Sundowners

The Kruger’s Wilderness Trails include a daily morning hike and a shorter evening walk or sundowner.  After a tiring morning, our group opted for sundowners the first evening.  Our guides drove us to a tranquil viewpoint, from which we could enjoy the sunset over one of the few rivers which have survived the drought.

Nyalaland Wilderness Trail

In September we visited the Nyalaland Wilderness Trail, an isolated tented camp near Punda Maria Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park. The camp was in a beautiful and serene setting, overlooking a lovely river. A must-do for any reasonably fit nature lovers… who don’t mind a couple of days without electricity or running water!

Sunsets from Suikerbos

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.

I took these sunset / blue hour shots from the balcony of our cottage.  We had a stunning view over the sun catching the clouds at sunset every evening.

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If you missed my first post from our trip, you can see it here.

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.

 

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.

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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.

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

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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