Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

A ghostly ship sailing across a calm sea, silhouetted against a vibrant night sky. Totally created with Photoshop brushes

Create! That’s an interesting choice for this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge and at first I thought I would have difficulty fulfilling the challenge. Nearly all of my photography is devoted to land and seascapes with some occasional wildlife photographs thrown in for good measure. I don’t photograph things I create, that’s just not me. But the more I thought about it the more I realised that I create images. An unusual word to use with photography, create. But it’s true. It’s very rare that I post an image S.O.O.C. (straight out of camera). I’m a firm believer in using software like Photoshop on my original image to transform it into my vision, “Oh no, another Photochopper” I hear you say, “Get me out of here.”

But wait. Think about it. Why should I let the software geeks and ultimately the processor inside my camera dictate what the final image will look like? It’s my photograph, my vision, my creation. For this reason it’s very rare that I take single exposures. I nearly always create multiple exposures.  These are blended together on my computer using software called Machinery HDR Effects to create what I think is the perfect exposure. That’s right; I’m a practitioner of the black art of HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging). Remember though, it’s my vision.

Right from the start I learned how to shoot in manual, TV, AV, you know all those fun modes. Why let a machine make the decisions, that’s how SKYNET started and we all know how that ended. I like using creative techniques, HDR, Long Exposure, Exposure Fusion, Panoramas, and Light Painting….and that takes me to this weeks photograph.

Well, not exactly, it’s not a photograph……but it is something I created using Photoshop brushes. But what is a brush? Brushes in Photoshop and other graphics programs are used to determine the shape of the line you paint with when you use the paint brush tool. They also determine the shape of the eraser when you erase around an image or through it. Using brushes you create artistic images, and, if you have a good selection of brushes, you may not even want to use photos.  You can create some wonderful images using just the brushes, colours, blends and filters. A quick search for “Photoshop brushes” in any search engine will show there are literally thousands upon thousands of brushes available, some are free, others you would have to buy.

Take the image above. The ship is a brush, so all you have to do is “stamp” it once to the page. Likewise the coloured skies, they’re made from Photoshop brushes. If you’d like to have a go at creating something like this please follow this link to a small tutorial I created showing you how to go about it.

15 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

  1. Absolutely agree with your view Mike. I feel the same way. However we ‘create’ a picture, whether it’s a simple photo, a combination of photos, or some manipulation process, it’s still our creation. Why should it matter how we achieve it. In fact it can sometimes take hours of work using a manipulation process. I think your ship is absolutely stunning and I’d love it on my wall!


  2. Hi Mike. Catching up……A cracking image along with the title, does just what it says on the tin.


  3. I absolutely love the picture 🙂 vibrant colours and oh-my-my, I have this huge thing for ships!


  4. I wish I knew more about how to use photoshop – I have photoshop elements 8.0 – a freebie download and even it is too confusing – I can’t even figure out how to make the clone stamp work properly …. So I am amazed with what you are able to do and it definitely fits the ‘create’ challenge. Also, thank you for the pingback.


  5. I love your ship! It’s gorgeous. The colors and form are spectacular!
    I agree with what you say, Mike. Several people may be standing near the same spot in a national park scenic area. I like to make the image my own. I don’t want to have the same view as everyone else when they get home. To me, creativity is involved in shooting, the angle, the framing, the photo settings and post production. But Creativity does not end there. Nowadays there are so many options for using your creativity with an image, it’s mind boggling. Thanks for your post and link.
    I use iPhoto’s and PSE’s editing tools and PSE’s effects like dry brush, blur, etc. But I have no idea how to use layers, and all the other “stuff” on PS/PSE. I’ll surely check out your link! Thanks


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