Category Archives: Special Effects

The Mezquita Mosque, Córdoba

Spain, Andalusia. Cordoba. Mosque.

In May 2015, I led a photography tour to Andalusia, along with pro photographer (and my partner) Jed Manwaring. We had a lovely group with us, an enthusiastic and flexible group, and we saw so many wonderful sites! One great place was the Mezquita, the mosque-cathedral, in Córdoba. I had seen so many pictures of it and was excited to get there. As we entered the mosque, I tried to be mindful of the ancient and religious place we were entering. I thought about all the historical figures of the day that had spent time in this place, and marveled at this long-standing gem of moorish architecture. So much was present in these walls.

I wanted my pictures to reflect that, and as a straight image, they show the structure and architectural details very well. But by applying a texture overlay from Flypaper Textures, I could create a more weathered, antiquated feeling to the image. I chose the Marguerite texture from the Distressed-painterly set, but there are others that would have also worked well. I haven’t had much time to ‘play’, er, experiment like this the past year, so it’s fun to sit with a photo and think about what I want the final image to be for a change!

The image below was also using their texture overlays. You can get a 15% discount off their products by clicking the affiliate link above. I really like the entire collection they have, I just have to make more time to try them all out!

Spain, Andalusia. Cordoba. Mosque.

click to see larger

Jed and I are leading this same photo tour to Andalusia in May 2017. For more information, visit my page here, and/or go to the Strabo Tour Collection Spain Tour page. I have a link to Spain images on Facebook, too.


Also posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, creative ideas, Processing Techniques, travel photography, workshops & photo tours Tagged , , , , , , , , |

The power of photographs



(Back story: When I get busy traveling a lot for workshops and tours, I simply get lost in the sea of images that create! Typically the phone pictures get left in the dust as I focus more on my ‘big girl’ camera pictures. So today I was cleaning up my iPhone folder in Lightroom and having a blast revisiting not only some fun trips and places, but also events. Harp Dog Brown Trio played a mean blues at CAPA’s annual conference I was speaking at in August in Vancouver.)

When I view these images, I can hear the music in my head, I can feel the experience of having been there. Now that’s  the power of a photograph, to ignite the memories of many senses. How many times have you seen a picture and relived a sound, a smell, a feeling? And that’s why I remain passionate about photography. To capture those moments for myself, but to hopefully have my picture transcend the personal memory and just perhaps, trigger one in you, the viewer.



Enjoy, and share with your friends!




P.S. These were shot with my iPhone using Hipstamatic John S lens and BlackKeys B+W Film settings.

Also posted in general photography, iphone Apps, photography Tagged , , , |

The Rites of Spring



Poppy-scape, Italy

 I love to travel, and I am really looking forward to my tour in Morocco and then on to Spain and Portugal, but I have to be honest: I HATE missing Spring here in northern California. It’s a time when my spirits feel renewed, when my own energy seems to come bursting out of me. The good news is that Spring will be following me – hopefully – as I am going to Morocco a month earlier than usual, and late April/early May is still late Spring in Spain. So I’m looking foward to fields of flowers in both countries and hoping it’s a great year for them there!

For this image, I used Topaz Labs’ Impression plug-in, and their Pointillism preset which I then adjusted to taste, layered over the original and adjusted opacity. It’s hard to see the effect unless quite enlarged in my office, but it adds a touch of painterly effect here in this small version. For a 15% discount, click on the link here and enter the code brendatharp at checkout.

You can learn this technique in several of the workshops that I am teaching this year, including at the Madeline Island School of Photography class October 5-9, 2015.

Thanks for visiting and sharing.





Also posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, general photography, Landscape Photography, nature photography, Plug-ins, Software Tagged , , , |

Special Holiday Deals on Plug-Ins!

It’s Time to give THANKS to all these companies creating such great processing software for our images! These folks have worked hard to create a series of quality plug-ins for everything from essential processing to creative processing effects for your images. As many of you know I have used their plug-ins for some time and love them!

Topaz Deal is good November 28 – through December 1 so don’t sleep too long after your Turkey dinner and miss out! CLICK ON THE PICTURE and enter the code BLACKFRIDAY2014




And more Plug-in Fun! Macphun is offering a special Black Friday pricing on their Creative Kit – ending the evening of Black Friday. Check it out! Click on the picture below.


Creative Kit Plus. You save over 30%.


Here’s an image I created with MacPhun’s Tonality Pro:



Enjoy your holiday and have some fun with new processing software!!


All best,





Also posted in photography, Plug-ins, Processing Techniques, The Blog Tagged , , , , |