actually on the beach, it is less interesting as a photograph because the viewer sees only a wide, open space featuring blue sky, blue sea, and yellow sand – a fairly predictable scene. To provide something on which the eye immediately comes to rest within a photograph, find a “focal point” – this is the art of focusing on something out of the ordinary to bring the beach shot to life:

  • Find the focal point of interest – a shoe, a beach umbrella, a fish and chip wrapper, your child’s toes, prints across the sand, a sandcastle, etc. Good focal points are often brightly coloured, or vary in hue from the other colours in the picture.
  • Find natural features of interest – some pebbles, rippling sand, the wave breaking at the water’s edge, palm trees, shells, seaweed, etc.
  • Find something out at sea of interest – perhaps a boat with bright sails, seals playing, or a jumping dolphin.
  • Note that anything moving across water can create interesting ripples (a bird, sea creature, boat, or wind, can all create this effect), and movement in the water will distort anything reflecting in the sea water, which can heighten interest of the photograph in good light.
2. Avoid putting the horizon in the center. Centering the horizon can give the viewer a sensation that the photo has been sliced in half, which can be disorienting, as long, unbroken horizons contain little of interest in a photo. Instead, break down the image into thirds (the “rule of thirds”), both horizontally and vertically, to create nine equal parts to your image. Keep the horizon square to the framing of your shot, in order to avoid a sloping effect.
When imagining the division of the image, focus on where the lines intersect – according to this classical rule of composition, these intersections create the optimum positions for the main subjects of your image.
3. Frame your picture. Look around you. Ask yourself what points of interest you can include in the photo. For example, are there any rocks, trees, beach houses, piers, etc., that you can use to add a natural frame to the picture? If so, use them. For example, framing a sea shot through trees can be particularly effective if you have a focal point out at sea, such as a boat.
4. Use differing levels and angles. Don’t just shoot straight on, mix the angles up a bit. Aim for something kooky, funky and interesting. Get down low to photograph children and their beach activities, stand up high to take a tree, or lie down under a pier.
5. Use colour to break up the blues and yellows of a beach scene. Blue, more blue, perhaps some yellow: beaches aren’t the most imaginative places colour-wise. This makes it important to capitalise on any splashes of colour. Vibrant colours will really stand out, and make your photo look doubly attractive.
  • For a DSLR, consider using a UV filter. This will reduce the atmospheric haze that is increased by the blueness of the sea.
  • Again for a DSLR lens, use a polarizing filter to reduce reflections and boost the contrasting shades. This can help to improve skies and ocean water by making them a darker blue.
6. Choose the best times of day to take beach photos. When the sun’s riding high it might be a nice time for sunbathing, but it’s the worst time of day for decent photos as the light is too strong and bright. The best times of day for beach photos are at the beginning and end of the day, especially around sunrise and sunset. The sun resting on the horizon looks brilliant, and it’s hard not to take a decent snap at these times. As an added bonus, you will have less people on the beach at these times of day.

 

  • Morning air is usually still and the light is quiet, delicate and diffuse until the sun rises. Early morning light changes rapidly with the sun rising, so expect your exposure times to change rapidly and to move quickly to capture the special moments.
  • Evening light often has a warm glow that provides intense gold and rose colours. Haze and shadows are common features that you can draw on as the day draws to an end.
  • Take care not to include your own shadow when taking photographs early and late in the day when the sun’s shadows are at their longest; check around the whole frame to make sure you’re not forming a part of the picture! You can easily rectify this by moving to a different position.
7. Make the most of non-sunny days. Windswept, threatening weather can create incredible, mood-infused photos at the beach. With nobody about, you can take uninterrupted views and dramatic views of dark clouds and stormy seas.
  • Mist, fogs, and haze can all work to your advantage in creating interesting features.

  • Try shooting in black and white, or flip it to black and white using a photo program such as Photoshop when you get home to cover the overcast, cloudy, sky and make things look a whole lot more atmospheric.
  • Just after a storm moves through can produce dramatic light contrasts.
8. HAVE FUN!
HBSP-Beach-web Barbados-Beach-Near-Bathsheba-web Barbados-near-Bathsheba-web
Posted in huntington beach, outdoor, photography, South Carolina

Footsteps of Paul Part Ten

Today is the last day of our trip. Tomorrow we endure a long flight home but today we will enjoy sightseeing with a Local Guide in Athens, the most important city in ancient Greece and famed for its culture, learning, and great philosophers.

Our tour today includes a visit to Mars Hill, the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora.
Mars Hill, or as it is also known, Areopagus, is a bare marble hill next to the Acropolis and is where the historic sermon about the “unknown god” was delivered. (Acts 17:15-34). The Ancient Agora is where Apostle Paul met and spoke to the Epicureans and Stoic Philosophers (Acts17:17-18),

We will then cruise through some of the City Highlights of Athens seeing: the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the Parliament Bldg. and the Panathenaikon Olympic Stadium.
The Panathenaikon Stadium, also called Kallimarmaron, is near the heart of the city of Athens. It dates back to ancient times, when it was a venue hosting athletic events for the Panathenaic Games.

I hope you enjoyed living our tour through these blog posts. This will be the last of this series. Thank you!

Click on any image for larger view:

 

Parthenon

Parthenon

Mars Hill

Mars Hill

Odeum of Herodes Atticus

Odeum of Herodes Atticus

Porch of the Caryatids

Porch of the Caryatids

The Erechtheion (and Empie)

The Erechtheion (and Empie)

Temple of Athena Nike

Temple of Athena Nike

Column Detail

Column Detail

Overhead Detail

Overhead Detail

Panathenaikon Stadium

Panathenaikon Stadium

Posted in Greece, methodist, Paul, photography, travel, UMC

Footsteps of Paul Part Nine

After docking back at Pireaus, we continued to the ancient site of Corinth for a guided visit of the excavations where Apostle Paul worked for 18 months with tent makers Aquila and Priscilla.

Here the remaining columns of the Temple of Apollo are the primary structures left standing.  However, we also saw the Bema where the Roman proconsul Gallio would likely have sat when he showed complete indifference to the accusations brought against Paul (Acts 18:12-16).

In Paul’s time, Corinth had developed into a major government and commerce center of that region. It was a large cosmopolitan city, with a estimated mixed population of 400,000 people – Romans, Greeks, and Jews. Athens always led as the classic Greek city of intellectual and architectural wonders, but Corinth was where “real life” of the time happened. Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul around the time when Paul became very active in the region.

 

Site Sign

Site Sign

Acropolis of Corinth

Acropolis of Corinth

Temple of Apollo

Temple of Apollo

Museum Courtyard

Museum Courtyard

Horse Head

Horse Head

Mosaic

Mosaic

Part of Market Area

Part of Market Area

Roman Era Statue

Roman Era Statue

Roman Battle Scene

Roman Battle Scene

Don't remember who this is.

Don’t remember who this is.

Roman Art

Roman Art

Roman-Art-at-Corinth-web

Corinth Theater

Corinth Theater

Posted in Greece, Paul, photography, travel, UMC

Footsteps of Paul Part Eight

Our next stop on the Footsteps of Paul Tour was a place Paul probably did not visit. We enjoyed it anyway!

Santorini, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century B.C.E., forever shaping its rugged landscape and villages. The whitewashed, cubist houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the clear Aegean and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.

Santorini is the most popular island in Greece. It may be the most popular island in the world. There are few travel destinations that combine beautiful beaches, spectacular scenery, ancient cities, amazing restaurants, some of the world’s best wine, and an active volcano. But Santorini has all this and more.

Click on any image for larger view:

We took cable car to top, others hiked up!

We took cable car to top, others hiked up!

Everything is perched on the hillside.

Everything is perched on the hillside.

Cable Cars

Cable Cars

Some homes are built into the hillside. Prime real estate.

Some homes are built into the hillside. Prime real estate.

Can you imagine  having this view everyday?

Can you imagine having this view everyday?

We made it to the top!

We made it to the top!

One of many towers.

One of many towers.

Clock tower

Clock tower

Local shop

Local shop

So pretty!

So pretty!

Sounds like a plan!

Sounds like a plan!

Posted in Greece, methodist, Paul, photography, travel, UMC

Footsteps of Paul Part Seven

This afternoon, on our Footsteps of Paul tour, we continued your cruise to Patmos, one of the Sporades. A small rugged island of the Icarian Sea, part of the Aegean. The scene of John’s banishment (by Domitian), where he “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” The rocky solitude suited the sublime nature of the Revelation. On a hill in the southern half of the island is the monastery of John the divine, and the traditional grotto of his receiving the Apocalypse. We got to enter into the monastery and see some of the oldest Biblical manuscripts, including the Purple Codex.

In the middle ages called Palmosa from its palms; now there is but one, and the island has resumed its old name Patmo or Patino. It is unvisited by Turks, without any mosque, and saddled with moderate tribute, free from piracy, slavery, and any police but their own.

We were also able to see the famed Windmills of Patmos. Two of these windmills on a hill just below Hora village were built in 1588 (the third in 1863), when the relatively new technology spread throughout Europe. In the 1950s the windmills were abandoned and became derelict. Since 2009 the windmills have been restored for use as an example of conservation, alternative technology, as a cultural and educational resource and tourist attraction.

Click on any image for larger view:

Patmos Panorama

Patmos Panorama

Looking back on our cruise ship

Looking back on our cruise ship

Mosaic of John dictating his revelation to his scribe.

Mosaic of John dictating his revelation to his scribe.

Windmills of Patmos

Windmills of Patmos

Posted in Greece, Paul, photography, travel, Turkey, UMC

Footsteps of Paul Part Six

Today we docked in the Turkish port of Kusadasi. Once the ship was cleared by customs, we boarded a tour bus with a wonderful tour guide who called himself “Oz”. He had been born and raised in Kusadasi and was knowledgable and proud of his heritage.

This western quarter of Turkey was called Asia Minor during the Roman period, and Ephesus was its largest city. When Paul arrived in Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila greeted him, introduced him to the congregation that met at their house and briefed him on the status of the local movement. According to Acts, Ephesus had believers who had been baptized by disciples of John the Baptist and followed a teacher named Apollos. He had since left Ephesus for Corinth, with a letter of introduction from Aquila and Priscilla. The Ephesus community knew the teachings of Jesus, but had not heard Paul’s message of the holy spirit. Similar variations, and sometimes rivalry, must have marked many early congregations, varying by teacher, local tradition, and communications with other cities. In his circuit of travels, Paul tried to establish some continuity. Paul would spend three years in Ephesus, and may have been imprisoned for some of that time. His letters indicate that he made visits to Corinth during his stay. And, as in Corinth, Paul earned his keep working as a tentmaker when he could, and depended on the support of his congregations when he could not. With this support he was able to spread his message even while under arrest.

This afternoon we continued our cruise to Patmos, the “Jerusalem of the Aegean,” where we enjoyed an excursion to the MONASTERY OF ST. JOHN and to the CAVE OF THE APOCALYPSE, where John the Evangelist dictated the Book of the Revelation during his exile. This will be the subject of Part Seven!

Our ship in Kusadasi

Our ship in Kusadasi

Looking out at the commercial Agora

Looking out at the commercial Agora

Water Distribution Pipes

Water Distribution Pipes

Bath of Varius

Bath of Varius

Entrance to the Odeum

Entrance to the Odeum

Fountain of Pollio

Fountain of Pollio

Odeon

Odeon

Prytaneion

Prytaneion

Domitian Temple

Domitian Temple

The Domitian Temple

The Domitian Temple

Near Hercules gate

Near Hercules gate

Ceretes Street

Ceretes Street

Curetes Street leading to library

Curetes Street leading to library

Mosaic floor along Curetes Street

Mosaic floor along Curetes Street

Mosaic floor along Curetes Street

Mosaic floor along Curetes Street

Celsus Library

Celsus Library

Detail work at Celsus Library

Detail work at Celsus Library

Detail in excavated column

Detail in excavated column

Statue at Celsus Library

Statue at Celsus Library

Posted in Greece, photography, travel, Turkey, UMC