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A few weeks back, right before the digital photography class I was teaching was about to start, there was a sudden power outage in the room. Try has he may, the building maintenance “guy” was unable to fix the problem so I simply moved my class to the lobby of the building. While it’s not the most lovely of places, the suspended ceiling just happened to be covered with more than a dozen strands of colorful garlands made up of origami paper cranes. Neat! 🙂

“Soarin’ ” (Origami Paper Crane Garland) Nikon D300, 120mm, F/5.3, 1/160s, ISO 3200, Built-in Fill-Flash w/Gary Fong “Puffer” Diffuser, -1.0 EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro “Infrared Film Soft” Filter w/Selective Toning & Vignette

Not one to miss an opportunity for intriguing subject matter, I instructed my students to shoot the birds (with their cameras, of course 😉 ) and look for angles and patterns that create interesting compositions. I also joined in the fun, playing around with different camera settings and switching back and forth between shooting in color as well as in black and white.

Those shots remained completely forgotten until today when I came upon them while scanning through my media cards. Turns out, I preferred the compositions I’d taken in color except for the stained drop ceiling tiles in the background (which I thought would have faded away with the shallow DOF I was using). 

So, I popped on over to Nik Silver Efex Pro to see if one of the trusty black and white filters could diffuse that not-so-great background and perhaps, bump up the contrast to make these birds really sing. A few clicks later and that’s an affirmative on the background and the contrast but now, I missed the color. 😦

Hmmmm, lemme think. Welllll, it was the orange bird who caught my attention in the first place soooooo let’s give him the spotlight and see if that does the trick.

Click, click, click – Boom! One fun abstract image! 🙂


  1. It is amazing how filters can be used to change a photo. Every change is possible today, it´s is almost like looking into a big playground with fun tools everywhere, knowing that it is impossible to find time enough to try it all. It helps a lot to see what others have done and recommend. Is Nik Silver Efex Pro as Lightroom?
    Good choice with the orange bird. 🙂

    • Thank you, Birgitte! I like orange. 🙂

      I have not seen/used Lightroom to say. Nik Silver Efex Pro is a filter set plug-in for photoshop (I have Nik Color Efex Pro, too) that contains all different effects that can be applied to an image. Within each filter, there are many options to customize the filter for the particular image. I try not to rely on these but it is fun to play with them every once in awhile. 🙂

  2. Some ceiling tiles can be a bit… ‘yeah’… at times. It might be kind of fun to make them into something sculptural, though. Maybe. Er, anyway… the point is (believe it or not) I love the selective color, here, M.P! It really makes that bird ‘pop’. The color, that is, not the ‘shooting’. 😉

    • I teach in a city-owned building so, one cannot expect too much! I thought it was nice that they tried to cover it up. 🙂

      LOL! Thanks, Sig! 🙂

  3. Neat, fun, and very cool. I love the way you made that orange pop. 🙂

  4. Photographing is nice (my best way to relax and meditate). Looking through the captured shots is nice. (And sometimes surprising!) Playing with the photos (and the camera!) is nice – too ( 🙂 (To play in life is always nice!)
    Make (and play with) photos. (And love). Not war!

    • To play in life IS always nice!!! You are a smart, smart man, Truels!!

      I wish you many, many days of play! 🙂

  5. The digital darkroom is a fun and creative place. The orange bird does pull the eye and the black and white ones lead the eye about. As they say…always look up!

  6. Fun times!

  7. Happy Constitution Day, Tracy!

    • Aw, thank you, Birgitte! It was a lazy day celebrating freedom! 🙂

  8. Your photo turned out amazing! I love that you’d forgotten about it and just found it.

    • Thank you, Tammy! 🙂

      Old age is really kicking in these days… 😉

  9. astonishing!

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