Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cherry Blossom Photos and PW Actions for Photoshop Elements

Warning: If you don't like cherry blossoms, then this is not the week to be visiting my blog! :) I have a teeny, tiny little obsession with them and took a ton of photos while they were blooming here a couple of weeks ago.

When I was getting these photos ready to upload, I decided to break out Pioneer Woman's new Photoshop Elements friendly set of actions (they rock, and they're free!) and give them a try. I won't give you the gory editing details on all the post processing, but I would like to detail one or two before launching into the rest of the batch. (Note: I am sooooo not a post processing expert. Not even close. I just play until I like the way it looks, then leave it at that.)

This is my first victim example. Straight from the camera it looks okay, but maybe just a little ho-hum. Okay, let's face it- if it weren't for the gorgeous subject matter, it would totally suck. Cherry blossoms make everything better.

Here's the same photo after running a plain old "Auto Contrast" in PSE. Ahhhhh, the grey overcast is gone.

And here it is again, this time after running Pioneer Woman's "Boost" action. I love, love, love heavily saturated colors, and this action definitely does that.

Now, for regular blogging purposes I would usually quit editing at this point and call it good. Sometimes, though, something a little more "artsy" is called for. Pioneer Woman's "Lovely And Ethereal" action gives a nice, soft look to your photos. It makes it look lovely. And ethereal.

Okay, one more in-depth edit, and then I'll unleash the other 22 gazillion photos on you. :)

Here's this photo straight from my D3. Hmph.

So now let's run PSE's "Auto Smart Fix" and see what happens...

Not sure I like all that blue in the background (yes, blue sky is pretty, but it's too much contrast with the pink blooms), but I'll fix that later.

Now for the PW Boost action...

POP!!! And for good measure, let's run it again. Oh, yes, you can run them multiple times in succession and even stack them. I love this super-saturated effect.

And then, for something a touch more artsy, I ran the PW "Seventies" action. This has to be one of my favorites in the bunch. Bye, bye, blue sky!

All of these photos are of the weeping cherry trees in my yard (there's one in front and one in the back). They started out with tons of little buds- this photo was taken on March 28th.

Three days later, the blooms started to pop out. I went to bed one night with a tree full of buds, and woke up the next morning to lovely little blooms.

For some reason the tree in the front yard started blooming a couple of days before the one in the back.

The next day brought even more blooms...and this is just their first year in the yard!

Here are more photos from April 2. At this point my neighbors probably thought I was insane, running outside with my camera every morning to shoot in "good" light.

And by April 6th it was almost all over- you can see how many leaves have come in to replace the blossoms.

I can't wait to see how much these trees grow over the next year!