Hawai’i – the second flowers photos and Stuff – artsy edition

This post showcases the results of me playing with the photos from the previous post. The flowers are all from the Maka’eo walking path at the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area. All other photos are from where we were then renting, Casa de Emdeko. I used combinations of Topaz Impression 2, Topaz Textures, Topaz Glow 2, Photoshop, and Lightroom.

1280x 1280 collage artsy

As usual, click on a photo for a larger version, or go to the SmugMug Gallery HERE for better and larger versions of the same photos.  That is the same gallery as used for the original photos. All of these were added to the end of the gallery. 

Flowers are particularly suited for artistic treatments. Actually, any colorful pattern makes for a good subject.


That’s not that much of a stretch from the original, especially not when viewed on a small screen. Same for this next photo.


When viewed in a larger format, one can see the changes on how the photo is rendered. I think the Impression plugin (the one used for the two photos above) does an amazing job of capturing the style of various painters and modern, classical, and ancient mediums. 

Here is one that mimics one of the masters . . . 


It doesn’t really matter which one, although some might recognize the style. One can, however, appreciate the strokes used to represent the object. And yes, I know I’m simulating painting but like I said, I think the plugin does a great job. 

Let me speak a moment to what it’s like living in Hawai’i during the hottest months of the year and doing so without air conditioning. First, and this has nothing to do with air conditioning or being hot, we are a lot more diligent about putting on sunblock before heading out. We’re in the tropics. While Colorado’s high altitude was deceptive about the effect of the sun — as in, one could easily burn — there is no deception here. The sun beats down something fierce. I happen to tan easily, as evident by my darker arms and legs despite the use of 50 SPF sunblock, and I try to avoid unprotected exposure. 

As for being in the condo when it’s 87º out, one hopes for a cross-breeze to naturally occur . . . otherwise, one uses fans. Our ceiling fan is always on high, but we also bought and use five additional fans. The moment one switches off the fans and the air stops circulating, discomfort ensues. And this is after a few months of getting acclimated to the weather. Yes, we’re getting acclimated. We are happy when it’s only 84º in the condo. Right now, it’s 81º, the lowest we’ve seen since we’ve been renting here. Even with the 75% humidity, we feel fairly comfortable . . . as long as there is some air movement and we don’t have to do any strenuous work, like picking up a pencil or blinking.

But, back to flowers . . . while not painting per se, adding a texture to a photo can give the impression of a drawing or painting.


Topaz just updated Their Glow plugin to Glow 2. I was not all that impressed with Glow when it came out. Some novel stuff, but little that I would consistently use. 

Glow 2 has a number of effects I found interesting. Not high art by any means but . . . 


This next effect is not as electrifying even as it incorporates some aspect of it . . . 


Another side note . . . As I was on the rowing machine at the gym, I had the misfortune of having the TV that was in front of me tuned to MTV. Two things . . . the guests and host of the particular show I was watching — I don’t know the name of the show, and I don’t care to — were . . . how should I put this so I can convey the fullness of my opinion? Oh, I know . . . they were GIANT DICKISH WASTE-OF-HUMAN-FLESH ASSHOLES. 

As near as I could tell (I listen to podcasts as I row so I was thankfully spared the verbal idiocy), the show consisted of the host and guests enjoying videos of people being GIANT DICKISH WASTE-OF-HUMAN-FLESH ASSHOLES to other people. Stuff like spilling food on other people (on purpose), knocking an ice cream cone out of the hands of a kid (literally), tripping people (or just laughing at people who take painful falls), and other stuff along that vein. I tried to avert my eyes as much as I could and even rowed with my eyes shut for a good spell, but the damage was done.

In just the few minutes I watched the show, I felt a good 20 or 30 IQ points slip away. Luckily, I have a fair amount to begin with, plus I can replenish it by reading. 

Now, here is the thing that shocked me the most . . . at one point in the show they showed a form one of the guests had filled out (answering questions pertinent to GIANT DICKISH WASTE-OF-HUMAN-FLESH ASSHOLES) and the guy, who looked to be in his late teens, had printed the answers. It wasn’t the answers themselves that shocked me — I’m used to the propensity of younger generations to use profanity instead of profundity — but rather, the penmanship. 

I have seen claw marks on kitty litter from cats covering their poop that looked better than what I assumed was writing since one could discern the occasional word. I kid you not, someone my age had better penmanship than that when they were in kindergarten.  

So, here is the thing . . . I happen to believe cursive writing — even in this digital age — is very important in the formation of both intelligence, reading skills, and the development of the brain. Based on what I saw, I would have more confidence on a chimp becoming a productive member of society than the persons I saw on that show. 

Here endeth my rant about younger generations.

Here are a couple of more photos processed with Topaz Glow.



The grass processing took me a long time and I’m not very happy with it. I mean, it’s OK, but I was looking for something that would exploit the individual stems and seeds, and nothing really worked. Oh well . . . I guess grass does not lend itself to filters. 

Back to textures, I was impressed with all the options that were available for each setting. It’s the first time I actually tried modifying the canned presets, and there is a lot one can modify. 



That last photo was left out of the original post, but it is included in the SmugMug gallery. The original looks like this:


At this point, I decided to combine plugins . . . using the rooster.

First, the Impression 2 plugin . . . 


Then the Glow 2 plugin . . . 


Then the Texture plugin . . . 


And, finally, merge them all in Photoshop, tweak the result in Lightroom, and output . . . 


I call it the Aloha Rooster transformation . . . it really brings out his ‘can-do’ attitude, don’t you think?

Ok, OK . . . let’s get back to flowers. Cacti flowers, to be precise.


That might be a Cezanne . . . or, maybe, a Rembrandt. Hard to tell because I play with things like type, size, number, and length of brush strokes, rotation, the amount of paint on the brush, and how it’s all blended with the original. Perhaps, we’ll just call it a Disperser. 

For this next shot, I went back to Glow 2 . . . twice.



Interesting on their own, but smash them together in Photoshop, and . . . 


Another side note . . . or, is it a sidebar?

I listened to an interesting podcast as I tried not to watch MTV . . . appropriately, it spoke about the evolution of intelligence . . . and the evolution of stupid. The contention is that some of the tools that are making our lives “better” are contributing to making us stupid. 

In this case, ‘stupid’ referred to us losing functions our ancestors fought hard to acquire. An example is the use of calculators. Us and a calculator are much ‘smarter’ than us alone. That’s bad enough, but having used a calculator for a while, we are likely stupider than we used to be. We, likely, forgot how to do long division, calculate the square root of a number, or even multiply numbers in our head. 

The example that came to my mind is that of ‘the news’. Many people abrogated the faculty of reason and logic and are now but mendicants at the altar of sensationalism if not outright falsehood. The process goes something like this: Scientists work for years to understand the relationship between the function of cells and their behavior when diseased. A journalist spends months investigating the story and eventually writes a lengthy article about what the scientist found out. As an example, let’s say they discovered a compound that helps deliver hydrogen sulfide to mitochondria, thus helping in keeping the mitochondria working when under stress from a disease. They happen to describe hydrogen sulfide as the cause of the foul smell of rotten eggs and flatulence.   

Some place — for example, THIS place and THIS place — key into that soundbite and use it as a headline: “Smelling flatulence can help you live longer” or “Smelling farts could help prevent cancer.” That is what is known as a ‘click-bait’ headline. If one clicks on the headline, the first thing they see is that the smell of farts helps mitochondria fight off disease. It’s not until halfway down the article that one reads about the fact that smelling farts won’t do anything for your health, but that this compound they are working on might be beneficial. 

The problem is that most people — probably people with terrible penmanship — stopped reading the article long before things are explained. They are already on Facebook cracking jokes about how they will live forever because they plan on eating nothing but Taco Bell meals. 

Simple but wrong

Did you see the progression? A scientist, with many years of education and rigorous dedication to research, comes up with something that might benefit the human race. A reporter dedicated to providing information writes an article bridging the chasm between the science and useful information. Lowlifes who just want to make money and know that the vast majority of people are idiots looking for instant entertainment and gratification condense the product of cumulative human knowledge into a catchy phrase designed to attract said idiots. Ten minutes later, million of people are rushing out to buy “Fart-in-a-Vial Miracle Cancer Cure.” The collective intelligence of the species has just taken a huge hit, one of many.  

But, it doesn’t end there . . . the scientists ask for money to continue their research. People get all incensed at the fact we are wasting our tax dollars on people studying farts as opposed to applying them to important things like building “safe zones” for our fragile brain-addled youths. 

Guide to dummies

I tell you . . . it’s enough to make one lose hope in humanity. One has. One sees the stupid gain more and more ground. One fears we are past the tipping point, and there is no going back to advancing intelligence. One can only hope in delaying the progression of stupid. 

But, I digress . . . 


I would not have thought so, but turning the cactus red and adding a texture did make it more visually striking than the original. Can’t say it’s ‘better.’ I can say it’s different. 

This next treatment works very well —  in my opinion — for the subject matter.


The post-processing of this next photo made me appreciate Glow 2.


The last photo of the previous post works very well with a painting treatment. 


So ended June 27th . . . at least as far as photos are concerned.

That’s how I closed the previous post . . . and it was wrong. There were three additional photos from that day that are worth sharing. 

This one . . . 


. . . which is well-suited to a watercolor treatment. 


Then, there is this one . . . 


. . . which is a good candidate for some mixed painting effects:


And finally, this sunset photo . . . 


. . . which really shines — if you will pardon the pun — with the following treatment:


It’s worth looking at a larger version, or so I think. 

And now . . . 

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


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