Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I refuse to stay indoors!

In a sketching mood...

I took this picture of the Red Umbrella Inn across the road on a grey, very cold day. In fact I took several, sitting in my car just in front of my driveway, and merged them to a high resolution pano.

I had the 70-200 on the camera and was too cold to get out and put on the wide angle. So it's a 140 megapixel merged pano. 

I shot it because I had a sketch in mind. In fact, a pencil sketch, not a digital sketch, and I wanted a source photo. However I did play with it in Topaz and came up with this digital version:

Again, the purpose was to use it to do a pencil sketch. 

Without further ado, here's the actual pencil sketch I did. HB Graphite pencil on Strathmore fine-tooth sketch paper.

Then I opened this pencil sketch in Photoshop and Topaz and did a little fine tuning. Here's what I ended up with:


On the cusp. I need to decide soon. Talk to me...

(also the house for sale thing. Procrastinating).

Algonquin Park

The weather forecast for the week is lousy but Sunday looked OK so I headed up to the Park. Never disappointed! My big problem is choosing which images to post here but hey this is a digital world, so I have a bunch! I'll split them up...

Shooting right into the sun at Lake of Two Rivers. Some HDR and Topaz manipulation to give it the effect I wanted 

Ice Cascades

This is an edit of the picture above it. I wonder what caused the break between the stalagtites and the stalagmites. 

This ice cave is on the north side of highway 60 near LOTR. What looks like another cavern is actually a big ball of ice! It was treacherous climbing in there: wear good boots, cleats if you have them, and be prepared to wade through deep snow.

(or as Ron would call them, "chickens")

Red-breasted nuthatch hoping for peanuts. On the Spruce Bog trail

Immature male pine grosbeak.. These next shots are all at the Visitor's Centre

Female Pine Grosbeak 

Mature Male pine grosbeak 

Common Redpoll. He refused to turn around! 


A lot of people think Pine Martens are cute, cuddly creatures. They are NOT. One of my Facebook friends calls them "adorable assassins". They may look cute... this day I managed to capture images of one in a pissy mood. They have teeth that don't fool around.

These were all shot at Mew Lake, but I saw them in 2 other locations that day as well. These pictures came out best.

I shot all of the bird and critter pictures with my D800 and Nikon 200-400 f/4, handheld or leaning on a railing (my arms and shoulders are still tired!). They came out sharp and beautiful, I thought, until I ran them through Topaz Labs AI-Clear. What a difference! You would think I shot with a $10,000 lens (Oh, wait... look up the Nikon 200-400!).

AI-Clear is an adjustment in Topaz Studio. You can use a preset version of it for free, or you can download the 'Pro' version, that's currently under $100. Or you can trial the Pro version for 30 days for free. It is absolutely worth it. 

There's a Topaz Labs icon in the right panel of this blog. If you use that link, and you read what to put in the coupon field below the icon, you'll get another 15% discount. I could tell you what it says, but what would the fun be in that?  Go see for yourself!

Until next time!

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