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.


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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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

September 2016 One Photo Focus copy


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.



Cape Recife Lighthouse

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in Port Elizabeth.

After touring SAMREC we went for a walk/shoot on the beach at Cape Recife; a nature reserve including SAMREC and the Cape Recife Lighthouse.

The beach was full of abstract patterns, textures…

…and rocks of interesting shapes and sizes.

While exploring, I discovered this section of rock covered in flies – I half expected to find a rotting body around the corner. (By the way, did you know that a group of flies is called a business?)

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about my images!

Maitland beach

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in Port Elizabeth.  After a boat cruise and late lunch on the first day, I took some shots of the sunset at Maitland beach – being the middle of winter, and fairly far south, the sun rose and set at very respectable times (these shots were taken around 5 pm).

In the middle of the beach stood a deserted lifeguard’s hut, which immediately drew my interest.

I approached the hut from multiple angles, including above. This was taken from a viewpoint next to the road.


I was pleasantly surprised to see that P.E. has a few wind farms, which are able to generate renewable electricity (though later I found out that they have severe implications to birds which migrate through those areas – so perhaps it’s not a good thing after all).  The turbines from one such farm could be seen peeking out from behind the dunes.


As always, I’d love to hear any comments and critique on my photos.

Raggy Charters boat cruise

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in Port Elizabeth.  Our first stop was the Algoa Bay Yacht Club, from which we set out on Raggy Charter’s Penguin Island Boat Cruise, from the PE harbour to St. Croix Island.


We had some incredible sightings – a plethora of sea birds, two types of whales, some seals, and a pod of bottlenose dolphins.

This is a bryde’s whale, which kept frightening the poor birds.  I really struggled to get a picture of it – it only surfaced for a couple of seconds at a time, and after resurfacing it moved to the opposite side of the boat. In the end these were my best two.

Most of the penguins were out for their daily swim, but we had some good sightings of these cormorants on the Island

All of the above images were taken using my Canon 1100D, with my 70-200mm f2.8 lens.  I’d love to hear any comments and critique on my photos.