Several people have contacted me about how I make my photo paintings. It starts with a traditional bird photo and then I mask out the bird using Topaz Mask AI. Then I add a texture, a background or both and blend them in. Lastly I use Topaz Studio to create the painting effect.

I know you all have heard me talking about Topaz stuff lately, and there’s a reason for it. The one good thing that has happened during the shelter in place order in my state for purposes of defeating COVID 19, I have actual spare time on my hands. And that means going over my old images and seeing if there’s anything I missed in my first culls or anything I liked, but didn’t think worked for some technical reason.

Well, here’s today’s shot and proof that there is a bright side to everything.

I photographed this bald eagle in the Cook Inlet of Alaska from a moving boat. The weather, and light were iffy. I was reacting to him swooping by and I slightly under-exposed him by about a third of a stop. (When photographing eagles I have to be careful to hold detail on the white feathers, which is difficult given the broad dynamic range between those feathers and the black feathers on the same bird.)

If you are following me on social media, you know I have been experimenting with what I call “photo paintings” for a good while now. After almost five decades as a photographer, I never get tired of learning new things; coming up with new ideas (new to me anyway) and trying to find new ways to express myself through my lens.

The photo paintings are my latest attempt at all of the above.

Don’t import a color image and select the IMAGE > MODE > GRAYSCALE command to convert it into black and white. If you do that, you will literally throw away two thirds of your valuable data that you can’t get back later! You will also end up with a flat, drab-looking image that will make a turkey puke.