Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Which Wood Would You Choose?

I had been working on this image when I saw that the travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? is wood.  If you, after having looked this post over, have an opinion as to which version you prefer, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Usually I show the original last, but this time that is what I will start with:

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

I took this photo while on a short walk on a very cold day last week.  If you have visited my blog lately you will know that I am working on a project where the aim is to imitate the style of the photogravure.  I wrote about the creation of another winter image in this style here.

For the image above, I created a gold version and a blue version, scrolling down you will see them in that order:

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

ISO 160 22mm 0ev f/5.9 1/320

Both photos were created in the same basic way in Photoshop but each then has it’s own variations.

First the basics.  Each of these is a three layered file.  The image, a gradient map layer, and a texture layer.  With the original image I went to the channels and created a new alpha channel.  With that active I selected the gradient tool and drug a reflected gradient from the middle of the photo down.  Then back in the layers panel, I chose Filter-Blur-Lens Blur and created the blur using a slider that is in that dialogue box.  Also in that dialogue box I had to check alpha channel as the source, in order for this effect to work the way I wanted it too. From there I created a gradiant map layer and added the color that I wanted to it.  Then I added a layer of texture, by bringing in a background that I had already.

Some ways that the two images differ is that the background texture layer is different on each.  Also the gradient map layer in each image is different.  It’s dark blue to light blue to white in the blue image and black to white in the gold image.  The layers are also stacked a bit differently and set to different settings.  In the gold image it is Gradient Map layer normal, opacity 48%. Image layer, normal, opacity 55%. Texture layer, lighter color, opacity 100%.  For the Blue image it starts with the Texture layer, multiply, opacity 51%, Gradient Map layer normal, opacity 100%. Image layer, normal, 100% opacity. If none of that particularly makes sense to you, I think the takeaway is that the layers can be placed in any order that is appealing to you, and that changes is blending mode and opacity can make a big difference.

The next step in this project is to print.  None of the photos I have created will be larger than 8×10.  Also, instead of photo paper I will be experimenting with a textured drawing paper.  This is something I have not really tried before so I looking forward to seeing what I come up with.

So, if you have made it this far and have an opinion about which image you prefer, please comment below.



Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

Sometimes there is more to a photograph than meets the eye.  In this case, the photo I am posting is actually three photos.  I shot this Bald Eagle using a bracketed exposure so that I could create an HDR image to show as much detail in the bird as possible:

ISO 800 236mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

ISO 800 236mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1000

I shot this photo as part of a series of ten images, this particular one is also in my Picfair portfolio.  In order to create these images I rented this 70-300mm lens.  Because I knew I was going to want to get a bracketed exposure I made sure to take along my tripod to help me get as still of an image as possible.  I have written about other birds in this series, most recently about a Peregrine Falcon.  For this photo, I wanted to blur out the background almost completely.  I wanted to use the green to contrast with and bring out the color of the beak and eye.

I took this photo at World Bird Sanctuary at a Camera Day that they were hosting.  This was a great opportunity for me to get a photo like this without any of the bird’s enclosure in the background.  The Bald Eagle is also the national bird of the United States, yet has faced a difficult time here in recent history.  While population numbers for this bird are moving in a positive way, there is still the need for some of them to live in sanctuaries.  While I love to see these birds in the wild, sometimes they are injured, brought to sanctuaries, and then unable to live again in the wild.  Eagles like this one I photographed, work to bring awareness to people of how they can help make sure that this birds thrive in the wild.

The theme this week is layers for the photo challenge at WordPress.  So this is my layered post: 1bird, 3 exposures; 1 post, 6 links.  One photograph, but many things to think about about, what do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.


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

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Unusual POV

This weekend I had an idea of what I wanted to try for this week’s photo challenge, a unusual point of view.  It took some time to create this image, but here it is:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

This is actually one dragonfly that kept landing on this plant.  The image that you see is three photos that have been blended into one. This is a technique that we covered in my Photoshop class last week.  The homework had been to create an image like this using images that were provided.  I did the assignment without any problem, but felt like I was just getting the end result because I was following the instructions, not because I really understood what I was doing.

With that in mind and seeing what the theme of the photo challenge was this week, I set out to create an image, using the technique and my own images.  I was hoping to create an awesome image and learn a lot.  So, how did it turn out?  well, I did learn a lot.  The image is not awesome, it’s OK, not bad for a first try.  I am going to keep writing this post and talk about how I made the image and what I learned, so if you’re curious keep reading.  If the details don’t particularly interest you, feel free to stop reading now.  I’d love to know what you think of the image though, so if you have a moment to let me know before you go, that would be great.

On with the details!  I’ll start with the photo shoot and move on to the editing.

What I did for the photo shoot:

The photos were taken using a tripod because I knew that other than the dragonfly, I was going to want everything to be the same.  I used a high shutter speed because I wanted to catch the action of the dragonfly with as much detail as possible.

What I learned:

Even though my settings were the same in the photos, the light changed in the time that it took me to get the images that I wanted.  I did not think about that at the time, so that was something that I had to change in Photoshop, so that the dragonfly would look the same in the composite.  Also, the dragonfly is a pretty small subject for this project.  For this effect working on a larger subject matter might have worked better.

What I did for the editing:

  1. I started with my images in Bridge:
  2. Bridge-Tools-Photoshop-Load Files into Photoshop Layers

The next steps are in Photoshop CS6:

  1. Select all the Layers
  2. Edit-Auto-Align Layers.  This will line up the non-moving objects in the photo.  In this case, it is pretty important that the plant stay still.
  3. Then I turned off the eyeball on all but the base layer.
  4. Turn on the eyeball on the next layer up that you will be working on.
  5. Make a mask.
  6. Paint the dragonfly on that layer in black.
  7. Command-i to invert the layer and that made the dragonfly appear visible on the base layer.

That’s pretty much it.  Have you ever tried something like this? Did it work for you? Feel free to leave a comment below, and if you have written a post on the topic, feel free to leave a link.