Manipulating digital photos...


I've spoken before about my love/hate relationship with digital photography.  It's no secret.
When I stopped doing traditional black & white darkroom work, I sat on the digital fence for a long, long
not happy on it, not happy off of it.

It feels really good not to be working with those chemicals anymore.  I wouldn't want to bring them into the new environment where I live anyway. I no longer throw away mountains of film & slides (and mountains of money on same)...I simply push the *delete* button.  But the flip side to these things is that I no longer have the same relationship with picture making and well, "the thrill is gone, gone away for good."  Or so I thought.

I knew I needed to bring the FUN back into my camera toting life so I thought I'd post a little recap of a workshop that gave me just that.  It was all I had hoped for and more.

I can't remember where I first read about Susan Tuttle's online workshop, "Digital Photomanipulation."  I surf through a lot of blogs - I think someone mentioned having taken this course, and loved it, so I probably clicked on a link and off I went.  Am I glad I did!  Visual Poetry (I really liked the sound of that) is the name of Susan's website for this art workshop series and many examples of her FUN and beautiful work can be seen on her Flicker page here.  Oh my gosh, isn't this the most deliciously *manipulated* cupcake?
Photo courtesy of Susan Tuttle
All rights reserved
The month long workshop was divided into weekly assignments where we learned three new techniques each week.  We could work at our own pace, trying all three, or only one, whatever suited us.  We could jump ahead or lag behind, even work on one photo over & over until we made it sing.  Like this singing cupcake that makes me crave frosting.  I think Susan's photo is actually an Operetta to Baked Goods  :>]  

The technique was called 'Retro Technique 1'.  Here's my attempt:
Below is the "before" shot:
The software we used was Photoshop Elements 6.0 (or later versions, 7.0 or 8.0).  Some people worked in Photoshop, for which Susan supplied supplemental written instructions. I chose to work in Elements since Adobe provides a free 30-day trial of their latest version.  I liked it very much. Other "perks" to the workshop were Video Tutorials for each assignment (these were incredibly helpful - thanks, Susan!), a Forum where we could post whatever questions we had while working, Texture Goodys to play around with and our very own Flicker group for posting our results.  I was amazed at how much I learned by viewing the creative solutions of the other members.

Here I had fun with 'Faux Midnight' where I turned a frosty morning into midnight by moonlight...

...'Retro Technique 2' with some grittiness from a Texture Goody...

'Tinted Grayscale' was about removing all the color then adding back a tint...a favorite subject here...

Oh, and that photo at the top...that's a 'Landscape Atmosphere' technique...
here's the before comparison:

I have a really long way to go, there is so much to learn, so many endless possibilities of how to manipulate my images, get them to say what I want them to say. But I will definitely take another workshop from Susan...and maybe even another one after that!  And I've pre-ordered this:  
Yes, I am definitely having some FUN now and for that I am very grateful.

Hope everyone is having a happy Spring Break, till next time...


  1. i'm so glad you have found the fun in your photography again. the photos you worked on are just marvelous! i loved looking at the before and after shots. i'll bet you are one of her top students!

  2. digital manipulation is so much fun, your work looks good, you've learned a lot. i use Corel Paint Shop Pro for mine. |<.

  3. Lisa ~ yes, FUN is a very good thing! Utilitarian photography serves a purpose but ***playing*** has so much more to offer. And I'm definitely not a top student - click on the link for our Flicker pool and you will definitely see why. But thanks for the nice comment :>]]

    Kaite ~ much to keep exploring...some of the other students did some way, way cool experimenting. I am still only a toddler! I know nothing of Corel's PSP but it obviously suits you well. As always, thanks for stopping by...

    Susan ~ my complete pleasure...you ROCK!!

  4. i just wanted to let you know that i nominated you for a blogger award. if you'd like to read about it, it's on my blog. i hope you have a happy day!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday and for your welcome comment. I really like what you're learning about digital photography here, and you have some great pictures that show your skills.

  6. This does look like so much fun.... I have never manipulated a digital photo but maybe one day I will want to. I too used to develop and print my own black and white photographs and would not like to be using those chemicals again. Digital does have advantages thats for sure. Love you photograph of the moonlight night....


  7. In addition to Susan's cupcake (YUMMMM!), I totally love your landscape. Whadddya mean you have a ways to go? You nailed the landscape, and the photo's darn good to begin with! Thanks for telling us about Susan's workshop!

    Robin A.

  8. I could spend hours playing with photoshop. My best friend is a photographer and she rarely sees her darkroom anymore. But then, she has a Hasselblad digital.... lucky girl.

    Thanks so much for my sweet birthday wishes. I had a lovely one!

  9. yup, p'shop is splendid fun...i quite often play around in it while lurking at airports, when it's not possible to think in writing mode
    and one is having to wait and wait and wait....

  10. Wonderful!! I can't wait to see what you come up with next...

  11. susan was one of my roommates the first year of squam and she is a doll...

    this year she is coming to Valley Ridge to teach.....and i plan on at least having dinner with her one night....

    i'm not taking her class, but i can't have her in wisconsin without at least seeing her for a few hours....OH and your photos....amazing !

  12. Thank you for such an interesting post :)

    I am looking forward to reading more of your blog!