Perspective as a Tool to Fool

Street Art can a lot of fun.

This kind of art requires much skill in perspective.

I think that the human figure is especially difficult to draw in extreme perspective.

Another important part of this art is to stand in the exact right spot in order to take the picture that enhances the illusion.

Perspective must be very accurate in order to create a successful illusion.

Perspective must be learned - and unless you're a genius (I'm not) - it is tough to reinvent.

I'd suggest a good book on this subject before you tackle a grand Street Art illusion.

I am sorry that I do not have the names of the various artists who made these paintings and took these photographs.

Some Street Artists use chalk.

And others use paint.

Street Art can be used in advertising.

It can be startling...a shark attack in the middle of a city?

Or carry a clever message.

Here is a video about how this particular piece was painted:


Family, Turkey, Talk, Fun and Puns

On this Thanksgiving Day; Family, Turkey, a Weekly Address from the President, and some truly awful puns.

Sometimes our family Thanksgiving dinners get a little punny. Here' are some of the ones we served up that were less fattening than the gravy:

A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron," The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?", they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Groan. Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheaper Than Plastic Surgery

Photographs tend to clump values at both ends of the scale and wrinkles stand out and appear exaggerated.

When you're painting someone with wrinkles - know that they always look worse in a photograph than in person.

This is the same photo after I took out some of those dratted wrinkles via Photoshop. Per usual, I've exaggerated to make the point.

So here are two examples and you can see how to tone down those wrinkles step by step.

It will help to make your reference photos more flattering- and still be accurate.

I work in "Layers" in Photoshop.

I create two duplicate layers of the original photo.

I turn off the "eye" on the top layer and highlight the second layer.

I select Gaussian Blur filter.

In order to demonstrate this I have exaggerated the filter.

Next I make the top layer visible and highlight it.

I'll then select the eraser tool to wipe out all the wrinkles - being careful to leave specific and detailed features - eyes, nose, mouth, hair, etc.

Then move to the middle layer and adjust the opacity.

Again, I have exaggerated here to make a point - but you want to make it "believable."

When you like the result, flatten the image.

Here's another example:


And after!

Why I Went to Nikon School

The average penguin knows more about photography than I do - or did before Nikon School.

If you want to be a portrait painter, it is important to learn to take a good photograph for reference.

I used to struggle with film but I am finding digital photography so much easier...and cheaper because I take so many pictures. I now "process" them on my computer and I don't have to pay to print the bad ones.

For me, photography is so much harder than painting - so when I found their brochure in my local camera store, I signed up and went to Nikon School for a weekend. They hold classes all over the country and the schedule with all the details is on their website.

I had to travel to Boston and spend the night since it is not an easy commute from New Hampshire.

The instructors did a First Class Grade-A job and the two classroom days flew by quickly. They answered all of my questions and I really learned a lot. I have a Nikon D2X and there is so much on it that heretofore has been a great mystery to me.

And wonder of wonders - I now take better pictures! In hindsight, I should have signed up for Nikon School years ago.

These were the courses:

Saturday: Introduction to Digital SLR Photography

The ideal starting point for new digital camera owners and anyone considering digital SLR Photography will acquaint you with the basic techniques and terminology of this popular imaging format. Geared for beginners and amateurs photographers this course addresses photographic fundamentals and creative techniques that help you get great shots. It also explains basic settings on your camera, what lenses to use, how to download, edit and store all your great digital images.

Sunday: Streamlined Workflow Techniques

Learn about current industry trends, technology advances, and using various types of software to assist you in expressing your photographic creativity and help streamline the entire digital workflow process. The course includes editing, archiving, color profiling, and printing techniques.

These were my wonderful instructors - mouse over their names and check out their work:

Bill is a professional photographer primarily involved with travel and location-oriented assignments. With over 35 years experience in editorial, corporate and commercial photography, he is also a photography instructor and consultant. A former member of the Nikon Professional Services tech team, Bill taught at the Nikon School for over ten years. He is currently an associate with Blue Pixel, a major digital imaging consulting firm.

A professional photographer for over 25 years, Reed started in studios, then worked at newspapers and now freelances out of Kansas City. He has been shooting digital since 1996 and teaching digital photography since 2000. Nationally recognized as an expert on digital photography, Reed has helped over 30 U.S. and Asian news organizations ease their transition to digital. He is also a founding member of Blue Pixel, a major digital imaging consulting firm.

"Aroma Lisa"

What would Leonardo think?

It measures an impressive 20 feet high and 13 feet wide and took a team of eight people three hours to complete.

The different colours were created by adding no, little or lots of milk to each cup of black coffee.

It was created for The Rocks Aroma Festival in Sydney, Australia, and seen by 130,000 people who attended the one-day coffee-lovers event.

The Iconic Mona Lisa has been reproduced so many times in so many different mediums but, as far as I know, never out of coffee.

You're looking at 3,604 cups of coffee!

11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month

Major hostilities of World War I (“The War To End All Wars”) were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the signing of the Armistice.

We now celebrate "Veterans Day" each year to honor all of our veterans since the signing of the armistice.

In 1982, Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old WWI veteran held the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.

When a war breaks out, people say: "It's too stupid, it can't last long." But though a war may be "too stupid," that doesn't prevent its lasting.

~Albert Camus

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.

~Albert Einstein

"While I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this—and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan: I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way," Obama said during a visit to Naval Air Station Jacksonville. "I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary."

What is absurd and monstrous about war is that men who have no personal quarrel should be trained to murder one another in cold blood.

~Aldous Huxley

A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.

~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

O peace! how many wars were waged in thy name.

~Alexander Pope

It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.

~Alfred Adler

At least we're getting the kind of experience we need for the next war.

~Allen Dulles

Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.

~Anne O'Hare McCormick

Make wars unprofitable and you make them impossible.

~A. Philip Randolph

Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths...I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?

~Barbara Bush on ABC's "Good Morning America," March 18, 2003

I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.

~George W. Bush

I think war is a dangerous place.

~George W. Bush

The American Red Cross has a program called "Holiday Mail for Heroes" and invites us all to participate.

Our enemies...never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

~George W. Bush

The price of empire is America’s soul, and that price is too high.

~Sen. J. William Fulbright