50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Stone

One of my favorite places to go and photograph animals in the St. Louis Zoo.  This Black and White Ruffed Lemur lives there:

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

Obviously the image has been edited in Photoshop.  I’ll show you the original exposure at the bottom of the post.  Photographs in the primate house can be difficult to get.  The closer you can get to the glass the better and flash generally works against you in the scenario.  I have a fairly high ISO here but a slow shutter speed.  This combination worked for this particular photo because this lemur was pretty still, he seemed content to stare back at whoever was looking at him.

The image I wanted to create in Photoshop was one that looked like a print or a silk screen.  I would say the toughest part of achieving what I wanted was to maintain some of the texture in the white fur.  The way to go about creating an image like this is to create a separate layer for every color value you want to use.  Because I am pretty new to the technique, I first created a duplicate layer of my original photo, that way I hadn’t lost it if I messed up completely.  Then on my duplicate layer I went to Select-Color Range.  From there a dialogue box will open up and you can choose the color values you want to work with first.  Then click OK.  Then I clicked quick mask and got rid of any areas that I did not want to have selected.  Then I created a new layer, used the eye dropper to pick the color I wanted and did and option-delete to fill the area with that color.  That is one color selection done.  For each additional color I repeated those same steps.  Once I was satisfied with that, I added a layer of solid grey at the bottom of the layers to sort of hold the image together.  Then I found a stone texture on line and dragged it into the image as the top layer and dropped its opacity.  The lemur was sitting on a stone, but I wanted that texture to run through the whole image.  Here is the original image:

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

ISO 1600 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

Pretty different from the edited version I created isn’t it?  What do you think? Do you like this particular editing technique?  Have you ever tried it?  Your comments are welcome below.

I wrote this post in part as a response to the Weekly travel-themed photo challenge at Where’s My Backpack?  The theme this week is stone.


31 thoughts on “Travel Theme: Stone

  1. kirkistan says:

    Again: I’m a fan of your detailed instructions. I often leave your posts thinking: “Hey–I want to try that!” Thanks for writing.


  2. wewerenothing says:

    This is a tough call — I love the barely there look of the edited version. It’s probably what I’d go for as a painter painting the little guy. But as a photographer, I prefer the original, solid look.


  3. The original photo is beautiful. The edited version is cool. I like it! I love that you share how you do this, even though I do not have Photoshop.

    I have never been to the St. Louis Zoo, but I was a member of the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park when we used to live there. I was at the zoo every week. I never took pictures, but I did spend a lot of time with the orangutans and the gorillas – my two favorite exhibits.


  4. Well, before I read what you’d said, I thought ‘that looks more like a painting or a drawing in pastels’ !
    I do love a lemur 🙂 Part of my Christmas present from my husband last year was a year’s sponsorship of the pair of mongoose lemurs at Edinburgh Zoo. We managed to visit them at the start of October 🙂


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