Wednesday, November 30, 2011


'Sun-Scorched' (Digital Image 2011) shirley shelton©copyright 2011

Here's a piece of trivia for you. Know why sunflowers are so named? Well, because they belong to the genus Helianthus annus and "Helios" translates into sun in Greek. Hmm, now fancy that...
That and the fact they do actually resemble the sun (well at least a sun in a children's drawing) and their association with warmth, summer, Van Gogh and all we miss in these winter months..brrrrrr.
They also make for great photographs which is why they are so popular and why their image dominates the internet in countless clones of similar shots and why therefore I've felt the need to do something different. Don't get me wrong, I love sunflowers and I enjoy looking at them and I've loved painting them but if I'm going to put a photo of one on my blog I'd really like it to have a sliver of originality as opposed to the same old same as?
I took the original sunflower image this summer using my Sony A350 with a 90mm lens and edited mostly in Photoshop though I did add some of the textural elements in Coral Painter. Again this is a perfect example of experimenting with layers, unleashing their potential and with it your own creativity. In this case I simply stacked layers with different textures and after playing with various filters and getting the results I wanted I used the eraser to carve away unwanted elements. The text effect I created separately using free transform-warp then added it as another layer to the main image. Once I had all the elements together I tweaked the levels and adjusted tones and colour to finish off that fiery look.
I think Sun-Scorched resulted in a dynamic and interesting take on what could have remained a good but very 'bread and butter' photograph of sunflowers. As a painter I enjoy stretching other creative muscles and again with digital the potential is limitless. I mean really, there are no limits to what you can do and those purists who think digital manipulation is some form of artistic blasphemy obviously need to come into the 21ist Century pronto!