Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Light effects on buildings - King St & Yonge

Just off Yonge St, south, west of King, you can find Commerce Court. Linger there, on a nice day and enjoy the sunshine and relative quiet in the downtown area. If it's a bright day, you'll be treated to one of the best special effects shows in town.  Wander around the courtyard and look up - you'll see a variety of visual effects going on.  Commerce Court is surrounded by shiney, reflective skyscrappers that offer up a variety of shots to capture. One of my favourite effects is the mirrored buildings:

Commerce Court reflections - downtown Toronto buildings

It's an impressive rippled mirror effect.  Like a living mural, constantly changing with the sun. Don't forget to look a little lower. Buildings to the north create a neat white patterned effect on the shorter concrete buildings.  Enjoy.

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More Photoshop art - buildings & a Beswick wren done with Wacom - first try

I'm working on my Wacom/Photoshop brush techniques. Well, that's a flattering way of saying I'm trying to teach myself how to use different brushes in Photoshop. It's quite amazing how flexible they are. I've spent years working with Photoshop, strictly for photos, never seriously looking to use it for original art. I'm working towards a full freehand drawing, but my brush control has a long way to go first.

To date, I've been using photos and doing line tracings of them and then "painting" them in. It's a great way of expanding a brush skills. I'm working on a photo of Osgood Hall and Toronto City Hall I took a few weeks ago. Here's the first pass:

Toronto City Hall taken from grounds of Osgoode Hall in TorontoI'm trying for a water colour effect again. That's something I was never any good at - real water colours. I'm too impatient, which is a weird confession considering I'll spend hours tinkering with a picture in Photoshop or drawing on paper. Here's the second draft, without the blue sky.  I turned the layer off on this draft until I fill in some of the building along the top. I'm actually quite pleased with the way the sky worked out though.

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Read more: More Photoshop art - buildings & a Beswick wren done with Wacom - first try

Having fun w/ my Wacom - Line art and water colour bridge in Kyoto

A couple of friends are enjoying Kyoto at the moment and sending wonderful photos my direction. This one in particular caught my eye: Bridge in Kyoto park 2016 Nov

Beautiful, isn't it? Peaceful as well. I've been looking at something to use to test new brush techniques with my Wacom tablet. I've never had luck with water colour techniques in the past. Everything tends to look like the Blob. Not pretty. But I decided to be brave and give it another whirl. And yes, I cheated again. I did the line drawing over the photo first to act as my template.  Then I set about using brushes with wet edges and build up ticked along with parsimonious use of the mixer brush. I started on the bridge. After 2 tries, I finally got it ok. Then the water, slowly filling in sections. Finally the trees and here it is: Line art of bridge in Kyoto park

I like the incomplete look, like the landscape is just coming forward.  But there's something about the extra whitespace that gives it a sense of calm. My first successful attempt at a watercolouresque picture. When I feel more confident in controlling the pen, I'll try a free hand drawing, rather than doing the lineart first.

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More light effects on buildings

I'm often amused with the way light bounces off buildings, creating interesting light effects. When you're surrounded by glass encased towers, there's always something to see. If you stroll south on University Ave, neal Adelaide, look to the west side. If you are there in the early afternoon, you should be able to catch the spotted building: Light effects showing reflecting spots on buildings

The spots are quite bright and visible, hard to miss. This photo hasn't been retouched, just cropped a bit. Depending on when you see them, the shapes morph a bit and shift along the building. Grab a coffee and watch.

 

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View from my balcony - fall comes to Toronto

Something simple today, a fall view from my balcony. If you want to see the leaves turn in Toronto, well, I can recommend my place. Just pull up a chair and sit and enjoy the view.

View from my balcony Toronto Nov 2016

  I've been wandering out to the balcony everyday to snap a few photos and marvel at how warm it is. Nov and I'm still wearing my light jacket. Unbelievable. Usually by this time of year, all the leaves have been blown to hell and I see nothing but branches. Spectacular fall. Enjoy it while we can.

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"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

- Dorothea Lange

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