Sea Blue Lens

Blurred Vision Part 2


Last month, Exploring With a Camera was about using blur creatively when taking photographs. This month, Artistic Blur Part 2 is about adding blur to images during post-processing.

I don’t normally do a lot of “creative” or special effects post-processing. I’m more focused (pardon the pun) on capturing what I see and getting my photos to be sharp. Why would I want to mess them up by making them blurry in post-processing?

Then I saw a couple of other people’s responses to this prompt and it looked like they were having fun, so I thought I might try it. I pulled a few images from my archives and started to play.

102_0206 alium seed headStarburst

This is an onion that had bloomed and gone to seed in the garden. I used Photoshop Elements to add a Radial Blur filter with a zoom effect.

DSC_0046In One Basket

This blur was added in Lightroom. In the original photo, the basket was sharp while the eggs were out of focus. I moved the clarity slider to the left (minus 71) and decreased the vibrance and saturation, which gave the image a soft overall glow that I liked.

101_0726 bird angelGarden Guardian

In PSE I added a layer of Gaussian blur to this little angel using the Linear Light blend mode. Then I added a filter layer of enlarged grain.


In this image, the background was already somewhat blurred due to the depth of field, but the bird was sharp. I tried several different effects and decided I liked this one best. I added a texture layer (Empty Page, a free texture from the lovely Kim Klassen) and then added a Palette Knife filter. I’m not completely satisfied yet and may try some other things with this one.

Here are the four images before I began playing with them:


I really enjoyed this exploration. I’ve already got a few more images in mind that I’d like to try some of these techniques with. Thank you, Kat, for all of the fascinating aspects of photography you’ve introduced me to through Exploring With a Camera.

13 thoughts on “Blurred Vision Part 2

  1. Super cool! And if I take my glasses off, they look even MORE awesome! 🙂

  2. These are all wonderfu. I think my favorite is the first one. Looks like it’s zooming right out at me! I really love the soft look of the eggs! I feel the same way you do. I don’t use a lot of post-processing. I pretty much just like the real things, but, this was a fun experiment.

  3. Leon, these are lovely! The eggs in the basket is my favorite, not that you asked me to vote…I just love the colors and the softness. Plus that wire basket is so cool. I’m glad you came out and played. 🙂 I also agree with Cathy, your header photo is great.

  4. Lee – I think that is really what it is all about – fun! Just experimenting and playing around and seeing what develops. Sometimes post-processing doesn’t add anything to a given image – but sometimes something wonderful can happen – which I think you accomplished with your explorations. I really like the sense of motion with the onion seed – we are drawn so powerfully into the center. I like the soft glow of the eggs and the angel – which has gained a sense of otherworldly mystery. And “Flight” – the effect captures the essence of the bird and its surroundings but with a wonderful painterly quality.

  5. Well done, Lee! I love your explorations! The bird is very cool — looks like a painting. The eggs in the basket is my fave too. I don’t do processing too often, but sometimes a little adjustment really works well with a certain image. It is fun to explore — just can’t seem to find time for it all.

  6. I didn’t do this exploring yet, but I’m dying to. I hear you on the crystal clear, and then “what?” making it blurry, but the longer I shoot the more I want to expand-and that does lean more toward abstracting images. I’ve used the palette knife before, in fact I’ve tried all of these except making use of the radial blur. I forget about that one. Obviously I need to take Kim’s class on LR to expand what I know. I like that egg image, and am fascinated in the result.
    Got to put this on the “to do” list. Only two shopping days left before the end of February (she says with a smile).

  7. Your onion head looks like the sun ready to burst forth…pretty cool. All of your photos worked well at a blur. So funny how we work and work to get clear/straight forward pictures, then spend time and effort learning to blur what we learned to shoot “on target.” Funny funny people we all are. smiles: sharon

  8. These are all wonderful. I’ve been guilty of playing for hours on end in Photoshop. I love playing with in camera blur but missed last month at Exploring with a Camera. I really like your hawk picture. If you’re not happy with it, keep playing until you like it – sometimes it never happens. I like it at this stage though.

  9. These are wonderful, and so nicely done.
    The first one makes me think of a Lensbaby image. Love it!

  10. Love the first image, looks like it’s about to explode, so cool! Love the sense of movement that your processing has given the bird too. I love this sort of processing because I love how it can enhance the mood of an image and I think your examples are perfect examples of this.

  11. I’m glad you were inspired to try something new! That’s what Exploring with a Camera is all about. Every time you experiment and play, you add more tools to your artistic tool box. I look forward to seeing if these creep into your work more often. Thanks for sharing these great examples!

  12. Your first “blur” is super cool – definitely my favorite.
    Playing around in post-processing is a lot of fun. I love to do it, but I don’t always love the result. That’s okay, because this way I also learn. However, I think I am more like you – I like my pictures to be sharp most of the time.

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