Ever Wish You Could Paint Landscapes?

I have to be one of the worst artists in the world.  I was the kid in school who got 4/10 or 6/10 on his art assignments, with the only comment being "Good Effort".  I'm sure I was the only student in my class who looked forward to art history, as that served as my lone hope to boost my overall mark to something that would be close to acceptable for an Asian parent lol.  

So what on Earth does this have to do with photography?  Luckily for us people who are artistically challenged, if you're able to take photographs, you can somewhat turn those photos into paintings with the help of technology.  Of course it's definitely not the same as being able to paint, but it's something, and something is generally better than nothing!

As the last couple of posts dealt with star trails, I'll keep up the theme and talk about a picture I took on a previous trip to the Rockies.  What I really wanted to do was take a star trails picture over Mount Rundle, but there was a problem - it was a full moon, and the moon was right over Mount Rundle from my vantage point.  Why was this an issue?  The brightness of the light reflected from the moon drowned out any of the stars in its vicinity, so it was basically impossible to take any star trails pictures with Rundle in the foreground.  Luckily, there were other foreground elements in the area I was in (Vermillion Lake), so I angled my camera a little bit away from the moon, set up shop, and created "Rocky Juxtaposition"


The techniques I talked about in the previous post are the same ones I used here, namely

1) HDR of the foreground
2) Multiple pictures to create the star trails
3) Bring these multiple pictures into software to create one star trails picture
4) Use photoshop to merge the HDR foreground with the star trails picture to get the final image

Now, if someone asked me to paint that landscape, it'd be a complete and utter disgrace.  Remember William Hung's epic "She Bangs" performance on American Idol all those years ago?  My painting would be worse.  Much worse.  Fortunately, there are programs like Topaz Impression that will help transform your photograph into a photograph that, especially when printed on canvas, will resemble a painting.  You won't get the texture that paint on a canvas creates, but the painterly effect is still there nonetheless.  There are many "recipes" already included in Topaz Impression, that when applied, will give you a certain effect (ie Monet effect, Renoir effect, etc).  After playing with the program a bit, I ended up with this:


From a personal standpoint, i actually prefer the faux-painting over the "plain" photograph, although I'm sure others will disagree.  So for those of you who can't paint or draw, don't lose hope.  As long as you can take a picture, you can fake it into a painting =)