March 19, 2011

Photo Challenge – Before and After

It’s time for another Brenda Photo Challenge! The current challenge theme is Before and After.

I love photo editing as much as I enjoy taking photos! As my faithful followers know, I’ve worked very hard the last couple of years to learn how to make the most of my digital photos. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You can take a wonderful image, but it can always be improved or made more special with a little editing! I have a couple of images to show you today, where I applied my typical editing techniques and then applied some special effects.

The first subject is the bird feeder located right outside my first floor office window. It is always a delight when the woodpeckers come calling for their dinner. This red-bellied woodpecker has become a regular guest. When I took the image, the camera settings were f/8, 1/160 second, and ISO 800.

I can’t leave well enough alone! Here’s what it looks like with a painterly conversion.

And of course, I am a great fan of textured backgrounds, so here is a version with a rustic texture applied.

I have it all animated for you in this version, so that you can easily see all of the transformations!

woodpecker comparison

Here’s another example of a “before and after” that is rather dramatic. I took this photo a couple of years ago at the Grand Canyon. It shows an interesting old stone building near the Desert View Watch Tower, located on the eastern side of the south rim. The camera settings were taken at f/7.1, 1/500 second, and ISO 200. I applied normal editing in this first image and it quite lovely in its own right.

But I wondered how I could make this image look like an old-time post card! So I applied a Topaz filter on it to give it a bit of spicy contrast and also added a texture layer. I was really pleased how this turned out!

And here is the animated transformation!

canyon building before and after

Now that you have seen my contributions to the challenge, please click on the link at the beginning of this post and find some other great Before and After images!


  1. All your photos, the before, the after and the in between are gorgeous. I am a texture lover myself so of course the last version of the woodpecker is my favorite.
    The picture from the Grand Canyon, WOW, that is an amazing transformation. I love it. I have got to get that Topaz. I've looked at it but have yet to purchase or even do the free trial

  2. It's fascinating to see what you do. I just make mud when I attempt such tricks. Still have to say that the first pic of the woodpecker at the feeder needs no improvement. It's a winning shot!

  3. Excellent job, Donna! I love the building shot. Especially the way it's edited...

  4. This was my first time playing along in the challenge, I am so glad I did! I love all these beautiful pic, I love the after of the second pic! Amazing the effect it has!

  5. Very nice. I love textures too.

  6. When you shoot the woodpecker are you shooting through glass or open window? Love the little out building, I downloaded a free Topaz action it was fun to work with but a little over my head but would love to give another try again.

  7. That is one beeeeeeutiful bird photo. No matter how you tweak it. :-)

    I'm in awe of how much you know about photography. Guess I should say, I'm in awe of your perseverance, to learn so much.

  8. Great photo's; love the animation!

    Hope you're having a peaceful, happy day! :)

  9. Good Lord Girl!!!! WOW is all I can Say!
    If this is how all my studying will pay off for Me...Hahahaa....(fatchance), then I need to get Busy!!
    LOVE the animation thingy! I've been trying to figure out the mouse over effect without much luck but this is Cool!

  10. VERY nice! You have enviable photoshopping skills!!

  11. Always love your photos Donna. Well done.

  12. You are so talented with taking and editing photos! You know my favorite is the sweet little woodpecker.

  13. Very cool before and after pics!! Especially love the vintage postcard look!!!


  14. Great pics & wonderful editing!


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