The Art of Color and Light (Part 3)

(Part Three)

Light Magic

Well, now that we’ve made our beauty a star, how do we put her in the spotlight? Well, by adjusting the available light of course. A little more contrast, a little more highlight, and a little more white, and Voila!, our star is in the spotlight.

Eastside Trail-9 Eastside Trail-19

But are butterflies the only glimpses of the fairy world we see? How many more are masquerading in the guise of the ordinary? Does their light shine out on occasion for the world to see?

To answer this, I go back to an older photograph of my beautiful niece. I think she must be a fairy princess masquerading as a little girl. When I adjusted the contrast and highlights in this picture, a beautiful fiery angel appeared.

Eastside Trail-2

And even in the most ordinary of pics, she is surrounded by a halo of light.

Eastside Trail-1

So is she a fairy princess, or does that hidden world merely shine its light on her and other children every once in a while? And are there others? More fairies among us masquerading as people? Or even adults who are bathed in the spotlight of a fairy glow on occasion?

2014-03-24 09.46.16-1

I’ll never tell. 😉

Catch the light source just the right way, adjust the contrast and highlights, and you can reveal the surreal world that the ordinary light does not see. The world of light and fairies (and even ghosts if you’re brave) comes to view through the camera and the eye of the artist. So, be on the lookout, because you never know where another world may be hiding. Keep your eye on the lights.

The Art of Color and Light (Part 2)

(Part 2)

More Monochrome and a Little Color Accent Magic

Here we have a butterfly. I’ll not call her ordinary, because we can all see without a doubt that butterflies are extraordinary creatures. Their delicate beauty captivates even the hardest of hearts. The way they flit and float on the breeze and move from flower to flower drinking of the nectar and pollinating as they go. Without the lovely lepidoptera, we would likely have none of these blossoms to pick for our loved ones to smell and adore. The strength and perseverance it takes for this lovely creature simply to move through its life cycle is completely astonishing and worthy of notice. But how often do we take the time to notice the intricacy of their color patterns and ability to reflect light?

These magical creatures contain a vast array of color, but often we miss it because of the color of the flowers they feed on. So let’s let one of these beautifully disguised fairies stand out from the world we see. Perhaps then, we can catch a glimpse of their light and the fairy world that perhaps they slip in and out of.

This eye-catching specimen is called the Red Spotted Purple. I’m not certain as to how it gained this name as I see a blue-black butterfly with red-orange spots, but I suppose we all see color a little different. I often argued with my father on red versus orange and orange versus yellow. Perhaps when I was young, I should have invited my father to explore the 64-count crayon box with me with all its many shades (and today there are even more with incredibly more interesting names). Anyway, returning from the rabbit trail down memory lane, here’s the butterfly in all it’s natural beauty…

Eastside Trail-10 Eastside Trail-22 Eastside Trail-18

Beautiful, aren’t they? A male and a female I think. We found them playing along the walking trail, dancing and flitting (and perhaps flirting) about. My husband was very patient and managed to get them to sit on his fingers, which made for some stunning photographs as you will see.

But first things first. I will start with the middle photograph. This one is more natural with the sunlight reflecting on the leaf beneath, and the butterfly’s shadow is cast just below its body. It also has a nice bokeh effect with the leaves blurred in the background. With this photograph, I was able to discover many of the details of these little fairies through altering the color and enhancing the light.

Eastside Trail-24

First, I tried a true monochrome effect. This first photo reflects a low contrast black and white filter. In this photo the light in the background becomes more visible; however, the light reflected on the leaf beneath the butterfly is lost. You can also see how the light shines through the uppermost portion of the wings where they are most transparent.

This second photograph reflects a high-contrast black and white filter. With this filter the black veins in the wings and the black coloring on the body stands out more, but it is almost overpowered by the shadows in the background. The light reflected in the leaf and on the foremost antennae of the butterfly really pops, however.

Eastside Trail-26

In the end, I discovered the selenium filter. It adds almost a bluish-gray contrast to the photograph, highlighting more of the silvers. It added a perfect blend to bring out the dark-colored veins without losing the reflection of light in the leaves, the antennae, and even the white spots.

Eastside Trail-23
Then, just for good measure, I tried a sepia tone which was also very striking.

Eastside Trail-25

These of course were presets in my editing program. My phone also has some interesting features in editing that allow different aspects of the photo to come alive. One of these is called selective color. You can go in and select a color to be accented, and the photo will be saved in black and white with only that color remaining. With this I was able to accent the oranges…

Eastside Trail-13 Eastside Trail-21

Or the blues…

Eastside Trail-7 Eastside Trail-12 Eastside Trail-17 Eastside Trail-3-2

But what if I want orange and blue? Can I make the butterfly stand out in it’s entirety against a background of black and white? Can I make it look as if this creature in all it’s beauty stands apart from the world we know as if it is from somewhere we do not see?

Then came the discovery of another aspect of my editing software…color saturation. I found that I could take out certain colors almost entirely and increase the intensity of the ones I wish to highlight. And here is the result…

Eastside Trail-16 Eastside Trail-6

And now this lovely actress is the star of the show. Let’s give her a little more light shall we?

Well, we’ll save that for Part Three.

The Art of Color and Light (Part 1)

Light is fascinating. Everything about it is mesmerizing, the way it reflects, the way it bounces, the way it plays, and the way it transforms the ordinary into a surreal fairy land of color and glow.

In this digital age with millions of devices using pixelated light to display images, the screen is my canvas and light is my medium. My tools are my camera, my computer, and my imagination. And my inspiration… the world around me and the world of dreams and fantasy just at the borders of its reality.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by light and color. The joy of seeing rainbows in the sky, in mists of water, and even in oil on the pavement brings a sparkle to my eyes and turns my thoughts to leprechauns, fairies, unicorns, and Pegasus. A rainbow in the sky turns into a road that I can soar over on the back of Pegasus. A rainbow in the mist becomes a magical doorway to the world of fairies and elves. And at the end of the rainbow always sits the pot of gold. Twirling a prism around to bend the light into bursts of color seems magical.

The more I learn about my camera and my editing software, the more the artist in me emerges. Through the manipulation of light, I can transform the ordinary into the magical. Light and color changes to reveal the ethereal beauty of a world hidden to the naked eye.

So, what does this world look like, and just how, pray tell, do we see it. Let the magic begin…

(Part 1)

Monochromatic Magic

Take this ordinary little walnut left cracked and broken on a lonely wooded walking trail by some cute, fluffy little squirrel who devoured its insides and carelessly dropped it to the ground.

Eastside Trail-1 Eastside Trail-3

Increase the contrast, adjust the saturation, increase the highlights and white levles, increase the black levels just a tad, and decrease the shadowing just a bit. Then add a white vignette to take away the rest of the road and Voila!…

You are left with a monochromatic masterpiece in a world of pure light with only the shadow of the nut to determine the source and direction of its source of illumination.

Eastside Trail-2 Eastside Trail-4
Then zoom in a bit to get a little more detail and a better view.

Eastside Trail-5

And now, what was once seemingly plain, ordinary, and unnoticed, is a thing of profound interest and beauty. Is that because it wasn’t beautiful before? Absolutely not! It, like all things made by our Creator, was a thing of many extraordinary layers of depth and beauty. I, the artist, have merely uncovered one of those magical, intricate, magnificent layers through the manipulation of light and color. Now what was once perhaps unseen, is seen.