Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

The prompt for the WordPress photo challenge asked  participants to think about not only the size of something but its impact when considering what to submit for this week’s theme, grand.  So, I thought small.  This photo is of an Eastern Screech Owl, the smallest bird I have in my World Bird Sanctuary series on my website.

ISO 400 260mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

ISO 400 260mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

If you are a regular reader of this blog this image is familiar to you.  I originally created this image as a full color HDR image, if you would like to read about that original version click here.  This particular version I created in the last week because we did some lessons on HDR in my Photoshop class and I created a series of new images for an assignment but then came back to this image to do something a bit different.

Even though it is a Photoshop class, my preferred software for HDR is Photomatix, so that is what I used to create this image.  When shooting this photo, I used the exposure bracketing feature in my camera, so I had three exposures, one light, one dark, and one in the middle.  If you’d like a bit of an explanation of HDR, there is a brief overview here.

For the image you see above, I already had created a color HDR version.  I went back to my bracketed photos and created a black and white version.  With my two HDR versions on my desktop, I then opened them in Photoshop.  Each of the photos is on its own layer.  Then I spent a bit of time creating different combinations until I came up with this version.  In this version, the black and white is on top of the color version.  I put a mask on the black and white layer, and with my paintbrush painted over the eyes, revealing the color version underneath.  That’s it. Probably the simplest version I worked on, but the one I liked the best. I liked it enough to create a 5×7 card that is available for sale on my website.

This particular photo I took at World Bird Sanctuary, which if you are ever in the St. Louis area, is a great place to visit with your camera.  I’m sorry to say, that this little owl passed away this week.  A tribute is here, and as a regular visitor to World Bird Sanctuary I can say that this bird was an excellent ambassador for the work they do there.  A little bird that made a grand impact indeed.

So what do you think of the combined HDR version? I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions below.  If you don’t have anything to say about this particular photo but would love to leave a comment, take a moment to wish me good luck on my Photoshop final exam which is coming up this week!

Cheers!