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:

 

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.

Giselle Ballet – Final Dress Rehearsal

A few weeks ago, Joburg Ballet invited people to photograph the final dress rehearsal of the Giselle Ballet, for a small fee.  It was an amazing opportunity; Giselle is an extraordinary ballet telling the moving story of a young girl who dies of a broken heart.

I finally managed to finish sorting and editing the images a week ago, on the way to a well-needed getaway to the Kruger (see images soon!).

The first act occurs on a sunny autumn morning during the Middle Ages; the season was reflected in the red and orange leaves decorating the set.  The strobes cast a horrible colour cast on the dancer’s skin, which I corrected with Google’s Color Efex 4 Pro software.    I also enjoyed playing around with Google’s Analog Efex Pro 2 software for interesting artsy effects.

Act I ended with a dramatic portrayal of Giselle’s death; after discovering that her lover is engaged to marry another woman, Giselle dances violently until her heart gives out.

Act II took place in a misty graveyard, with a strong blue colour-cast.  A group of avenging, supernatural woman (‘The Wilis’) summon Giselle from her grave, and attempt to sentence her lover to death over his betrayal.  Giselle’s enduring love overcomes the Wilis’ hatred; she saves her lover before returning to her grave for good.

My fine art renditions of the dancers from Act II ended up being my favourite images of the day (actually, I think my favourites of the year so far).  I edited most of the photos in Google’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and Analog Efex Pro 2 software, along with my usual Lightroom workflow.

my blog

One Photo Focus – April 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.

My computer had a bit of a moment while processing this image – as hard as it tried, my multi-tasking eventually got the better of it. As I was about to save my edit in Photoshop, it froze.  I lost hours of careful editing, but managed to take a screenshot before everything closed down; so, in the end, disaster averted!  The screenshot managed to retain enough information for me to complete my edit.

Immediately when I saw the image I knew I wanted to create a wintry scene; snow, fog, the works.  I found this tutorial on YouTube which basically dictated my Photoshop workflow.

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Close, but not quite yet what I was aiming for.  So, I opened it up in Analog Efex Pro 2 (did you know that Google’s entire Nik collection can now be downloaded for free?!).  I’ve never used any of the Nik software before, so a fair amount of experimentation ensued.  In the end, I added light leaks, a scratched texture, a bit of bokeh and a white vignette which amplified the overall aged effect.

Once again, the before vs the after:

I hope you enjoyed my edit!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the end result. Images from other contributors can be seen here.

 

 

One Photo Focus – November 2015

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.  I skipped October’s image (while I was busy studying for my exams) but this month I decided to give it another go.

This month the photo was submitted by Helen Chen of HHC Blog:

I decided to create a halloween-themed image, with skulls, fog and spider webs.

  1. I opened the image up in Photoshop and reduced contrast in Camera Raw, specifically trying to remove the dappled highlights in an attempt to give the illusion that the photo was taken at night.

2. I added several skulls – which I had downloaded off the internet – using the Lighten blend mode. This means that only their lightest areas were shown (I found that this made the skulls look more authentic).

3. I added some ‘creeping mist’ by adding a new layer, clicking on Filter>Render>Clouds and hiding most of the layer behind a layer mask. For this layer I used the Screen blend mode.

4. I felt the inside of the doorway and the mist were in need of some texture, so I downloaded a cobwebs texture off the internet.

Cmd+t was used to fit it to inside the doorway and along the mist. The layer was blended using Lighten.

5. Inside CameraRaw, I converted the image to monochrome and increased the contrast and clarity.

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6. I duplicated this layer, selected the corners (using the Elliptical Marquee Tool and then inverting the selection) and applied a layer mask to ensure that only the outer edge was visible.  Then I applied a Gaussian blur filter and a CameraRaw adjustment which darkened the visible areas; this resulted in a heavy, blurred vignette.

7. I added some final Lightroom adjustments.

Once again, the before vs the after:

I hope you enjoyed my edit!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the end result.

One Photo Focus – September 2015

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.  This is my second time participating.

This week the photo was submitted by Ben Rowe, from Aperture64.

I can’t remember my exact editing process, but this is the gist of it.

  1. I opened the image in Photoshop and duplicated the background image.  Then I applied a Gaussian blur filter to the copy.
  2. I selected the sky (Select > Colour range > Highlights), copied the selection into a new layer, converted it to a Smart Object, and added a Camera Raw filter to darken the sky.
  3. To create the water droplets, I opened a rainy texture, which I downloaded off the internet, into the Photoshop document. I changed the blend mode of the rain to Lighten, and decreased the opacity.

4. I created a new layer, and added a cloudy filter (Filter > Render > Clouds).

5. In order to create the streaks, I downloaded a streaky texture off the internet:

With the blacks selected, I created a layer mask on the layer with the cloud filter.  (Therefore rendering only the cloud in the selection visible.)

6. Then, I added a layer mask to the water droplets and painted black over the position of the castle.  I selected the black in the layer mask, and added a layer mask to the background copy layer.  I painted over a part of the cloud’s layer mask, removing some of the streaks in front of the castle.

7. Finally I opened the image in Lightroom, and performed basic adjustments on it, including reducing the saturation.

Once again, the before vs the after:

I hope you enjoyed my edit!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the end result.

One Photo Focus – August

After weeks (months?) of admiring the images at Stacy Fischer’s After-Before Friday, I finally persuaded myself that I should join in.  For those of you who don’t know, 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.

This week the photo was submitted by Katie Prior, from Drawing with Light.

1. I opened up the image in Photoshop, and removed the people using the spot-heal tool.

Step 1

2. I replaced the sky using one of my own images which I took on a stormy day.

Step 2

3. In order to blend the rest of the image with the sky, I opened it up in Camera Raw, darkened the image, and increased clarity and contrast.  I also added a gradient, to selectively darken the mountains.

4. I then added a rainbow.  To do this, I created a new layer, and added a gradient (“Russell’s rainbow”, found under Presets > special effects). I used free transform (Ctrl+t) to move the gradient until I was happy with its position.

Screenshot (1588)

5. As I didn’t want the rainbow to cover the entire length of the image, I added a layer mask, and, with the Foreground Colour set to black, I painted out the unwanted areas.  To reduce the strength of the effect, I changed the layer’s blend mode to ‘screen’ and reduced the opacity of the layer.

6. Finally, I made some basic adjustments in Lightroom; decreasing the highlights and blacks, and increasing clarity and the whites.  I also added a selective adjustment to parts of the pier, and added a vignette to the edges.

Once again, the before vs the after:

I hope you enjoyed my edit!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the end result.