The Observer

For two weeks in a row my Berta is the subject of ABFriday. And I love it, I think it is so much fun working on an image you feel passionate about.

This image was captured on one of our early morning walks at the end of December, few days before it started to snow. It was a string of exceptionally beautiful mornings where every sunrise offered spectacular colors.

Loré Dombaj ABF73 before

As in most cases, there is a difference of what we remember and what our camera captured. In editing process I tried to get closer to my memory. The editing was minimal, just a little bit of clean up and enhancing of colors. I had to deal with the upper left corner where the sky was blown up, so I used few filters and a partial vignette. Not the best job, but it got me where I wanted.

Loré Dombaj ABF73 after

Once again, be so kind and show support to other participants of AfterBeforeFriday on Ben’s blog Aperature64.



My favorite Friday challenge featuring my favorite living being! Can it get better? Of course it can, especially if there is a cup of hot chocolate involved. 😀

Loré Dombaj ABF72 before

Last Saturday it finally snowed. Some people like snow, some don’t. People with dog companions, especially those that have some husky blood in the mix, know what kind of happiness snow can bring.

Hence the smiling dog. Berta loves snow so much, I am seriously contemplating moving to Iceland…or Greenland…or Laponia…

Loré Dombaj ABF72 after

In post-processing, I wanted to bring focus on that smiley face. Few steps involved cropping, sharpening, adjusting exposure…Touch of vintage photo filter, merged with the original image and voila! Flying, smiling Berta!

Don’t forget to check out other participants of ABF on Ben’s blog Aperature64.


I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Here is another Christmas image for this week’s After Before Friday. Actually, it is the last ABF of the year. So, I find it  appropriate to say goodbye to 2015 with some festive tones.

Loré Dombaj ABF71 before

This is one of the images from Zagreb’s Christmas Fair, just a little frame of atmosphere. I liked how it turned out, in all its randomness. Editing was very simple, something I am trying to do lately. Just a bit of straightening and playing with radial softness. I wanted the wreath to be the central focus and those jars in the left corner look almost magical in that soft glow.

Loré Dombaj ABF71 after

So, this is it for ABF crowd. Our next gathering will be on January 8 for One Photo Focus and January 15 for our first After Before Friday Forum. Hope you all enjoy the holidays and spend some quality time with your loved ones.

Don’t forget to check out other participants of ABF on Ben’s blog Aperature64.


Deck the Halls

Welcome back to AfterBeforeFriday! After last week’s break, we are back in the saddle. I am obviously overwhelmed with Christmas spirit, so here is another festive image.

Loré Dombaj ABF70 before

I would like to say that the “before” is so good, there was no need for heavy editing. The truth is a little bit different…I was too lazy. 😀 So, I just polished it a bit and slapped a random filter on it. I think it looks great! I dare you to say different! 😛

Loré Dombaj ABF70 after
As always, show some kindness to other participants of the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64.


Лебединое Oзеро

For today’s AfterBeforeFriday I played with another image from my recent visit to Prague.

I was trying to capture the image of Charles Bridge, so I went to a new, secluded spot. It took me probably half an hour to notice those swans, resting some 500 meters from me. I don’t think I ever saw so many swans in one place, it was a beautiful sight.



In post-processing I did all the usual things, adjusting exposure and colors, cleaning, sharpening…but when I cropped the image, something reminded me of an oil painting. I didn’t want to use FotoSketcher and actually transfer into an oil-painting look-a-like, so I softened the image to get that golden quality. Or at least I think I got it.



As always, show some kindness to other participants of the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64. Next week ABFriday is replaced by OnePhotoFocus, hosted by Stacy Fischer. Since I am not participating, I will show you what I was up to on Instagram in November.

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Pražský Orloj

It’s been too long since I posted something crazy. So naturally, I thought ABFriday Forum would be a perfect place for some end of the week craziness. 😀

On my short visit to Prague in October, I had very few opportunities to go out and about with my camera. And when I managed to steal some free time, the weather was not in my favor. It was mostly raining, with just a few moments of sun peaking behind the clouds.

Loré Dombaj ABF69 before

When I got to the famous Astronomical Clock, the crowd was huge, so I decided to walk around the Old Town Hall and try to take some interesting pictures of the clock tower. I love to capture images from the frog perspective, especially the old architecture, it adds power and drama, making them even more imposing.

After few tries in different editing directions, I realized the biggest problem with this image was the sky. I needed a more dramatic backdrop to bring out the character of the tower, but I didn’t want to tinker forever with the existing sky and I doubted it would give me the desired effect. Instead, I went to PicMonkey and selected my favorite space texture, which has proven very successful in some of my past edits.

Loré Dombaj ABF69 after

This gave me just what I wanted, a magical look. I find it a perfect fit, this medieval tower that holds probably the oldest functional astronomical clock on this planet and that colorful sky that looks like a battlefield in The War of The Witches.

That would be all from me for this week, I am so happy it is Friday. Please, show some kindness to other participants of the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64


What’s New Pussycat?

We are back in the world of AfterBeforeFriday Forum and I have a special treat for this week.

There is a colony of stray cats living in my street. A nice lady is taking care of them, feeding them daily, taking them to the vet when needed. My Berta doesn’t like cats…ok, she likes to chase them, but I never let her. In retaliation, some of the cats climb at my windows and tap at the glass, teasing her.

This is one of the local rascals. I was walking around my neighborhood with 70-300 mm lens and when I stumbled upon her, I took few photos. I was afraid she would run away if I came closer, because Berta was with me. So, this is the closest I could get.
Loré Dombaj ABF68 before

With a little help from the editing program, I managed to crop it closely and extract the details of her fur and whiskers. Softening the background and increasing contrast and sharpness proved to be a good combination. I warmed it a little bit, just to get that nice, autumny feel.
Loré Dombaj ABF68 after

So, that would be all from me for this week. Please, be so kind and check other participants and all the information about the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64.


My Favorite Subject

I don’t know about you, but there are places and things I love to photograph over and over again. Although they might look the same, I find them different every time I return.

There are some derelict little houses and wooden shacks in my neighborhood with roofs covered in moss. It is interesting to observe the changes throughout the seasons, from green abundance to dry patches.
Loré Dombaj ABF66 before
I took this photo last Saturday. It was a splendid autumn day, full of sun. One minute I was cleaning my apartment and the next one I was running out with Berta and my camera. Just couldn’t resist all the fabulous colors I saw from my window.

I love those shadows playing on the roof, combined with the moss, there is an overall sense of softness and mystery. I half-expect some little creatures to yell at me, asking not to invade their privacy. My imagination is running wild, constructing a story about this little village and all the people who hide in their moss-covered houses.
Loré Dombaj ABF66 afterAnother simple edit, I think all the challenges in last few months drained me of my craziness. Cropped it a bit and strengthened, Orton did another magical job with colors. I am always surprised how well Orton can work on specific images, like this one, adding the softness and the glow, but not pushing it overboard.

A new moment in post-processing happened this week. I edited the image on Tuesday, leaving it to rest for a day. But I kept thinking that something was missing. Out of nowhere, without even looking at the image ( I think I was driving home from work), I had that Eureka moment. 🙂 I just knew I had to add the parallel vignette, to somehow compress the image in the right way. Overall vignette would suffocate it, but this way I got what I wanted, opening the image and leading the eye up and above.

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We are skipping next week’s ABFriday in favor of Stacey’s One Photo Focus. Since I decided to take a break from OPF, I will probably publish my own ABFriday.

Please, be so kind and check other participants and all the information about the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64.

I wish you a Happy Halloween, a great weekend and lots of opportunities for great photos.


ABFriday! I’ve Missed You!

I’ve missed last two ABFridays, but I have a rather good excuse. I was traveling to Prague! How I love that city, too bad it was non-stop raining. Hopefully, I’ll manage to find some time and go through rather slim collection of photos I took there.

For this Friday I am sharing an image I took at the beginning of the month, down by the river. It is one of my favorite places to walk and take photos, because I am there every day and I really need to search for something different.

This rusty chain is holding in place the wooden dock where I spent my summer. There is a series of steps leading to it and I couldn’t help but notice how the chain looked interesting from that point of view.

I really liked the image, so I tried not to mess with it too much. By cropping it, it feels like the perspective changed a bit and by adding some contrast and the vignette, it looks more tight and focused.

Interestingly, there was no need for manually adjusting the color, I just used the Orton effect and the image came to life.
As always, we would love if more people could join in our weekly fun. Please, be so kind and check other participants and all the information about the ABFriday Forum on Ben’s blog Aperature64.

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October One Photo Focus – Summertime An’ The Livin’ Is Easy

First Friday of October is here, meaning it is time for another edition of One Photo Focus. For new faces with question marks above their heads, all of us merry people edit one and the same image and share it with the world on the first Friday of the month.

For this month we were lucky enough to edit this lovely image from Michelle Lunato. I think it is a gorgeous image, reminding me of those beautiful summer afternoons, when the sun is just as it is supposed to be, nice and mellow.
Michelle Lunato October One Photo Focus

This month I decided to share all the steps, which I usually skip (because I forget to save mid-steps 🙂 ). My first step was to up clarity and sharpness, which worked nicely. Next was adjusting saturation and temperature.Michelle Lunato October One Photo Focus1

I liked the warmer tones, but it was overall too yellowish. So, I used gradient filter. Actually I used two, light blue and pink, which gave me what I wanted, improvement on the sky and especially toning down of the sun reflection in the water. Also, I cleaned up that bottom left part of the image, I just didn’t like those little foam patches.Michelle Lunato October One Photo Focus2

When I achieved the overall clearer, but softer looking image, I stepped away. Taking my own advice, I returned the next day. In my last month’s One Four Challenge journey, I experimented with the Dodge/Burn tool and I liked how you can manipulate the image. So, this time I used the Dodge tool and lightened some parts, the main building, the stretch of the beach on the right of the building, boats and even those buildings and that beautiful tree in the far background. Also, upon observing the image, I noticed how I missed that little flair/spot near the sun, so I removed it.Michelle Lunato October One Photo Focus3
Finally, we arrive at the end of my editing process. Again, I stepped away and returned after few hours. Looking at my previous edit, I decided it was too dark, for a shade or two, so that way my last adjustment, fine tuning the exposure. Oh, and I cropped it at the bottom. So, I guess that way my last adjustment. 🙂
Loré Dombaj ABF61 Michelle Lunato October One Photo FocusI am curious to know what you think about my editing process. See, I can learn new things and work more seriously…I know, I am shocked as you are. 🙂 All jokes aside, I am very pleased with Michelle’s image, it was a real joy working on it.

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As always, you can check works from other participants on Stacy’s blog Visual Venturing and checking tags ABFriday and OnePhotoFocus in your Reader.

One last thing – as of last month we changed the host for our other ABFriday challenge, where we edit our own images. Ben graciously stepped up and is doing a wonderful job. I would love if we could see more faces there, our numbers dropped and I am not happy about it. I know sometimes all this blogging is too much, but if you could dedicate at least one more Friday every month to our little community, that would be awesome. First Friday of the month is reserved for One Photo Focus, but other Fridays are open for your own images. It doesn’t have to be all Fridays or always the same Friday, just remember that we are there and we care. 🙂