Photoodle” – noun – contraction of “photo” and “doodle” – from “doodle” – a casual design or sketch – thus: a lighthearted, playful manipulation of a photograph, generally done in post-processing often using special painting, manipulation or abstraction tools — a variation of “cafe art”. Continue reading


Stitching Fun

Panoramas with People

There was a time when making a panorama was a tedious task. Taking the pictures had to be done just so and the assembly of different shots into a finished panorama was arduous. Having people in the panorama was difficult and mostly a no-no. Of course, that was a long time ago. Nowadays you just shoot a number of exposures moving the camera some to get overlapping pictures and the rest is just a few clicks away.

My favorite picture handling tool is Photo Gallery. I use it to import and manage my photos and to do the primary touch-ups and enhancements. But Photo Gallery is a powerful tool even though it is “long in tooth”, not having had an update in three years. It has a panorama tool right on the Create bar. You just select the photos to be combined and it does the rest.

I had a group of six shots taken on a busy street with food trucks. There were people all over the road including some children on the sidewalk in front of me. The photos were taken in rapid succession but the kids moved along quite a ways in the few seconds between the frames. I had planned to make a panorama of this scene. I just selected the photos the way they came out of the camera and sent them to Create > Panorama.

Photo Gallery uses the “engine” from the Microsoft Image Composite Editor to make panoramas. It overlaps the photos and makes alignments, warping each frame to achieve its ends. It even adjusts the exposures as necessary. Here is what it looked like before cropping:


With cropping and some enhancing my panorama looked like this:


If you look really hard you will notice the running boy on the sidewalk is also pictured a little farther along. Cute. I checked my originals and indeed the boy appears in all six, but the panorama tool only shows him twice. Here is a portion of that panorama done as “café art”:

Food Truck Alley

Photo Gallery also incorporates a link to ICE, the Microsoft Image Composite Editor (if installed). Now this program has been updated recently and has powerful ways of controlling the image. So I passed the six photos, now a bit enhanced but not cropped, to ICE. It assembled the parts a bit differently. The boy is still duplicated, along with his companion, and another passerby has been cloned. In the default assembly ICE did make a noticeable stitching error but it is minor. Here the uncropped version:

Christmas in the Corners 2015

ICE can save the assembled composite to your computer of upload it directly to Photosynth. I did that. If you click on the image above you will be taken to the panorama in Photosynth.

Here are enlargements of the sections with cloned pedestrians:

Christmas in the Corners 2015

Christmas in the Corners 2015

Note how nice the “clones” fit into the crowd. They look like regular people. You might even miss them on first glance.

There is more fun that can be made out of these six photos, but that is for another time. Here are the six photos, click on them any you can see them in Photosynth. Note: If you are running Windows 10 and using the Edge browser, you probably will not be able to see this display in Photosynth. Switch to Firefox or Opera and the presentation will run. (Hey Microsoft, do you get the message?)

Christmas in the Corners 2015


© 2015 Ludwig Keck



Extreme Black and White

When we talk about black and white photography we really understand it as covering the full range of shades of gray from totally black to fully white. The monitor screen on which you are most likely to read this shows just 256 distinct shades. For this article I am presenting some extremes that cover a much more limited range.

The absolute extreme, of just black and white, is normally called “silhouettes”, showing a form totally black or white against an opposite background. My “Bird on a Fence” here is an example of that.


Another genre is “low key”, photos that are predominantly black. My “Two Glasses” is of that type. In fact, this is a color photo.

Two Glasses

There is much that can be done with “extreme black and white” that fits into and outside these categories. Here are some examples.

Musician - Members Only Band 



'Lion in the Clover


As you can see, many of my images here are strongly manipulated to take the image to the “extreme”.

And now just a little help here to get you started making silhouettes and similar “extreme black and white” images. Start with a photo that has strong shapes and contrast. The example here uses leaves against the sky. I will use my favorite tool, Photo Gallery, here. Of course, more powerful editing software will allow you much more creative control.


An ideal photo will have a lot off light areas and a lot of dark areas and few middle tones. You can see this in the histogram that shows the tonal values from black to white. There is a “hole” in the middle of the data showing the scarcity of mid-tone values.

The first step is turning the image into a B&W. Photo Gallery has tools for that in the Effects area of the Edit ribbon.

The slider under the histogram can be used to turn this into an “extreme black and white” image. Move the white slider, on the right under the histogram, to the left until all parts of the image that are light in color are now fully white.


Then bring the black slider up to turn what remains black, or mostly so.


LK_000490-X2If you put the black slider right up and over the white slider you will have a pretty good silhouette. If you stopped short, you have a pretty extreme black and white image.

Some photos lend themselves to being turned into such graphic black and white images, but it is best if you have that idea in mind when taking the picture so you can make sure you have the contrast and strong figures to start with.

Have fun!


© 2015 Ludwig Keck

Happy New Year!

My “Happy New Year” Images

Happy New Year 2015

My most frequent posts in 2014 have been photos to Gallery Ludwig and “café art” to Silver Canvas. I wanted a colorful, cheerful image for my well-wishes. One that would be appropriate for the photo gallery and that could also be made into a delightful art piece for Silver Canvas. I found some butterfly photos from Florida. The flowers seemed to overpower the gulf fritillary so these photos remained “asleep” in my archive. See what I mean:LJK12615-P1-1024

There were several in the series, some with the butterfly in flight. At a 1/125 second shutter speed the butterfly was “no catch”, way too fast. But it kept coming back to that flower. What attracted it? Nectar? Oh, maybe the hot Florida sun had started a bit of fermentation? He, he, chuckle. So that lead to the cropped and manipulated images shared on the other blogs.


Drunken Butterfly

All the best wishes to my friends and visitors for a prosperous 2015!

Happy New Year!


© 2014 Ludwig Keck


The making of my hawk photo-paintings


We keep a bird bath low in bushes in our front yard. It attracts visitors large and small. Our chipmunks and squirrels join all kinds of birds. When the weather is dry even deer come around for a drink and a nibble on the liriope. As can be expected predators are attracted too. Our neighborhood hawks usually sit high in the trees and are hard to photograph, especially in the warm part of the year when the leaves make a dense canopy.

So when my wife noticed a hawk low and close to the house I saw a chance. My first shot was through a dirty window – better to get a poor photo than none at all. Then I gingerly stepped out the front door. The hawk was cautious but tolerant. I moved closer and around for better light. In all I got 15 exposures.



One of the shots seemed quite suitable for a close, “portrait”, crop.


A nice enough bird photo, and the one that got the most “plusses” on Google+. Folks are just drawn to close-ups.

I wanted more out of this photo and it became the basis for my first manipulation. PaintShop Pro is my preferred tool since it offers a vast array of utilities, layers and layers of selected portions. This allows using plug-ins in a very customizable ways. Topaz plug-ins, especially the recent Impression and Glow are amazing tools. Here are a couple of intermediates leading to my final version that primarily uses Topaz Glow.

Hawk Hawk

You can see the evolution of the image. The PaintShop Pro cloning tool came in handy for removing some extraneous elements and for the final vignetting. This version made it to my  Fine Art America portfolio.


The photos of the upright hawk appealed to me. The “good” ones are flawed by small twigs in front of the bird. The clearest shot was the first one through the dirty window. The problem with screens and dirty windows in front of your camera lens has been the topic here a long time ago. Much of the effect is a haze that results in no deep blacks in the photo. This can be quite effectively eliminated with the histogram sliders and the other exposure adjustments available in editing tools. I like to use Photo Gallery as my primary management and quick-edit tool. Here are views of the original frame and the first enhancements.



So next a tight crop and a journey through the effects tools.



The final version is here, this too made it to my for-sale print collection.

Hawk 2 

The original “sitting” of the hawk was just four minutes, first to last exposure. The photo editing, manipulations, and “photopainting” was more like four days.


© 2014 Ludwig Keck