Running Ronin

Paint the Skies of Cologne

As I'm getting ready to go to the next Gamescom in Cologne,  I recently went back to see some of my old Cologne 2010 images (link, link, link and link). When observing this (above) image from last year I however determined it did not amaze me as much as the scene had. Not even close. So after doing some serious tweaks, I seetled on this hybrid painterly effect applied to the photo. I know, it not anymore a "photo" per se... but it does represent the reality I feel I saw back then.

The details of the dome, the reflections and transparencies in the windows, the different green hues of the trees, the sky exploding from the right side of it.

I'm a big fan of the Topaz product suite and on this photo I decided to use Topaz Simplify, which has a collection of "photo to hand drawing" effects.

The original photo, tonemapped and post produced more or less 10 months ago is this one:

Hi and thanks for visiting my gallery page! These photos are from my travels (I travel a lot for work) - if you want to learn more about how I take these shots and who I learn from, visit

So recently I decided to re-post-produce it... below is the 2nd attemp.

Not happy with this one either. The main reason is the following... I have been taking photographs for just over a year. And when I took these three photos, I had still not learned that I had to REMOVE THE $%#&@! VIBRANCY REDUCTION from my lens when using a tripod.

With that lesson learned at this point (even if sometimes I still forget and want to smash my tripod on my big toe), It annoys me to no end that the details in the top portion of the church are slightly blurred.

So I decided to go with a slightly more forgiving effect that would maintain the drama. I opened up Topaz Simplify and "buzsimmed" the photo. Obtained this:

Dont worry - buzzsimming is just a click away if you have Topaz.

I had however lost too much detail... so I layered the photo back in with one the original shots and made some items shine through - like some details in the windows of the Dome.

The final photo below (which is also the one at the far top) is simply the output of this last photo, straightened using ShiftN.

Do you prefer the straightened version or the original skewed one?

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