Dirty Waxing

That title will make sense in a minute, I promise. Because I did a few weird things this week. Photographically I mean. Weird, random things that I had no idea would lead to anything but actually turned out kind of cool. So I’ll try to tie them all together.

First of all, a few days ago I was emptying out my Scentsy burners the usual way – freezing the plates for about 15 minutes, then popping the chilled wax out with a butter knife – but the wax on one of them just wouldn’t come out no matter what I did. Since I am clumsy enough to injure myself even with just a butter knife, I didn’t mess around with it for long; I just heated the wax back up and poured it into the garbage can once it was liquid again. Then once I’d done that, I noticed the spilled wax that was left in the bowl looked pretty cool, so I got out my 7D and my macro lens and snapped a few photos of it:

wax1 wax2 wax4

This was fun and all, but I wasn’t really sure if the results were interesting enough to be shareable (except for here, of course, where I share everything). Skip ahead a day, when I read on Phoblographer about a company called Totally Rad that had some cool plugins for Photoshop; I checked out their site and ended up buying a texture program called “Dirty Pictures” (hence the title, see) and downloaded a trial of another photoediting program called “Rad Lab” (I’ll probably end up buying this too once my trial is up – it’s $150, so I’m gonna totally use up the trial before buying). In order to test everything out, I decided to play around with the wax photos and add textures and filters to them (I kept them in the same order):

wax1edit wax2edit wax4edit

You can see why I’m gonna cough up $150 for the Rad Lab (I used both plugins for these) and why I was willing to pay $80 for the textures. Some really cool stuff that is very easy to use in Photoshop, even though I’m still a novice with that software. But Thursday night I was looking at them and thinking, you know, as cool as these are (I especially love the last one with the pastels, it makes me think of some sort of fairy birthday cake or something) they still aren’t much of anything at all, just textures and colors. Too abstract, perhaps. So, I messed with them a little more by adding other photographs I had over them and blending them in…see what you think (same order again):

wax1edit2 wax2edit2 wax4edit2

Of these three, I think the first one is the least impressive, which isn’t surprising since it was the last one I actually processed so I think I was getting tired and bored. And while I do love the effect of #3 and still love the colors (that photo of Candace with her son has always been a favorite of mine, but on it’s own it has never really resonated with me so I’m glad to find something more to do with it), that middle one is just AWESOME. And the cool thing about it is that when I layered my photo into it, it fit the photo exactly like that without me having to manipulate it around or anything. I just pasted the layer in and BAM – it was perfect! It looks like I spent hours putting that together and matching and blending it all, but it honestly took about three minutes. Love it when that happens.

So, which versions do you like of these? Are they too boring when they’re just wax, or are they “too much” by the end of all this? I can’t wait to try out the Totally Rad products on more normal photos, but since I had the wax pictures sitting around I started with them, and while the results were weird, they were great fun to work with. As I always say, I’m never bored when there’s a camera nearby…

Oh and I almost forgot – as a joke, I layered my face into one of my airplane photos, to stop the light-hearted bitching I’m enduring on Flickr for going a whole week without uploading any photos of my own mug. I did use some Dirty Textures on this one, too, so it kind of fits to put it here:

june12edit
This actually happens when I go planespotting

7 thoughts on “Dirty Waxing

  1. I like the idea. The wax almost looks like a close-up of the epidermis, pre-texturing. I like the last photo the best – I think superimposition is a cool idea. Love the idea of textures but how does this program differ from what you can do in Pixlr and FotoFlexer, etc.? On my screen the one with Candace washes out a bit but the colors are pretty. Interesting tips.

    • Well, it’s different textures and effects mostly, and I do get bored with using the same ones over and over on Pixlr. Also, I can work with TIFF files this way instead of having to edit JPEGS.

  2. Now those are some scary photos! Did you ever see the movie Andromeda Strain (the original)? Your photos remind me of it. Especially the first one!
    I don’t think what you did was weird, just experimenting with your photography!
    I know I never complain about anything you do, I love all your photos as they are always so fascinating! Of course there are some of you that I just adore as you are so naturally beautiful but when you wear really interesting hair styles (pink!) and stuff, you become wonderfully differently beautiful!

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