painting and photographic works

Impressionistic Photos – experiments

I want to share a happy accident I stumbled upon this week that brings my two artistic focuses (painting and photography) together. I was out taking photos but when I got the images out of the camera I saw impressionistic paintings.

I was out taking photos at night (well early evening but dark enough in January at this latitude). I generally do all of my photography handheld which means I will set my camera (Nikon D80) at its highest ISO rating and hold my breath (literally and figuratively) to get an image without too much camera shake blur. I am also using vibration reduction lenses which help. Sometimes this works and I get reasonably clear (if grainy) photos. Sometimes I get results which I wouldn’t share as a photograph but are just fine for using  as a photo reference for a painting.

The highest ISO speed rating on the D80 is 1600 so that is typically what I’ve used. There are however some higher setting – basically a 0.3, 0.7 and one full stop faster (i.e. effectively ISO 3200. I haven’t used these higher setting very often figuring the quality just wouldn’t be there – too grainy!

Impressionistic Photo

The photo didn’t come out exactly like that – the original image was this:

original photo

You can see I did increase the brightness and saturation a bit (using Capture NX2) but I did not have to use any Photoshop-like processing to get an “Impressionist painting effect”. I thought that was pretty cool. While a little bit of grain seemed to read as a bad photo, a lot gives it a worthwhile effect. I still need to print this out and see whether it is something I could consider framing and displaying – or whether it will remain as a reference for a painting.

Here is a second similar image:

Impressionist Photo 2

Again , pretty grainy with very soft edges but… well I like something about it. Here is the original, unaltered image:

original photo 2

This one was cropped a bit, as well as having the saturation and overall brightness adjusted. Of course the “Impressionistic Photo” also looks more grainy just because it is blown  up to a greater degree in this blog post.

Curiously, over the last few days I have tried to re-create this effect with some high-film-speed-setting photos, but I’ve not been able to duplicate the look and feel to my satisfaction. I will however continue to experiment  and share my discoveries and  results.

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