Orton Effect

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It was an awesome week.  Weather is fairly nice and Sun has stayed as much as he can. There is no doubt in my mind that I feel upbeat whenever sun is up there delivering his everlasting friendship to Earth. After a long and cold winter, I was optimistic to have some decent weather when we adjusted our clock one hour ahead for summer saving time. Thinking of spring and summer, I am instantly energized.
My Lantern Rose was barely surviving in the rain just one month ago is now gradually opening up. I wonder why God created this stunning flower and yet let them stand with faces down.  If I was not searching for deer-resistant flowers, I would not  discover this hidden jewel. I cannot photo this flower without turning their faces upwards, so I simply picked them from the stem and placed them on a plate full of water. For macro shots, I have to set myself a limit, otherwise, I can easily spend hours peeking into the stigma of the flowers. Through the stigma (center of the flower), I witnessed our Creator’s design talent. The design is not only intricate and colorful, it coordinate so well that each flower is like a piece of artwork.
This picture shows the stigma of Lantern Rose. I took the shot and used Orton effect to create the second picture in Photoshop. It is satisfying to observe the details from the first photo, but the soft tone on the second photo adds enchanted, dreamy and artsy flare. I think we are here on earth to create something beyond what has been created in Nature. Nature is an infinitive resource for inspirations. We should utilize what we are given as a human being and expand it.
As I said earlier, this is my portrait month. I got lots of fun taking my own pictures and I discovered a lot of about myself that I have never noticed before. It will be nice if I can go out with my tripod, pose in front of a field of green or blooming colors, but I am too bashful to do that.  So, how do I get rid of my boring look… I thought about wearing a hat and I did.  I am simple and plain, posing or wearing hat for photos are usually not my thing. But what the heck, just do it. Nobody will care. I tend to think too much.
Out of many hat shots, I picked this one. There was a story behind it.  When I lived in Taiwan during my college days, there was a very popular TV talk show. Family, marriage and relationship are the theme subjects.
The host lady wore a hat, nothing special about wearing a hat, but her beautiful hat covered most of her face. The only thing we could see was her mouth and lips.  People watched her lips talking for months and months and nobody ever knew what she really looked like. She was supposed to be a marriage specialist and she did a good job on that particular subject. Some audience was so charmed by her mysterious look and her show that they grew desirous to see her face, so did I as far as I can remember. Probably about one year later, she was finally un-vailed herself and was brought to the public, without the hat.
Were people getting more excited after the secret was broken? I don’t think so. She still talked as usual but her mysterious appeal disappeared. Not long after that, there was a rumor which turned into the truth that she was divorced!
Human beings are born with curiosity.  This strong desire of knowing can sometimes drive us insane. Once the truth is unfolded, then, it is just like another day or another thing in life.  However, it is the curiosity that we are driven to be creative and it is the creativity that enhanced and improved our life.

I don’t intend to look like that lady. My purpose for this shot is to experiment my portrait in a completely dark room and rely flash as the single light source. In this case, I set my flash right in front of my camera and have a navy blue cloth with the edge of green wall shown just to add a bit of colors. I also tried to show Orton effect on a portrait picture. It softened the look and made it look more artistic.

As you have probably already seen that the hat is more like sitting on my head instead of me wearing it.  I have a big head and I cannot find a hat in regular hat stores. Even if I can find one, I usually lose it in one trip anyway.

Ortan effect can also be used on a landscape shots. I came across this old flour mill on one of my recent drives to the countryside.  The building is nothing dramatic, but I love its reflections on the pond.

The original shot is contrast, intense and more dramatic,  when the Orton effect is applied, it becomes soft, relaxed and peaceful.  
Photography records reality and modern technology provides know-how to tweak it to our likings and to suit our mood. Isn’t that the coolest thing? I do want to say that I don’t care for ‘extreme make-over’ on photograph. Particularly on HDR shots, some people can really go overboard and make some fake looking stuff.

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