Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Something's Fishy

I can't help it....I love murals. I have written before about my "Molecules Of Art" project, where I make abstract photos from very small segments of urban wall murals. Sometimes, however, it's equally fun to photograph a large enough segment of a mural or sign that retains 'subject recognizability' even though the entire mural isn't in the photograph.

I couldn't resist this segment of a colorful painted sign on the exterior of a seafood restaurant in Bandon, Oregon.

Something's Fishy    © Howard Grill

I know people are sometimes interested in how a certain effect was achieved. In this instance the mural itself was painted onto the wall. You can see that in some areas behind the head of the fish there is actually some peeling of the paint. But I wanted the photo to really transmit the feeling that this was brightly painted with loose strokes by an artist. For this reason, once I totally processed the image in Lightroom I brought it into Photoshop, duplicated it onto a new layer, ran it through Topaz Simplify using the BuzSim setting (in order to obtain a more painted appearing version), and then decreased that layer opacity back to about 40% to just get a bit of a blend of the two. This gave me the effect I was after.

I then added a curve or two, a Hue/ Saturation layer to pull back the blues just a bit, a color balance layer with a radial gradient mask to warm the tones on the head, and a quick trip to Color Efex Pro to use the 'Lighten/Darken Center' filter to place a very subtle vignette around the head of the fish.

by Howard G

© Howard Grill