Photos Makeover

All this makeover of books and posters had me thinking about the advances in photo processing over the last few years. And not just in the software, but also how I evolved in my processing preferences and skills. 


Take, for instance, the above wagon wheel . . . I won’t show my original processing, but trust me, this is a lot better. Or at least I like it more. 

The advances (both mine and the software’s) prompted me to go back and revisit some old stuff. By old I mean pre-DisperserTracks.


“Get out! . . . there’s stuff PDT?”

Yup . . . er . . . have you been chewing on lemons?

Now, some of the photos herein have appeared on the blog, but back in the early days I used to show just a few photos and send people to SmugMug. It’s been a hard lesson, but I think I’ve learned it . . . few people go to SmugMug. 

Don’t worry, no SmugMug for this post either since all these photos are already there albeit with different processing.


Take this hawk, for instance. I had a few shots of it in the original blog post, and then a slideshow with a link to the SmugMug Gallery. I can safely assume no more than two or three people have seen this shot, and even if they had, it’s better processed here. Plus, I can pair it with this one . . . 


I think I’ve improved at weaving a pseudo-narrative into my posts; a meandering of the mind aided by the occasional photo. Or, it could be I’m just as boring and annoying as I always was.

. . . I do value consistency . . .

Sometimes you go back and no matter what you can’t “fix” a photo with problems.


Yes, it looks good in this small format, but if you click on it for the larger version, you will see it’s plagued by a bit of a blur. By the way, I used this photo for testing PanoFX’s Out of Bounds action.

The original of the above shot was from this post, as is this next photo I liked a lot because of the dragonflies flying escort to the hawk.


Notice the post only had a few of the 21 photos in the gallery. Them who bitch about my lengthy posts should go back to the first few years of this blog and revel in posts short in both verbiage and photos.

By the way, listening to this:

Grat music and great movie.

I’ve noticed a trend, or at least it looks like a trend to me, for what I call “dark processing.” Be it with the use of vignettes or by deliberate underexposure, the photos many people post tend to avoid brightness. I went through a similar phase some years back; vignettes were my friends, as were muted tones. 


Unless I have poor light, I now prefer to let the colors scream their fool heads off. 


I do tend to add a touch of saturation and a pinch of HDR to most of my shots, but you really can’t add to much of either of those processes or stuff starts to look fake. 


I seldom adjust sunsets . . . they are bright and saturated without me doing anything. 


If I do make adjustments, it’s usually to tone them down a bit.


My preference for borders is something in constant flux. Often I try to complement the photos, but for the most part I choose one and stick with it until I tire. Until recently everything had a “torn paper” look, but I’ve now switched to a black pinstripe. 


Occasionally, the light is just not there. I suppose I could push the exposure and employ other tricks to brighten things up, but I like the amount of visible detail as is.

The above and subsequent flowers photos are from the Denver Arboretum (or gardens; I don’t rightly remember the name just now).


If one cared to go check, the version in the SmugMug gallery is . . . well, hard to describe; I would say ‘harsher.’ It’s like if I was trying to shove the photo down the viewer’s throat. I think the above still manages to punch things up without going into the gaudy.


Light colors are, perhaps, the most difficult to balance. By balance, I mean showing the texture and still showing how bright the flower is in person. If I make the above any brighter, I start to lose definition on the petals. 

Some subjects are poor candidates for B&W photos . . . although some prefer them to color renditions.


With some subjects, one must resort to interesting visuals independent of colors. By that, I mean still shoot a color photo, but use striking geometry as a substitute for striking colors.


Although, sometimes both geometry and colors can be put to good use. This next shot could easily be mistaken for a vertical arrangement . . . if you look at it from some distance and maybe squint a bit. 


Water can make for interesting compositions . . . 


Well, OK . . . everyone loves baby ducks, especially snapping turtles, but I meant something like this:



If you can’t use water to ‘float’ your subjects, you can always use reflections to frame or prop them up.


Water also helps land flowers . . . 


. . . although flowers do well even on their own . . . 


. . . no, wait . . . them have water on them as well; I guess I was wrong.

This next one is a favorite Alpaca photo of mine . . . 


. . . now with better processing. Not only that, I can play with it a bit further.


So, what have we learned? I presume, not much. Most people just looked at the photos, and not even all of them. 

Here let me give you a hint . . . OK, I’ll spell it out. These days a lot of people take photos. What they seldom do is spend even a small amount of effort on processing them, making them the best they can be for the pleasure of the world at large. Them who look, anyway. 

This next photo teaches us one more thing . . . 


Reprocessing a photo five years later is not always a foolproof way to make it more interesting or appealing . . .

Some photos are no more than what you see, and no amount of processing can make them more interesting.

MISC_28AUG2010_13579-Processed_DIGI (2)

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
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Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Alpaca, Animals, Birds, Flowers, Hawks, Malard Ducks, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff, Red-Tailed Hawk and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Photos Makeover

  1. sandra getgood says:

    It’s very interesting to see how you can alter…and often add to…the original photograph, which I often feel is already quite beautiful. Clearly, you…like Jayne… like to keep your options open. ;-)


  2. oneowner says:

    As an old technician, I like to see and read about other photographers processing choices. I know they are personal choices and some might disagree with them. I like the idea of going back to older images to try to improve them, too. I know my own early digital efforts are very different from how I process now, specifically because I did not always shoot RAW and my earlier software was not very sophisticated. I think we learn a lot as we grow and our tastes evolve as well. Them that don’t spend any time in post are usually missing an opportunity to improve their photos. It’s nice to be able to trust your hardware to give the best photos but, in my own experience, it seldom happens.


    • disperser says:

      I’ve mentioned the advent of digital renewed, revitalized and reignited my interest in photography. It made processing so much easier while expanding the choices one had for presenting a photo.

      And yes . . . even though it does not really matter, I never e-mail or share a photo as captured on the phone or camera. It takes a bit longer, and most people won’t pay it any attention, but it’s a good habit to get into.


  3. OHMYGOSH! :o Do snapping turtles eat baby ducks?! :-(
    That alpaca has a rad hairdo! :-)
    Love the water shots and the cactus closeup!
    I enjoy seeing, and reading about, how you “make over” your photos! I don’t find it boring or annoying!
    HUGS!!! :-)


  4. mybrightlife says:

    Wow! Hard core turtles…Amazing photos. The Hawk pics in particular grabbed my attention. Pinstripe adds just the right balance, in my humble opinion.


  5. AnnMarie says:

    The vertical shot of the water lilies is perfectly artsy, just the way I love them! And the last water lilies shot looks like they’re floating on air with clouds in the background (much like the mountains in Avatar). A beautiful post with lots of great shots and some of the things you do to make them so. You do great work.


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