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.

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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.

 

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 – February 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.

It’s been a while since I’ve taken part, but I hope to be more consistent this year.

1/ First off, I cropped the image and filled in extra sky with Edit > Fill > Content Aware.  Then I added a Camera Raw Filter to darken the exposure and remove the highlight spot in the sky, which was produced by the sun.Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 1.45.56 PM-2

2/ Something was still missing, so I added a moon.Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 1.46.36 PM-3

3/ To create the illusion that the moon was behind the sails, I duplicated the lower layer, changed the blend mode of the duplicate to Darken, and added a layer mask.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 1.47.11 PM-44/ I merged all of my layers and applied a Camera Raw Filter to increase contrast and clarity, convert to black and white, and add a blue tint.

5/ Finally I tweaked a couple of things in Lightroom and added a vignette.

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.

Chobe – Landscapes

My family and I recently went to the Ichingo Chobe River Lodge for a week; we stayed on the Namibian border and went on a cruise up the river every morning and evening.

I have so many decent photos from the trip that I decided to split the posts into categories (in conjunction with my blogging revolution to write shorter posts). These are some of my best landscapes.

Apart from the last image, all of these photos were taken using my 70-200mm lens; most are photo-merges.

Chobe – Mini-Planets

My family and I recently went to the Ichingo Chobe River Lodge for a week; we stayed on the Namibian border and went on a cruise up the river every morning and evening.

I have so many decent photos from the trip that I decided to split the posts into categories (in conjunction with my blogging revolution to write shorter posts).  Before we left I read an article on 500px ISO about How To Turn Your Panorama Photos Into 360-Degree Little Planet Images; these images are the before and afters of two of my panoramas which successfully underwent the process. Out of the four or five panoramas which I tried, these were the only two which were able to blend seamlessly.

 

Project 365: Week 52

I hope everyone is having a good holiday! Personally I had a wonderful but tiring Christmas – I’m writing this in my first free moment since Christmas Eve!

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Monday, 21 December

Matryoshka – These are three of a collection of Russian nesting dolls, which I photographed individually and merged in Photoshop.

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Tuesday, 22 December

Cat Pig in the Hat – This is a high-key version of Rusty’s Santa piggy, this time involving Charlie.

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Wednesday, 23 December

Jingle Bells – This is a Christmas decoration which I shot on our Christmas tree, backlit by fairy lights.  The lights shining through the frosted glass created a beautiful soft, golden effect.

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Thursday, 24 December

The little saxophone boy – This is another of our Christmas decorations.  I lit it with my flash – with an orange gel on – which I bounced off a nearby wall.

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Friday, 25 December

Rosy – This is my sister, who is staying with us for the holidays.  I used a slightly high angle, and my flash-umbrella set-up from camera-left.

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Saturday, 26 December

Seeing stars – This is based on a photo I saw on 500px, When You Wish Upon a Star by Magdalena Ginalska.  I took three photos, cut a star out of the one, and positioned them until I was happy.

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Sunday, 27 December

Tiers of the sun – This is one of the sunflowers which we used as a centre-piece at our Christmas table.  My flash was placed behind the flower, creating some beautiful, backlit layers of petals and sepals.

Enjoy the rest of your New Year’s Eve! As always I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on my images.

Project 365: Week 49

I cannot believe that it’s December already! Only three weeks to go! I didn’t decide on a theme this week – my creative juices seem to be evaporating in the heat.

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Monday, 30 November

Bolt – this is an abstract impression of my beagle, Romulus.  I set my camera to a relatively slow shutter speed, and panned while Romulus ran past.

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Tuesday, 01 December

Witch’s brew – this was my amateur-version of Dina Belenko’s style; she’s one of my favourite photographers, and someone I have long admired.

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Wednesday, 02 December

911 – I had a lot of fun with this image’s special effects – I created my own mini fog machine by following this tutorial. I added the headlights and police lights to the car in Photoshop.

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Thursday, 03 December

Make a wish… – I lit this dandelion seed with flash reflected off the wall behind it.  I used the reverse-macro technique to get in close.

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Friday, 04 December

Dying wishes – this is a montage created in Photoshop, consisting of a duplicated texture and a dead dandelion seed.

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Saturday, 05 December

Teddy – I helped out with Animal Allies again on Saturday, this time at Zandspruit township.  The majority of the dogs were tiny puppies, some of which were young enough to still be drinking from their mothers – it broke my heart to see the awful conditions they live in.

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Sunday, 06 December

Ghost’s breath – This is the first image I’ve taken in a while where I was absolutely delighted with the outcome.  I positioned a candle in front of an unlit match, which spewed smoke, and then lit the image with back-flash.

Enjoy the rest of your week! I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on my images.

Project 365: Week 46

I’m am thrilled to report that my wi-fi is finally working, after a fairly horrible week! Last week I photographed a series of abstract images, some of which incorporated Photoshop skills I learned (or remembered) the previous week.

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Sunday, 08 November

Black blade – this was one of those wonderful times when I looked down at the screen of my camera and was delightfully astonished, as the image was so different to what I saw in front of me. This is actually part of a feather, which I was playing around with to test different compositions.  I used reverse-macro.

Monday, 09 November

Pages –  this didn’t come out quite as planned, but I was happy anyway. The photo is a macro (I used the reverse-macro technique) of the pages of a book, lit by bounce flash.

Tuesday, 10 November

Wind – this is actually a montage of a couple of photos. I positioned them in photoshop and used various blend modes to change contrast and colour.  I was actually really happy with the final result.

Wednesday, 11 November

The Golden Whorl – as you can probably guess, this is a shell which was lit by bounce flash.  I used reverse-macro to get in close.

Thursday, 12 November

Clarity in chaos – this is another montage of two images, one of zoom blur (I took a photo with a relatively low shutter speed and zoomed out during the exposure) and the other of a focused trio of leaves.  I positioned the leaf trio in the middle of the zoom, played with blend modes, and voila!

Friday, 13 November

Lettuce – this was taken with my usual 18-55mm lens, from above. My flash was bounced off the wall to the side.

Saturday, 14 November

Apples in a row – I really tried to focus on the composition in this image, and I think I succeeded. (Confession: we only had three apples.)

Sunday, 15 November

Delirium – I’m not sure if I actually like this image or not – it’s one of those very subjective photos that people either love or hate.  I took it by shooting through my bathroom skylight (and yes, it involved lying on the floor next to the toilet – don’t judge).

Apologies for the belated post! I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Project 365: Week 45

I had a lot of fun playing around with Photoshop this week; my theme centred around surreal composite images, with the majority of their creation done in post-production.

Sunday, 01 November

Pacific sunset – this is actually only two images; one of the sky (which I duplicated four times to create a vertically symmetrical image and its reflection) and another of the boat (which I duplicated and flipped to create a reflection).  A few more adjustments (warming up the white balance, decreasing the blacks, etc.) and I achieved the final result.

Monday, 02 November

Wintry snow globe – for this image I decided to test out Photoshop’s relatively new filter, ‘Render > Tree’.  This allows one to basically create a tree out of nothing, with various adjustments (the type of tree, the amount of leaves, and so on).  The globe is from a photo, the snow was created from little paintbrushes, and the background is a very blurred piece of sky from an old photo.

Tuesday, 03 November

A secret ocean – My original concept when creating this image was of peering through a keyhole to find a secret world.  To create the background, with scratches and a deep blue colour, I took a photo of a keyhole, applied the Linear Light blend mode, and positioned a blue sky beneath it. The water texture was downloaded off the internet.

Wednesday, 04 November

Eyes, anyone? – This is my belated halloween image.  I took a photo of a box full of eggs, and superimposed eyeball photos on each egg by using the warp tool, layer masks, and the Hard Light blend mode.

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Thursday, 05 November

Halloween candy – I decided to go quite gruesome with this one. I took a photo of a cue ball in my mouth, and superimposed an eyeball on top of it.  It was still looking a bit too clean, so I increased the clarity of the teeth and gums.

Friday, 06 November

Multitasking – I got the idea of this from an image on 500px, which I saw and immediately loved.  I took five photos, and merged four of them onto the fingers of the fifth.

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Saturday, 07 November

Umbrella float – this is a simple silhouette of an umbrella on top of a sky image containing many Gaussian filters.  I placed a bright, circular filter in the middle of the image, beneath the umbrella.  Then I created a shadow beneath the umbrella to make the image more authentic.

Enjoy the rest of your week!  I’d love to hear any thoughts and suggestions on my images.