Old Favorites and a Reminder to Vote

If you haven’t yet done so — and if so inclined — please take a few minutes (about 15-20 minutes) and read the three stories in THIS post and then, if feeling charitable, please cast your vote for one of them (the survey is after the stories).

Also, if you are professionally associated with the publishing industry (editor, published author, agent, etc.) and would like to volunteer as a judge for our Professional Recognition Award, please drop me a line or leave a comment. Thank you.

And that’s enough of that . . .

I’ve got this itch, you see . . . no, nothing medical. I have lots of pretty good photos (my opinion and not necessarily shared by the public) going back to 2002, when I purchased my first digital camera, the Nikon D100.

I’ve recently mentioned processing tools have exponentially improved since then and that has me looking back at photos I like but were marred by bad lighting, limited equipment, user error, and limited operator skills. Many of these I’ve already published here or on Smugmug, but always with the disclaimer and apology for the poor quality.

Well, I’m going back and revisiting some of these and processing them in Topaz Sharpen AI, Topaz Adjust AI, Skylum Luminar 4, and Skylum Aurora HDR.

For instance, this cardinal was photographed through a double-pane plate window at my Franklin (Michigan) home . . .

Prior versions have always been “soft” and somewhat unsatisfactory to my critical eye.

This is the happiest I’ve been with that photo (and photos below). So much so that I’m uploading the full-size versions in THIS SmugMug album. 

The female was also captured at the same time and place (and through a double-pane window) . . .

Most people won’t give these a second look, but — for me — it’s like seeing them with new eyes.

For instance, this was shared once before but not with this detail.

You can easily make out the zanzare feasting on the bullfrog. By the way, you can click on the photos and a larger version will open in a new tab or window.

Before I go on, yesterday I was asked my opinion about the HBO series Watchmen. Well, we don’t have cable and we don’t subscribe to HBO’s streaming service so I haven’t seen any of it. However, I did review the movie when it came out.

At the time, I was writing for Slice of SciFi. HERE‘s the link to that piece. I also reprised that discussion on this blog in THIS post.

Right . . . on with the photos. This next one is a favorite. This gorilla was behind a thick glass plate and the photo has always been a bit soft and lacking in clarity and detail . . . no more. Sharpen and Aurora teamed up to give me this:

Before people assign agency to the gorilla, it should be noted the finger looked like it had been damaged. Meaning, it couldn’t bend. Sure, that little detail takes a bit away from the photo but it’s still pretty good.

Next up, a Salsify seed ball. This was part of a series I shot back in 2009. Some of those photos ended up on our Colorado home . . . and will make it back to these walls once we repaint and finish decorating.

Here’s another bullfrog (or, maybe the same one).

This and one other photo were only shared after converting them to a painting.

Not perfect but pretty good. Here’s one of my previous effort.

Project 313 302

This next photo was also one I really liked but could never make “presentable” . . .

This was another photo I had heavily modified before sharing it as the graphic for the short story Golden Guardian, Silver Hunters.

Just a few more before I close down the post and call it a day.

Again, another fine save by Sharpen and Aurora . . .

I like that photo but the background is all wrong for it. Too busy and it tends to combine with the coloring of the hawk and disrupt the identification of the bird.

This next photo is from Deception Falls in Washington . . . the state, not the cesspool. This was at a time when I was still treating my digital camera as if it were a film camera.

What do I mean by that? I mean that I shot sparingly. Anyway, I liked and hated this photo because I could never process it to my liking. Well, no more . . .

I really wanted some detail at the mushrooms, and I finally got it.

Last but not least — for now — some Bad Boys, Alpaca edition.

These guys seem pissed at me snapping photos. I try to not anthropomorphize animals, but their expressions are friendlier than most humans.

There will be more tomorrow but for now, these will do.


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


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