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Step, count to 10, step, step, step, count to 10, and repeat! This recurring mantra fills my every thought as I ascend the formidable Langma La, a high pass that guards the entrance to the Kharta Valley on the east side of Mount Everest. At 5360m/17,585 feet you reach a series of rock cairns mostly hidden under miles of multi-coloured prayer flags: This is Tibet personified; thin air, faith and huge mountains – the Himalaya.

What took me there, why did I want to go, and why do I continue to go back, when again and again I swear it’ll be the last time!?

I won’t bore you with my entire life-story, but by the mid-2000’s I was living in a small mountain town in Southwest China, in the Province of Yunnan. My wife, who is Chinese, visited Tibet in 2006 and fell in love with the place, the people and the unknown – and as a smart husband, I knew to make my wife happy meant me being happy! I was away overseas on a business trip when I spoke to her on the phone – “I’ve changed your flight back” she says – “We’ve moved.” In the two weeks I’d been away, she had sold our 4×4, my motorbike, all our furniture and a good chunk of other personal items. I was so used to this wonderful way of life that my only question was “Sure thing, where to?”

One word that changed my life forever followed – “Lhasa”

Tibetan Fox by Alister Benn

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Behind the Lans: Bob Kramer of Rat Rod Studios

Welcome to another post from our Topaz series, Behind the Lens! Today we’ll be learning more about Bob Kramer of Rat Rod Studios. Learn how Bob got started and see his work flow process, hear about creative challenges, and see a collection of images!

Behind the Lans: Bob Kramer of Rat Rod Studios

From Drawing to Post Processing

I was an art major in school and decided to use a camera instead of drawing by hand when I was around 30 years old. I also enjoyed taking photos. Now I prefer the post process of working on an image. I really enjoy taking images of things that tell a story… like the homeless on Venice and Santa Monica beaches. I’ve never like to take wedding or birthday photos or that type of photography.

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Topaz Labs Simplify makes cartooning your critter effortless!Cartoon your Critter

Almost everyone has one. Man’s best friend, this may be a dog, cat, or even a lizard. No matter whether they walk, hop, slither, or crawl, one thing is for sure: You love your pet. Now, wouldn’t you enjoying displaying to the world the love for your pet? If flowers, trees, and mountains can be works of art, then so can your pet! Today, we are going to learn how to cartoon your critter, and turn him or her into a work of art that you can be mounted on your wall for years to come!

By using a few of the Topaz Labs plugins, Remask, Simplify, and Impression, we are going to effortlessly cartoon your critter. Don’t own the plugins? We offer 30 day free trials of all of our plugins. No credit cards required! To try Remask, click here. For Simplify, click over here! And for Impression, click right here. Now let’s get to cartooning your critter. Continue Reading