As a photographer of the reality of nature I strive for accurate color, sharp details and proper exposure. It’s an ongoing quest to satisfy myself with images that meet these criteria. As a photographer trained in Photoshop, though, I continually have to remind myself that the reality I see around me can be put into a different perspective that is “un-natural” but interesting nonetheless. Most of my Photoshop efforts at a more artistic output are from hit-and-miss applications of tools and I’m still learning where to find even the ones I enjoy so most of this work isn’t as intentional as I would like for my images. Still, play has a function in photography even when not behind a camera. I’m experimenting with multiple blending modes, which if you’re not a Photoshop user doesn’t mean anything (and even if you are I dare you to explain which ones do what), but allow the photographer to make significant changes to an image. This one started out as a straightforward sunset with swans, but after playing with it for a bit I found there was a specific direction I wanted to go and a clear result I wanted to work toward. The image here is pretty close to what I wanted to achieve – a contrast of warm and cool colors with strong lines and curves giving an overall graphic appearance. I have no idea where this playing will lead other than greater confidence with Photoshop’s array of capabilities, but the good craftsman knows his tools and how to use them effectively to get the planned outcome.