The world is but a canvas to our imagination.

 – Henry David Thoreau

In the world of art and photography, we see a lot of amazing interpretations, whether on canvas or made with a camera. There are endless tools and ways to interpret any scene or subject. The first part of the process is to have something interesting in front of you. This means that you need to have your eyes and minds wide open and be tuned into noticing what draws your attention – from the big pictures to the small details. Then, be ready to make the choices that will capture what you see and feel. Sometimes, it’s very easy – other times not so much.

You make decisions in photography such as which lens you want to use or what you can do with the lens in your hand as well as what settings you need to have executed your visual plan. Sometimes, you have exactly what you need. Other times, not. I lean more toward choosing what lens to carry based on the situation in general AND how much I am willing to lug, tote or drag around based on the “what if” theory (sometimes called the FOMO – fear of missing out). Oh, no, what if I need the lens or accessories I didn’t bring??? It happens. Oh, well, I have to make what I have with me work or shift my ideas to something that will situationally work better.

Typically, I will have my Nikon 28-300mm lens on the camera for versatility, and I’ll have the Canon 500D close-up lens (diopter) so that I can get closer to subjects in the field. The lens focuses closer than most, and adding the diopter is often enough. Yes, I can “crop it later,” but if I can do the work and get what I want in camera, in the moment, it works better for me. Do I crop? Absolutely! That said, I also almost always have a Lensbaby or two in my bag or pocket along with macro filters. They work so well to express my vision. These simple tools make my load much easier to manage.

It was the shadows that drew me in while visiting a cathedral in Savannah.

Before the transformation to highlight the shadows.

Simple edits in Nik Color Efex Pro – Darken/Lighten Center


In this blog I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some final images and share the thought process, situations, lessons learned and decisions made to get from the Before to the After (or one version of it). It’s like pulling back the curtain to reveal what happened (the choices I made and why) to take the original images to the version that my imagination led me to create. There are no real secrets. There are methods and techniques and software to help us along the way. The more we learn, the more possibilities we have to match our vision with our images. Here are some of mine.

Lisianthus interpreted with Topaz Impression & Textures (Cezanne & Dreamstrokes) and a blurred layer with masking in Topaz

Past peak lisianthus arranged on a piece of white foamcore, over exposed by 2.33 stops

Sharing the layers for final image


I LOVE COWS. Don’t ask me why, but I do. Cows are curious, and perhaps that’s just one reason. So, what made me stop for the image below was that there were lots of cows in this field, and the light was great. This calf was lying down and flies were surrounding it. I was using the Nikon 28-300mm lens and chose f/7.1 to soften the background and also get enough depth of field for the calf. When this calf stuck its tongue out, that was the moment! There was catchlight in its eyes! Those are the reasons I chose this image to process. And, while the background was “okay,” I felt like playing with textures and ended up using two Flypaper Textures (Forest Patina and Belle Epoche). I was also trying to practice a different way to work with textures. (I’m still working on that.)

Cow with tongue sticking out and interpreted with textures

Observe the background and flies in the Before image