Fun with PhotoShop

Now, like Toto, I’m going to expose the man behind the curtain.

While I was earning my English degree a few years back, I took several photography classes. The digital photography class was all about PhotoShop. Here is just a small sampling of the kind of fun I had in that class.

This photo is the original one I shot with my Nikon DS70 through the windshield of our car as we were driving out west. I wanted to clean up the reflection of the dashboard in the window, and lose the mirror and windshield wipers. I also thought the little white sign was distracting.

Here is my final PhotoShop edited version. You might notice I also adjusted the contrast and colors.

You can do a lot for a photo in PhotoShop just by adjusting the contrast and color saturation. This is my original shot of the grand canyon. Majestic, isn’t it?

With a little tweak from Photoshop, this one really comes alive.

This was a nice sunset I shot over the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Here is the same shot with a little boost from PhotoShop.

I know, you might be thinking, as I once didβ€”That’s cheating. If you’re going for the pure art of Ansel Adams photography, you’re probably right. There is a real skill and art to taking a stunning photograph with everything in balance and no tacky white signs poking up. But this is digital art. And most photos you see are altered in some way. But if you’re a journalist, you are not allowed to edit objects in and out of photos. I don’t know what other rules apply there.

Since I’m neither a journalist, or a professional film photographer, I am free to do whatever I like with my photos.

Can you see me in this crowd of press reporters covering the Gorbachev and Reagan meeting in the mid-1980s? I don’t know why I wasn’t smiling like everyone else. (I should credit the original photograph, but as I did this for a class several years ago I don’t remember the source and couldn’t find it today. I hope the copyright police don’t catch up with me.)

30 thoughts on “Fun with PhotoShop”

  1. I sat just a dozen feet away from him and Nancy in 1980. It was at the Lincoln Day Dinner in Mar or Feb at the Deauville on Miami Beach. At least 2,000 people. I sat at the $50,000 table(I knew the “ins”). Oh and how we cheered and cheered and cheered and cheered….

    1. We used a book, Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book. It gives you lessons that you can work on. I think we did one a week. You can practice using the tools of Photoshop. I’m thinking about going through it again to refresh my memory. I only use a few things in Photoshop.

  2. This is a great post and you did a great job with those photos! I am so envious — I would love to have Photoshop but have trouble justifying the expense (do you have the full verison or the lite?). Thanks for a good look at the kind of things I could do with Photoshop — I really miss the old chemical film developing, but if you’re going digital this is the way to go; as you say, with digital prints, they’re almost all altered in some way.

    1. I have the full CS3 version, which is plenty for me. I don’t even scratch the surface with what it can do. I think there is probably other good photo editing software out there that would be more than adequate for you and much less expensive, but I don’t know much about it.

      I loved the black and white film class we took. I spent hours and hours in the dark room. Right up my alley. I miss it.

  3. Nice work, Christine. I have Photoshop Elements, and it offers a lot of options for a lot less than the full-blown version, which I would never be able to justify the cost. I need to spend some time on it, there are great tutorials available online, and HP offers some free classes on their website, too.

    1. I’m sure that is more than adequate, Patti. I don’t know how to use most of the Photoshop features and a lot of it is for people who are doing big deal design. You would probably be glad you did the tutorials if you took the time to do them.

  4. I rarely do more than crop my photos, but sometimes I play around with them ~ like creating a black and white photo from the color.

    Wildlife photo-journalists have been caught “doctoring” shots. Shame. Shame.

    1. Thank goodness for cropping is what I say. It saves a lot of so-so, or maybe even bad, photos.

      Yeah. Too bad for those wildlife photo-journalists. It’s a great temptation.

    2. black and white from color? that sounds like my kind of photo shop. πŸ™‚ lovely work, christine…and no need to apologize for the “trickery,”…whatever works is my motto… πŸ˜‰

      am impressed with your work as a journalist…you’ve lived a full life, and continue to do so… πŸ™‚

  5. I loved seeing your work. Keep in mind though that Ansel Adams did adjust his photos during hte darkroom process – this is not a new thing with Photoshop, althought it’s certainly much easier.

    I enjoyed seeing that picture of your – cool!


  6. Photoshop is way beyond me in price and skill level.
    iPhoto on any old MacBook (now MacBook Pro or Air) enables you to do many many of the same things, for instance, crop, retouch, shift to B/W, sepia and other effects, work on the histogram and make many adjustments, including exposure, saturation, temperature, sharpness — and that’s just the beginning.
    A whole lot LESS money and a whole world of digital photography adjusting —
    Just saying.
    (Another deliriously satisfied Mac user, no, they don’t pay me, I just love my Mac!)

    1. Nice to see your enthusiasm. I love my Mac too. Sounds like iPhoto does just about anything you need. I know the Windows Picture Manager also has many features.

  7. Well T2T we all know that painters of fine art always fiddled with their work even after completion, but never of course when it was committed to a purchaser or for for a demonstration in a gallery. None of us should feel in the slightest way guilty when we have such fine tools as Photoshop, Aperture and IPhoto. All of the above make certain demands on us in that order, but all of them in their way help us in making better pictures.

  8. Really well done! πŸ™‚

    I used to be a purist when it came to my photography. But as I started learning more about the art as well as the craft of photography, I decided it was time to play and stop taking it all so seriously (since I am not a photojournalist and have no need to be serious). Most of the time I tweak the contrast a little, resize, and I’m finished. Other times, I play and play and play. It’s fun. πŸ™‚


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