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A Splendid Day Out in Morecambe

A UK photographer created stylized images of participants at this October steampunk event

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Tea Dueling

Editor’s Note: Steampunks gathered Oct. 13-15 in Morecambe, UK, for A Splendid Day Out (ASDO), and fortunately for us, Mark Rushton was on hand to take photos of the participants. Mark has a unique style, using software tools to transform his photos into painterly works of art. We noticed his photos on the ASDO Facebook page, and he kindly allowed us to reproduce them in the gallery below.

We were curious about how he achieves these effects. The secret is an image-processing program called Photomatix that’s designed for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. “I always shoot in RAW, then I can just alter the exposures in Photoshop,” he says. “For example, save one at -2, one at 0, and one at +2. Then drag all three exposures into Photomatix and watch it do its magic. There are many different effects to choose from, plus you can make any adjustments you wish to make, too.”

We’re both photo nerds, so that made perfect sense to me. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. The Photomatix website has a nice visual example of how it works. You can also download a free trial version of the software. It’s a standalone program, so you don’t need Photoshop to make it work.

I added some additional effects to the image above to modify the colors. You can see the original in the photo gallery.

Mark also recommends Lucis Pro for creating HDR images. And lots of other programs offer ways to convert photos into paintings or drawings. Some examples: Snap Art from Alien Skin Software; ToonIt! Photo from Digital Anarchy; and Topaz Studio from Topaz Labs. Toon-It is a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. Snap Art and Topaz Studio work as plug-ins or standalone programs.

Future Plans

Morecambe is a seaside resort town in North West England. In past years, ASDO has been held twice annually, in summer and fall, but co-organizer Rob Bracewell announced Oct. 15 on Facebook that this would be the last October event. “To continue with two each year, for a three-person planning team is not sustainable, particularly in the current climate where new events pop out of the ground like daisies in a field,” he wrote. “So all our energies will be put into producing a spectacular summer event to bring splendiferous stuff to you.”

That event will happen May 31-June 2, 2019, and tickets are already on sale. The theme is “Steamageddon Utopia-Dystopia.” See the ASDO website and Facebook page for more info. In the meantime, enjoy Mark’s pictures in the gallery below. You can find additional photos on the Facebook page.

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