Flowers in the Abstract

rob Paine painted flower

I remember the first time I started playing with a flower photo in Photoshop. It was easy to lose myself at the computer using all the different adjustments to create abstract images. Now I can do the same thing on an iPad or iPhone anywhere on Earth, a far cry from my formative photography years standing over a Beseler black and white enlarger for hours at a time in my darkroom in the basement of my parents’ house. Who knew?

Incidentally, I love modern technology but I also really miss my black and white darkroom. It was magic for me to look into a tray of Kodak Dektol and watch my photos develop onto a blank piece of white photo paper. As hard as I try, I have not yet been able to duplicate the tonal values in my black and white work using my computer that I could achieve in a wet darkroom.

Today’s photos are a result of such electronic tinkering. (please see below for second photo and more text)

I took the top photo in a garden outside the Rippon Lodge Historic Site in Prince William County Va. This effect was achieved with minimal adjustments using the paint daubs filter in Photoshop.

The second photo below was taken outside a friend’s house in Deep Creek Lake, MD. The flowers reminded me of starlight mints and I thought their patterns worked well for a photo. For this image, I used a substantially higher amount of adjustments again with the paint daubs filter in Photoshop.

While both these pieces were created on a Mac, I do a lot of work on an iPad as well. My two favorite iPad apps for editing areiPhoto and Adobe PS Touch in that order. For me, iPhoto for Ipad is even better than its sister version for Macs.

It has some incredible features. For instance, if you want to sharpen, lighten or darken a specific section of a photo, once the effect is chosen, all you need to do is rub your finger tip or stylus over the area you want to alter until the desired level of change is achieved. The iPhoto app tends to be a little more intuitive than PS Touch based on my experience.

Rob Paine Starlight flowers

Do you edit photos on your PDA or tablet? What is your favorite photo software.

Thanks for dropping in. Please be here tomorrow for what is to be my 100th consecutive day of posting on this blog. Have a great day, Rob.


  1. I too miss working in the dark room some times. It had its own culture and mystique. I would not want to go back to film though. I love the artistic freedom on digital. I use Photoshop and all the plugins, Nik, onOne, Photomatix, Topaz, etc. and have apps on the iPhone and iPad, but never use them there. I do feel that some of these consumer apps have actually hurt creativity though. I have written on this and it is always those that use the apps on the phone that feel differently. I think it is just too much one click edit, and that takes away some of the way photography was learned and practiced.


    • Great points. I especially agree with your last statement about the effects speed has had on photography thanks to new technology. From my time working as a news wire photo editor I learned that it was really critical to keep things in the proper perspective and not let the technology allow for making hasty decisions. Bob, my wonderful boss at AP who hired me always said, and I paraphrase- the most important thing when moving a photo is not that we are first but that we get it right. And I think he meant sure speed is critical, but you do not want to accommodate speed at the cost of accuracy.


Please feel free to leave a reply. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful feedback, Rob

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