Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

Static, I think that is one word that comes to mind when describing a war monument. The Battle of Britain Monument is unusual in that it is dynamic.  Not only do the elements of the monument protrude in interesting ways, they do so at eye level.  It is a very interesting work to walk around.  It was my first visit, so I took a lot of shots as I walked around getting my first impressions.  When I got home, I created this photo:

ISO 32 4.15mm 1/50 f/2.2

The photos I took, I took on my iPhone.  Mostly, I was capturing details of the monument and not the monument in its entirety.  I find my iPhone is a good tool for this kind of photography.  I will show you the original shot at the bottom of this post, but as you can see there is a lot going on here, so one of my first thoughts was, what would I like to highlight in my final photo?  The answer was the bright sky you can see in the binoculars of the soldier in the foreground.  I used Lightroom to create my version.  I first cropped the photo then sharpened it a bit.  I then used a radial filter just over the binoculars, the effect evenly muted the rest of the photo, but kept the vibrance of the sky.  I then lightened the corners of the photo which I think helps encourage your eye to stay more in the center of the photo.  For comparison, here is the original photo:

ISO 32 4.15mm 1/50 f/2.2

What do you think of my edits?  Is there another approach you would have taken in editing this? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Advertisements

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.

Cheers!