Piggy portraits

Over the Christmas holidays, my family (my parents, 2 guinea pigs, and 3 beagles) and I stayed for a few nights at Saamrus Guest Farm in Magaliesburg.

Even the guinea pigs enjoyed the fresh country air! I shot these while the dogs were out for a walk – the guinea pigs sat on the table, and I fired my flash through an umbrella from camera-left.

Don’t miss my previous posts from the trip:

One Photo Focus – September 2016

After-Before Friday is an event which allows photographers to share their processed images, and, if they choose, their post-processing steps. On the first Friday of the month, all participants have the opportunity to edit the same photo in the “One Photo Focus” challenge.

As soon as I opened up the image I knew that I wanted to create a warm sunset scene (this proved easier said than done, but I was happy with the result in the end).  These were my main steps, excluding a few basic tonal adjustments in Camera Raw and Lightroom:

1/ First off, I opened the image in Photoshop, duplicated the background layer, and converted it to a Smart Object.  I then applied a Camera Raw Filter to bring out some texture in the sky. Using highlight luminosity masks (Jimmy McIntyre has a great set of Photoshop actions which can be downloaded for free) I created a layer mask to ensure that only the sky was visible.

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2/ Next I created a new blank layer, filled it with black, and applied a lens flare filter (Filter > Render > Lens Flare > Movie Prime) – this would become my sun.

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3/ I applied a Camera Raw filter on top of that, to increase the warmth and brightness of the layer.  I changed the blend mode of the layer to screen, added a layer mask, and voilá; I had my sun. 3.jpg

4/ I used a duplicate layer with a different layer mask and a lower opacity to add the sunlight on the water.

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5/ The scene was still missing some of the warmth that one would associate with a real sunset – so I added an orange Gradient adjustment layer, which I set to 17% opacity and colour blend mode.  Then I added a new layer, filled it with orange, and set to it soft light blend mode.  I added layer masks to both layers to concentrate the effect on the sky.

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6/ I then added a curves adjustment layer to darken the image.

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7/ I merged all the layers and applied a final Camera Raw Filter, where I used a Radial Filter to lighten the shadows around the boat.

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8/ A couple touch ups using the Clone Stamp Tool, and I had my final image.

September 2016 One Photo Focus copy

After

I had fun editing this image – it really pushed the boundaries of my Photoshop skills!

I hope you enjoyed my edit, and gained some tips along the way. I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the final image.

 

Addo Elephant Park

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in the Eastern Cape.  After spending a few days in PE, we travelled to Addo Elephant Park, a SANParks reserve.

Driving in we spotted a warthog and some of the elephants the camp is known for. This elephant image of mine later won a Shot of the Month competition.

We also had a great sighting of some zebra, frolicking around an artificial water hole – as with the rest of the country, the park hasn’t had rain in months.

At a similar watering hole, we sat at a hide and watched this poor old buffalo take a drink.

On our last night, we decided to brave the cold and go on one of the park’s night drives.  And good that we did – we had some amazing sitings!  The only lighting I had was the ranger’s flashlight, but I pushed my ISO up to 1600 and managed to make it work.

Looking at the rest of this post, I see it’s all in black and white (unintentionally!).  But anyway, here’s a pop of colour; this was the view from my balcony on the morning we left.  It consists of several images stitched together in Photoshop.

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Don’t miss my previous posts from this trip:

 

Star of the show

This is one of the beautiful stallions from the South African Lipizzaners. Myself and a few other photographers were given the opportunity to photograph a training session, and then photograph the horses in their stables.

The light was blindingly harsh in the sun and flat in the shade, leaving us in a bit of a dilemma.  I decided to photograph this horse in the shade, and use the gold side of my 5-in-1 reflector to add some drama.

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On a more humorous note, a few moments later he gave a massive yawn, exposing some terrifying teeth!

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Kruger Park Lodge -April 2016

Mid-April, my parents and I spent a week at the Kruger Park Lodge.

We had some amazing sightings – a squirrel ran up and down a tree inches from the car; wild dogs lounged in the sand of a dry riverbed; a huge herd of buffalos frolicked in a muddy pool; a bale of terrapins floated on a hippo; a leopard stood watch in a nearby tree.

All of the following images were taken with my f2.8 70-200mm lens, and processed using Lightroom and/or Silver Efex Pro 2.