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Tag : photoshop techniques

Creative Portraiture Landscapes

Photo shoots are generally in a studio and seldom have an interesting backdrop. Thus compositing. The following images bring the subjects into the great outdoors with additional elements. Approaching is my latest as of 12-09-2015. The engine was taken several years back at the railroad museum in Golden, CO. The tracks are from Loveland. The geese were from a fieldtrip at a wildlife area in east Fort Collins. The prairie is near the Badlands in South Dakota. The girl is […]

Sylvan Lake night

Sylvan Lake, located near Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, is one of those wonderful scenic spots that has probably been photographed a million times. This composite is strictly make-believe because I’m pretty sure the moon wouldn’t come up where I have it. This is what it might look like if it did.

Winter Pond

I always have an eye out for inspiration. Winter isn’t my favorite season, and actually getting out an photographing in nasty weather is a rare event for me. In the following creations I had to go through 4 years of images to come up with enough snowy trees to build the composites. Once built, it was easy enough to switch out the skies. This is my original. The clouds look like they are caught in the jet stream. There are […]

New Space Art

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken time to create in one of my favorite subjects. Space art is a place I don’t worry about getting it perfect. It’s just a matter of do I like it. Here are two new creations. The above is Northern Reflections. The aurora is a Photoshop creation. I have never actually seen them. The star field is from Heavens Reflection. The beach is Bandon Oregon. Here are a couple of rocks and a tree, plus […]

Spring Queen

Thanks to Avalon’s Inspirational at Deviant Art for the dress. I love artists that share. So this is the last of my queens. This one is ten images for the girl and five for the background. The background is the snowy range in Wyoming. My partial color blindness has apparently spilled over into the skin and hair of my Spring Queen, so with a little help they are back to a more natural color. Unfortunately, going through the desaturation process […]

Summer Queen

Yet another composite with a dozen or so elements. In this particular attempt, perhaps the over bright eyes are a dead giveaway that there is something suspicious about the face. However, these are minor fixes if for instance this was a project for a client. Skin tone and color, eye color, hair color and so on are all individual elements and are thus easily altered. The background itself is a composite consisting of six more elements. The question of course […]

Autumn Queen

This is one of those composites that took considerable work. This is certainly an image I can’t copyright because of the parts I have borrowed from the Internet. I haven’t had the opportunity to photograph fancy dresses that fit a specific theme like Queens, nor do I have crowns or scepters. I never use images that have copyrights or watermarks, but still you can’t be sure if the artist would make claim for a particular element in the off chance […]

Backview

While all of the following landscapes would stand alone, it’s always interesting adding the human element in a way that the model also seems to be enjoying the view. In the above image, the superimposed model is slightly out of proportion, but in art you do what you want. It would have been easy enough to have chopped off her feet to make her appear closer, but then those fantastic shoes wouldn’t have been visible. I could have also made […]

English Manor Composition

This time period shot is from the Fort Collins Digital Camera Club September Model shoot. Matching lighting to a composite environment is always a critical element. Our lovely model fits the period and feel perfectly. The setting is borrowed from the movie Far From the Madding Crowd.

Portrait Shoot (part 5)

Compositing allows a lot of choices, and a lot of control since everything is in layers. You can for instance blur a grainy sky and sharpen the foreground. In this case the foreground has a mosaic texture while other parts of the image are photo realistic. My model wore a hat for part of the shoot, but not this particular shot, so I borrowed the hat from another image. It’s not unusual to change the color of outfits, and I […]

Portrait Shoot (part 3)

Occasionally I do something that ends up on two of my three blogs. The cover mockups I’ve done are also on my Fiction with Foresight blog. Because I do book covers and illustrations, I felt these needed to be both places. Above is my Vogue mockup. I always hope this is as fun for the model. I have no clue what Vogue Magazine might think. So, if you do one you have to do two, right? This sexy dress cried […]

Why Composite?

At top is an image as taken along I-70 west of Green River Utah headed east. The sun was close to setting and the light was magnificent. The original shot was interesting and could have been cropped and made more vibrant, and perhaps that would have sufficed. Just above I’ve added a foreground which I shot further down the road. The edge of the road in the lower left corner wasn’t attractive so below I’ve added a bush. I could […]

Digital Space Art Hoodoo

Occasionally I look back over my landscapes to see what alien worlds I’ve skipped for my space art. This particular shot was near Page, Arizona. A cloudy day made for soft enough shadows that the image works fine transformed for night. Less brightness and more contrast make the transformation believable.

Delicate Arch Dazzle with 10 skies to choose from

Sometimes choosing the right sky is simple. Sometimes it’s not. What’s always amazing is how the sky changes the character of the image. Note this is a slightly different angle of Delicate Arch from the previous post. In image one the sunset is one of the most unusual I’ve ever photographed. In Image two is a bank of clouds topped with a thunderhead. In Image three is an unusual array of clouds in the east at sunset. In Image four […]

Vedauwoo Pronghorn with digital frame

Sometimes images just don’t look finished without a frame or border. Sometimes the border can be a thin white or black line. Typically, if I’m going to bother I want something more. Vedauwoo Pronghorn is of course a composite. The separate elements are the sky (background), the rock formations and trees (mid ground), the pond (foreground), the reflection in the pond from the mid ground, the pronghorn, and the pronghorn reflection. I saved a jpeg version of the PSD, then […]

Vedauwoo Moonrise

Yes, there was a full moon, but the one superimposed is about twice as big. This isn’t to say the real shot wasn’t impressive, just not as much. And of course because the sun hadn’t quite set, the sky wasn’t dark with stars, and there weren’t rocks for my model to stand on, so the picture has changed a little. Vedauwoo is an enchanting place in southern Wyoming for those of you who haven’t been there. It’s a favorite place […]

Vedauwoo Sunrise Photoshop Composite

Unusual skies, unusual rocks, and fields of flowers can turn an average shot into something spectacular. Vedauwoo, a popular rock climbing area in Wyoming is west of Cheyenne and east of Laramie. Off season, there is plenty of solitude.   This particular shot is about a half mile east of the main entrance. Although the original shot is interesting enough with a dirt path leading to the rocks, adding a foreground of flowers give the shot a pristine feeling. Although […]

Digital Space Art: Double Ringed Planets

Using our solar system as an example, ringed planets should be fairly common throughout the universe. Having two in close proximity is far less likely, but orbits could create some close encounters somewhere. If not, it’s still fun to speculate. Space certainly has its oddities. Double ringed planets was easy enough to execute. Duplicating the planet and rings, then sizing and changing colors is about all it took. I probably spent and equal amount of time scooting nebulas around. This […]

Digital Space Art: Placing Planets

In photography, you seldom have a choice where all the elements are placed in a photograph. Sure, you can move your camera for a different angle, or sometimes you can move your subject if it’s convenient. In space art, the choices are endless. In the following images, I have over a hundred layers, and thus an infinite number of choices as where to place things. Even my star fields are a number of layers. The series I’m currently working on […]

Digital Space Art: Arago Coast

The ocean, and coastal scenes seem to adapt well to space art. Reflections in water always add an intriguing element. Just south of Coos Bay, Oregon is Arago Park, where cliffs are eroded into other worldly features. Taking day shots and turning them into night shots doesn’t always work, especially if there are strong shadows to deal with. Fortunately it was overcast when I grabbed this shot. In compositing such images together, I strive to keep them somewhat believable. Fortunately, […]

Alien Space (beyond the known universe)

Digital Space Art is always fun, but sometimes somethings turns out beyond your expectations that may incite an unexpected reaction. Sometimes things are just bizarre. Aftermath 2 is just such an image. It’s a composite with literally hundreds of layers, and probably almost impossible to replicate no matter how talented you are at Photoshop. If I started from scratch and borrowed all the same elements from my space art library, I might come close, but I’d never get exactly the […]

Portraiture Photography with people and horses

The Rocky Mountain Lazy J bar S Ranch is a great venue for a photo shoot. This year’s emphasis was on portraiture, and although portraiture isn’t my gig, it’s always fun with exuberant participants. For me it is all about postproduction anyway. Paige Riding (above) was one of those shots where the background was full of distracting element since the shot was taken inside their outdoor arena. It’s not that it didn’t make a good shot, but with the right […]

Photographing with penlights: Orchids

Occasionally I’m faced with a challenge that doesn’t rely on Photoshop. It’s good to try techniques that yield interesting exposures. In painting with light, it’s all about creating the image by selectively lighting your subject. This shot was for the traditional category in the monthly competition at the Loveland Photographic Society. In Orchids (above), I used a small LED penlight in a dark open room, and with my camera on a tripod with a 105 mm macro lens, I set […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds of the Bisti (part 2)

The landscape in the Bisti is very neutral which actually works quite well for manipulation. Also, the sculpting shows evidence of natural water flows, which also adds character to the strange formations. In Exploring Bisti (above), I show a lone hiker gazing at a ringed planet, which is partially obscured by clouds. Multiple layers of the sky sandwich the planet to make it appear in a distant plane. To overlay just the clouds, I used color select in Photoshop on […]

Digital Space Art: Planets & Moons

If it were possible to zip around the cosmos, it would be interesting to approach planets and their moons from all different angles, just to get interesting shots. That possibility will depend upon technologies that are near impossible for us to even imagine, although it’s always fun to speculate. No doubt such shots would be awe-inspiring. The Rings (above) shows a Saturn like planet with moons that are orbiting out of the rings plane. With the sun captured in the […]

Digital Space Art: Alien Worlds (part 4)

Creating out of the ordinary images is much of the fun with space art. To believe that such places could exist is pure speculation. In art, what does it matter? Combining bluffs can make for an interesting skyline. It’s hard to imagine that night lighting would allow for such brilliance, but who is to say on an alien planet with an alien atmosphere. Adding the reflection only intensifies the feeling of an otherworldly landscape in Alien Butte 2 (above). Winter […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 10)

It’s always fun to seek out a new spot, and in Arches at 119 square miles, it’s pretty easy to do. There is probably no way to explore it all, even if you could spend most of a lifetime. Consider that Arches is just one of five National Parks in Utah, with Canyonlands encompassing more land than Arches, Zion, and Bryce combined. Capitol Reef is the other big contender at 378 square miles, just 149 square miles less than Canyonlands. […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 7)

I find it very invigorating to revisit images from most of my photo expeditions because they bring back great memories. Klondike Ridge is just one of those places I’d happily have my ashes scattered, and perhaps my spirit could be its keeper. It’s fortunate that the area didn’t yield enough uranium or some other precious element, otherwise it may have been leveled. Whenever I’m there I say my gratefuls. There is something special about this next shot in the way […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 9)

Depending upon the time of day, or if you pass up Delicate Arch altogether, your next destination will probably be Devil’s Garden. We’ll pass up Fiery Furnace because you need a permit to go there, although you may want to stop at the overview. The stretch of road to Devil’s Garden passes fields of fins, huge jutting rocks that seem to go on forever. One of my award winning photos, “Winter Sentinels” (above) was taken in the winter, and is […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 8)

Chances are if you’re in Arches, you’ll venture to Delicate Arch, although some aren’t prepared for the climb, which is slightly strenuous. Not so many years ago my daughter accompanied us on a trip, and she being a fitness nut had me running up the slickrock. Keeping fit enough to do such things is important, but age is definitely catching up with me. I’ve been there with a lot of different people, and few will crawl around the arch or […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 7)

I have walked the road from the Garden of Eden to North and South Window a number of times. I have also ventured to the west, onto the petrified dunes. There are numerous places to traverse that give the windows area a different perspective. Like most photographers, I’m always looking for something a little different. The Cove of Caves (above) is set between the Garden of Eden and Elephant Rock, with the west window of Double Arch on the far […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 6)

I find in many of my trips to the windows area, that plans take me to North and South window first, then Turret Arch, and back to the Garden of Eden for sunset. In all of my visits, I think I have only lingered at the windows twice at sunset, and of course Turret Arch is best shot at sunrise, which I have never done. Turret Arch sets alone, which makes it an oddity since the vast majority of the […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 4)

If Delicate Arch is the number one attraction in Utah, Balanced Rock isn’t far behind. Midway into Arches, the icon is only yards away from the highway. I’ve never found it all that big of an attraction, and because of its proportions, difficult to photograph. I’ve had fun in Photoshop making it topple, I’ve taken reflections shots every place I could find a puddle, I’ve been there at sunrise and sunset, and yet I’m never pleased with the results. The […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 3)

The fact that the vast majority of visitors spend just a few hours in Arches National Park is a sad commentary of the way many people vacation. If you don’t stop and ponder your surroundings, it’s a little hard to appreciate the magnificence that is there. Probably millions of people have seen the Tower of Babel, but how many have seen it glowing at sunset in the fall with the golden leaves of the cottonwoods in full splendor? Yes, there […]

Arches National Park Photo Guide: The path most traveled (part 1)

My wife and I have been visiting Moab and Arches National Park for more years than I care to mention. We’ve visited often enough that it feels like coming home every time we go there. We’ve been in Arches National Park so many times that we typically avoid the beaten path. In October of 2010 we guided a field trip with the Loveland Photographic Society, and since many of the members who attended had never been there, we revisited some […]

Reflections in Macro with Photoshop

If you look at macro shots you’ve probably seen those amazing drops of water with spherical little images floating inside them. Optics are wonderful. Getting such images directly from your camera is a challenge. An equal challenge is catching a reflection in an eye, especially of an animal that refuses to pose. Recently I visited the Lazy J bar S Ranch, a facility that boards horses and trains both hoses and riders. It’s a fun place to visit and is […]

Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 5)

M45: A blue cloud and stars; sometimes the simple can be amazing. Perhaps the most interesting feature is the halo effect that dominates the brightest stars in the nebula. Without, the image would be little more than a puff of color. Star fields and nebula have been the subject of other articles, so I’ll address the halos, which is the main feature of this image. I’m sure there are numerous ways to create facsimiles, and I have tried several. In […]

Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 4)

Unlike the Crab Nebula, the rendition of the Sombrero Galaxy (above) was produced without utilizing any pattern from the images I downloaded from the Internet. The cropped image was my model since it had more detail and color to work with (below). The full image (far below) is no doubt more like the natural exposure directly from a telescope, and in fact looks very much like the one from the Hubble site. The process I used to create this image […]

Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 3)

The Crab Nebula (Hubble image above) is a close neighbor compared to most of the objects Hubble photographs, and is also a recent event, remnants of a supernova observed and recorded in China and Japan about 1000 years ago. Small Earth bound telescopes are capable of obtaining fair shots of this phenomenon. Not owning a telescope myself, I have never photographed anything other than the moon in the night sky, so once again I turn to Photoshop to create my […]

Space Art and the Hubble Telescope (part 2)

So, here is more as promised. This is butterfly nebula as taken by the Hubble Telescope (above), and my rendition (below), which was not meant to be a duplicate in any way. Part of the fun is to try and make the spectacular even more spectacular. The outcome is debatable, although I’m somewhat partial to the more translucent effect I obtained. The process as explained in the previous nebula is similar except that I used an image I had taken […]

Space Art that rivals the Hubble Telescope

Space doesn’t always look exactly like the images taken by telescopes. Astronomers know that enhancing their images is just as important for their profession as it is for any other. Few images come straight from the camera and go undoctored. However, it is hard not to be amazed by what exists in the Cosmos, doctored or undoctored. Because few people have access to the images produced by Hubble, and because those images are of unmatched quality, if you want to […]

Enhancing images with filters in Photoshop

Mechanisms is the April monthly topic, which is not the normal sort of thing I photograph. My best selection of mechanical things are trains, since that is one of my favorite subjects after space art, landscapes and flowers. This particular set of SD 90 Mac locomotives was used to create my jacket for Harvesting Terra, but in quite a different color scheme. This blue was one of my renditions. First the locomotives: When you look at color schemes and wonder […]

Alien Lake: Multiple layered Photoshop composite

Compositing is seldom so complex or time consuming as Alien Lake. Some projects have promise and it’s difficult not to see them to fruition. The rock formations surrounding the lake are made up of three different shots from different locations, the left and center on a road trip between Green River, Utah and Capitol Reef, and the right from Castle Garden in Wyoming. Blending these shots truly created something out of the ordinary since these stark formation are so geologically […]

Winter Moon: Creating dramatic night scenes from daytime shots with Photoshop

Most road trips are in daylight hours, just to enjoy the scenery. This particular mountain range, one of many in Nevada, just happened to have a fresh dusting of snow with none on the prairie. The daytime shot was a favorite of this trip back from Oregon to Colorado, but I couldn’t resist adding some backlit clouds with the moon, and redirecting the shadows on the mountain. The end result was a surreal dreamscape that is far more unusual than […]

Mirroring skies in Photoshop

Occasionally I have a landscape that begs for an unusual sky, and although I have a great collection, I don’t always find exactly what I want. The effect created by mirroring skies can transform an image into something beyond the ordinary. Monster of the Id is one of those creations that takes on a slightly frightful and sinister appearance. The thought of seeing anything like this in nature would give me pause to say the least. The process to create […]

Playing with Smoke: Photoshop fun

Occasionally LPS (Loveland Photographic Society) has a challenge topic that inspires a little creativity. Smoke is fun, and thanks to Jim Digby, my foray into shooting smoke was relatively easy. With strobes and a black backdrop, and a few sticks of burning incense, it didn’t take long until we had well over a hundred images to choose from. That’s just the beginning. Compositing the images is what really makes it interesting. In my title image, Smoke Girl by Candlelight, several […]

Out of Frame Dragonfly

3d effects are always fun with Photoshop. Some images are already so sharp you feel like you can jump right in, but the illusion of an image extending beyond the frame adds that third dimension even if the background is blurry. With this particular dragonfly, I had already spent a painstaking few hours separating the wings and cleaning up the translucency, which was dappled from a multicolored background. This was not a task I’d wish on anyone, but it’s a […]

Corona Arch Flythrough

In October 2010 we led a group to Moab. One of our workshops started at Gold Bar campground where we took sunrise reflections of the cliffs from the bank of the Colorado River. While we were there a group with motorized paragliders took off from the parking lot and flew up and down the canyon. It was a real added bonus for our photographers. From there we hiked to Corona Arch, and if you’re into Moab lore you might have […]

Locomotives in Exotic Places

There are places in the world where rail lines pass through exotic places. I’m always interested to see how often such locations as the Glenfinnan Viaduct  or the Arten Gill Viaduct show up in films. Since I’m not planning any trips to Scotland or England in the near future, I have to manufacture my own exotic rail lines. The UP engine was shot at the Cheyenne rail yard during a fieldtrip with the Loveland Photographic Society. The landscape is west […]

Challenge: Disney Pictures Logo (part 3)

If you missed part 1 and 2, please go to older posts. The image is now taking shape. The next additions are the roads or bridges leading up to the castle on the right and left. Rather than create them from scratch, I borrowed one of the walls I had just built, then stretched and flattened it to fit the space. I used a round eraser to create the scalloped effect on the under side, and the smudge tool set […]

Challenge: Disney Pictures Logo (part 2)

If you missed part one, go to older post. Since this is a twilight shot and a representation of the Disney Logo, I added stars, which isn’t totally realistic, but this is art and adds a nice effect. I borrowed my star field from my space art. I will have details on how I make a star field in a future post, I promise. Next I added my horizon. Once again I went to my library, and in sunset shots […]

Challenge: Disney Pictures Logo (part 1)

Occasionally the Loveland Photographic Society asks members with certain skills to put on a program. For February, the challenge was to take an image submitted by another member, and alter it with your artistic interpretation in Photoshop. You of course have no idea what image you will get. For this event I had 14 images to choose from. One was a highly detailed and beautiful daytime shot of the Disney Castle at their amusement park. As soon as I saw […]

St. Malo Chapel Sunrise

St. Malo Chapel is a popular landmark to photograph that is just south of Estes Park, and is near Long’s Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park, all big attractions for tourists. Even though I live within 50 miles, I rarely drive past, especially early in the morning. This fall we had a field trip for the Loveland Photographic Society, www.lps.cc, that took me past the chapel just at sunrise. Although the chapel and reflection were spectacular, there was nothing exciting […]

To Infinity & Beyond

The Loveland Photographic Society has a monthly challenge topic for competition, February’s being Extreme Depth of Field. For most participants, the challenge will be taking multiple exposures at different focal points and blending them together in some program such as helicon focus. While fun, I’m always looking into the Photoshop bag of tricks to make something more unusual. Layers allows you that option. Although some will protest saying the challenge is to use your camera, I know that the interpretation […]

Enhance your photos with digital frames 12 easy steps

If you’re like me, my best photos are viewed on a monitor. Very few ever get printed. No doubt your computer desktop is displaying dozens of your favorite images because it’s a great way to enjoy your digital photography. Full screen viewing definitely brings you right into the picture, but it also crops the image to the aspect ratio of your monitor. Also, your folders, tool bars, icons, and other mouse-operated links can clutter your desktop, and thus your image. […]

Creating a Vision

I recently made a book trailer for my first novel, Silent Wave. I needed images representative of the storyline, which meant that most were at least partially from my imagination. When certain elements don’t exist, how do you go about creating them? In my photography I typically shoot with the idea that I will composite backgrounds, mid-grounds, and foregrounds together, so I’m used to building images in Photoshop. Some are more of a challenge than others. AMT (Advanced Metal Technologies, […]