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.

 

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 – 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.

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.

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.