Categories
Landscape Minnesota Nature Wildlife

Favorite Photos of 2017

Favorite Photos of 2017

It’s hard to believe that another year has passed! This year had me sticking closer to home in Minnesota, though I did manage to sneak away to the northeastern part of the state several times. Part of what makes a photo special to me is the experience and adventure I had while making it. Here are just a few of my favorite photos of 2017. You’ll find these and more in the online galleries ready to hand on your wall!

Here are the top five in no particular order:

Gooseberry in Winter

Winter Snowy Sunrise
Snowy Beach Sunrise – Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls State Park on the North Shore of Lake Superior can be crowded with tourists during the warmer months of the year, but I had the place all to myself on this winter day. There was a light snow falling while the sun rose. No footprints in the fresh snow. The only sound was from the waves of Lake Superior lapping at the beach and water going over the frozen falls. Pure magic.

Black Bears Everywhere

Black Bear Mother and Cub
Black Bear Mother and Cubs

There are wild Black Bears everywhere when you visit the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Orr, Minnesota. I could sit and watch them for hours (and I did)!

Gunflint Trail & BWCA

Boundary Waters Bear
Boundary Waters Bear

My visit to the BWCA in late June happened during the beginning of a monsoon. Five inches of rain in a week. I didn’t get to take as many photos as I would have liked, but I managed to get a few keepers.

Dahlia Trial Garden

Painted Lady Butterfly
Painted Lady Butterfly

I discovered the Dahlia Trial Garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this summer and it’s awesome! I was lucky enough to be there on a day when one of the judges was doing his thing, and it turns out that he liked to talk. He explained the whole process of what the trail gardens are for and how they judge the new varieties of flowers that may or may not make it to market one day. Butterflies like the dahlias, too!

Osprey Fishing

Osprey with a fish
Osprey with a fish.

This Osprey caught a fish at Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, MN and flew less than 10 feet over my head with it. Wow! I’ve never seen an Osprey that close before!

 

Categories
Creative Tips Lightroom Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs tutorial

Add Stars To Your Photos In A Few Easy Steps

In this tutorial, I will show you how to add stars to your photos in a few easy steps using Topaz Labs Star Effects.

Split Rock Lighthouse Star

Split Rock Lighthouse

Image Preparation

First, you will need to do any basic edits in your regular photo editing software. Topaz Star Effects works as a plug-in to Photoshop or Lightroom and is not a stand alone product.

Edit Your Image In Topaz Star Effects

When you first bring your prepped image in to Topaz Star Effects, you will notice three main areas of the screen. The left column shows the presets and the smaller image at the top of the stack gives you a preview of each preset as you hover over it. The large middle screen is what’s happening with your image as you apply the actions that you choose. For this particular image, I chose the preset “Lamp Post One” and at this point it looks like a hot mess.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Now go over to the panel on the far right side of the screen. Under “Star Settings” you can choose different star types. For this image I went with traditional.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Further down on the right side are the “Main Adjustments” – take the threshold slider all the way to the right. I think of the threshold as being similar to an opacity slider for a layer mask. Bringing it all the way to the right will hide all of the star effects.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

Go back up to “Star Settings” and you’ll notice there are show / hide stars buttons. Choose “show.” This will act similar to a brush on a mask in Photoshop – your mouse will look like a small button with crosshairs and anywhere you click on the image will allow the star effect to show through. In this image, I clicked on the reflector inside the lighthouse window so that only the one star shows in the image.

Topaz Labs Star Effects

You can fine tune your star effect further by going back down to the main adjustments and playing with luminance, how many points you want your star to have, size, spread, angle, etc. Further down on the right side there are even more adjustments for color, temperature settings, and additional adjustments for glow or ring flare. For this image, I only adjusted the number of points from twelve to six and I was done in minutes!

I find all of the Topaz products fun and easy to use – and I can do many things in a fraction of the time it would take in Photoshop. So, if you want to add stars to your photos in a few easy steps, give Topaz Star Effects a try! They have FREE 30 day trials on all of their software, and updates for each product are free for life 🙂

If you’d like to purchase a print of this image of Split Rock Lighthouse for your home or office decor, it’s now available in the Landscape gallery both with and without the star effect!

Categories
Creative Tips Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs

High Resolution Textures For Photoshop

Now available in their own online texture gallery are several “unique to the North Woods” high resolution textures available for purchase!

Lake Superior Shoreline Texture
Lake Superior Shoreline Texture

High Resolution Textures

These textures are all from photos that I took myself on a DSLR of some of the resources that can be unique to the Upper Midwest region, such as:

  • Lake Superior shoreline
  • Lake Michigan beaches
  • tree bark from birch and other North Woods species
  • rock and stones
  • plants and grasses
  • snow and ice

All of the textures have been adjusted to 50% gray in Photoshop (you’re welcome) and can be applied to your images in Photoshop or uploaded in to your own assets library in Topaz Texture Effects.

Lake Michigan Beach Texture
Lake Michigan Beach Texture

FAQ’s

How much do these unique high resolution textures cost?

Only $1 per single photo with a $5 minimum purchase.

That gives you a perpetual, non-exclusive license with significant freedoms and helps me cover costs associated with hosting the files on a proofing site, credit card processing / bank fees, file delivery, buying gas & groceries, paying the landlord, etc.

Who can use these high resolution textures?

You can use them for personal or commercial use.

Who retains copyright to any high resolution textures that I download from this site?

I do. ©Kelly Doyle. All Rights Reserved.

Do I need to provide attribution for any textures that I download from this site?

While a link back to this site is appreciated if you use one of my files to enhance your image, it is not required. Who the hell can remember where they downloaded all of their different textures from anyway? Let’s keep it simple.

Are there any restrictions on my use of textures that I download from this site?

Yes. You may not resell or redistribute any of my photos (duh), or allow the use of my photos on print-on-demand products. Simple. Other than that, you are granted a wide range of freedom to use the files in your projects and alter if desired.

Will the textures I download have watermarks?

No. The watermark that shows on the files in the proofing gallery will NOT be on the downloaded photo.

Is there a minimum order?

There is a $5 minimum at this time.

How do I get the files?

Just add the files you want to purchase to your shopping cart when you visit the texture gallery and you will get an email telling you how to access the download once your payment is processed. Please be sure to check your spam folder if you do not receive an email soon after completing your purchase (it will come from the proofing site, not from northwoodsphotos.com).

What format are the photos?

All the textures are high resolution jpg files at 300 dpi.

I will be adding more textures to the online gallery as time allows. If you have any other questions – feel free to ask! 🙂

Categories
Creative Tips Landscape Nature Wisconsin

Landscape Photography – Same Location, Different Time of Day

I went to a new for me state park in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago: Pattison State Park just south of Superior, WI – with my primary goal being to capture some new landscape photography for the gallery. I was especially hoping to get photos of the Milky Way and I had a short window of opportunity with the moon set happening just before 2 am. The weather forecast was for clear skies on Friday night, with increasing clouds on Saturday and a stormy Sunday. Pattison is host to Wisconsin’s largest waterfall and also has a beautiful lake with a nice sand swimming beach. It’s close to Amnicon Falls State Park, which has several scenic smaller waterfalls (many with people who like to sit in the middle of them on a warm summer day). Anyway, I haven’t had time to process all of the photos I took over the weekend, so you’ll have to wait to see what I came up with.

This post is just about a little project that I decided to try: take a photo from the exact same location at different times of the day to see how different it can look as the light changes. I found a delightful little spot just a few yards from my campsite on the east side of Interfalls Lake. Here is the first shot I took at about 8:30 pm, which is about half an hour before sunset:

Interfalls Lake, Pattison State Park, Wisconsin, sunset
Interfalls Lake 8:30 pm

I set my alarm for 1:45 am to get on location just after the moon set so that I could get as many different angles of the Milky Way as possible. Long days mean short nights, and astronomical twilight happens awfully early in late June. You want the sky as dark as possible, so timing is critical. The bull frogs were making their weird little noise and there was a light fog hovering over the lake, which doesn’t really show up in the photos. No bugs at all, which made it a magical night to be standing under the stars.

Interfalls Lake, Pattison State Park, Wisconsin, Milky Way
Interfalls Lake at 3:09 am

The humidity was causing my lens to collect condensation, which was giving me some trouble after about 30 minutes of shooting. Had to pack it in after that and managed to get a couple hours of sleep before the birds started chirping. By 6:30 am the loons were calling out on the lake and it was already well after sunrise:

Interfalls Lake, Pattison State Park, Wisconsin, early morning
Interfalls Lake at 6:42 am

These photos all look very different, even though they were taken from the exact same spot within a 24 hour period during the summer. You can imagine the autumn colors, the frozen lake and trees covered in snow with stark black and white landscape, then the first tree buds and flowers of spring if I could access this spot throughout the year.

What are your favorite landscape photography projects?