Composite Images

Give Me Shelter from the Storm

lightning

This is a composite image that is the result of blending five photos together.

For each file I made basic adjustments and reduced noise and chromatic aberrations in Adobe Camera Raw before opening them as layers in Photoshop. I aligned all of the layers and then changed the blending mode of each of them except the bottom one to “lighten.” Using the lighten mode allows only the brightest portions of the layers below to show through. I also added curves and hue/saturation adjustment layers.

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Chrome Selfie

IMG_5721_2

 

Here’s one more shot from Sunday’s airshow at the Colorado Springs airport. That’s me reflected in the middle.

With Adobe Camera Raw I made basic adjustments, then used the HSL tool to make two different versions. The first version had the reds and oranges taken out because there were some orange construction barriers behind me that were reflected in the prop. They are barely noticeable with the color removed from them. Because I removed those colors in the first version, the brown in the cowling disappeared, so I added those colors back to make the second version. I placed both versions on separate layers in Photoshop and masked in the brown of the cowling, leaving the reds and oranges out of the prop.

 

My Eyes Have Seen You

IMG_5509_pod

I was in an Alfred Hitchcock kind of mood when I created this composite. It’s a combination of an abstract image taken at a junkyard and the portrait of a businessman.

In Adobe Camera Raw I made basic adjustments and adjusted the color with the HSL tool. In Photoshop I used masking to allow the eyes from the portrait to come through. I then selected one of the paint lines with the quick selection brush and placed it below each eye using the multiply blend mode.

Alas, Poor Yorick

Alas, Poor Yorick

This is Yorick. He is a foam skull I bought as a prop from a Halloween store for the cemetery shoot with Tina (https://michaeljpach.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/halloweena/). I took photos of him and the other fake bones I bought to make graphics for a slideshow I made with Tina’s images.

I did some basic adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw and then cleaned up some blemishes with the Clone Stamp and Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop. I then cut out the background and placed Yorick on top of a moon photo I got from http://www.nasa.gov to create the graphic. I turned the opacity down to 70% on Yorick’s image so some of the details of the moon would show through.

Here is a link to the slideshow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1_BidCNpJA

Focus Stacking

Focus stacking is the process of taking photos of a subject at various focus points and stitching them together to create an image with a depth of field that usually isn’t attainable through “normal” means. The resulting images are sharp throughout the entire focus area. This method is great for macro and food photos since these types of photography generally create images with a very shallow depth of field.

The top image is a single photo taken with my Tamron 90mm macro lens with an aperture setting of f8. As you can see, the focus is sharp on the front of the image, but the depth of field falls off quickly.

The bottom image has been created by stacking 10 photos together in a program called Helicon Focus. I used Helicon Remote to set the front and back focus points. The program determines how many shots you need in between both points and automatically focuses the lens and snaps the pictures. Helicon Focus stacks the files together, using only the information from each that is in focus. Photoshop can do the same type of stacking, but Helicon Focus does it much better.

If you want to learn more, am conducting a focus-stacking workshop on Thursday, April 17, 2014 (http://www.meetup.com/cplg_cos/events/175954482/). I am also a Helicon Focus reseller, so if you’re interested in purchasing this software, you can do so by following this link: http://www.adventurecamphoto.com/helicon.htm . A free trial of Helicon Focus and Helicon Remote can be downloaded at http://www.heliconsoft.com/software-downloads/

 

Watch This!

Watch This!

OK boys and girls, I’m going to tell you about a really fun photography technique called “focus stacking.” Focus stacking is the process of taking photos of a subject at various focus points and stitching them together to create an image with a depth of field that usually isn’t attainable through “normal” means. The resulting images are sharp throughout the entire focus area. This method is great for macro and food photos since these types of photography generally create images with a very shallow depth of field.

The top image is a single photo taken with my Tamron 90mm macro lens with an aperture setting of f8. As you can see, the focus is sharp on the front of the chain and the watch, but the depth of field falls off quickly.

The bottom image has been created by stacking 14 photos together in a program called Helicon Focus. I manually changed the focus of each image, concentrating on one area of the subject. I changed the image to black and white in Photoshop.

Helicon also makes a program called Helicon Remote that after setting your forward and rear focus points, calculates how many images need to be taken between those two points based on your lens’ optics, and automatically adjusts and triggers your camera while tethered to a laptop or Android phone. Helicon Focus then stacks the files together, using only the information from each that is in focus. Photoshop can do the same type of stacking, but Helicon Focus does it much better.

If you want to learn more, am conducting a focus-stacking workshop on Thursday, April 17, 2014 (http://www.meetup.com/cplg_cos/events/175954482/). I am also a Helicon Focus reseller, so if you’re interested in purchasing this software, you can do so by following this link: http://www.adventurecamphoto.com/helicon.htm . A free trial of Helicon Focus and Helicon Remote can be downloaded at http://www.heliconsoft.com/software-downloads/

The Ladybug

The Ladybug

There is an interesting story behind this photo. It was taken at the site of a 737 crash that occurred in Security-Widefield, CO in 1991 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_585). I was there with some paranormal investigators to check for anything unusual.

Everyone there had the same experience. Once we walked onto the grass, we all felt a heaviness in your chests and got headaches. The symptoms would go away as soon as you stepped off the grass and onto the sidewalk. Now either we were experiencing some form of residual energy, or they were using some nasty chemicals on the grass.

There was an enormous number of ladybugs in the grass and on the dandelions in this field, so I decided to have some fun with my macro lens. I use a photo from this shoot in my Photoshop class to demonstrate how to create an image where everything is black and white except for one portion of it. In this case, it’s the ladybug.

This image is actually a composite of the dandelions combined with the ladybug from the photo I use in my class. There was a ladybug in the dandelion photo, but I removed it with the Clone Stamp because I didn’t like it’s position. I selected and copied the ladybug from the one photo and pasted it onto the other as a separate layer. I also added a tiny bit of drop shadow to the ladybug to make the image look more realistic. Most of the editing on both photos was done in Adobe Camera Raw. I worked with the Clone Stamp, layers and black & white tool in Photoshop.

The Purple Bicycle

The Purple Bicycle

The folder in my archives that this photo comes from contains shots I took while wandering around Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs, looking for interesting places to use as backdrops for portraits. This is a bicycle sculpture in Manitou Springs.

I first opened this photo in Adobe Camera Raw where I lightened the shadows to help separate the bike from the background, and I used the HSL tab to desaturate all of the colors except purple and magenta. I used the the Color Range tool and Quick Mask Mode in Photoshop to select the bicycle on one layer. I used the Quick Selection tool and Quick Mask Mode to select the shadow on another layer. I made both selections into masks and refined their edges. I cut out everything from the layers except for the bicycle and shadow. I then added a new layer and gradient behind the bike and the shadow.

The Feather Bonnet and the Tenor Drum

The Feather Bonnet and the Tenor Drum

I had a hard time deciding which photo to choose from this folder in my archives, so I decided to make this fun composite.

That is a photo of me when I used to play tenor drum for the Pikes Peak Highlanders. And no, that is not my hair nor the real shape of my head. I am wearing what’s called a feather bonnet, which was part of our formal uniform. It sounds like something reserved for ladies going to Easter mass, but a bonnet is essentially a hat with a chin strap, and this one happened to be made with ostrich feathers. Ostrich feathers are pretty cool unless you get them in your eyes and mouth while marching in a parade. The bonnet had a compartment in the top that was used to stow your glengarry (the other hat we wore), but I guess you could use it to stash your snacks or your parrot.

The portrait was taken in my living room with my Alien Bees strobes in front of a white wall. I was pretending to be a monkey scratching his head. I made basic adjustments to this image in Adobe Camera Raw and then opened it in Photoshop where I worked on cutting out the background. I used the quick select tool to make the major selection, the color range tool to pick up the stray feathers and the quick mask mode to refine the selection. I used the refine selection tool and adjusted the radius and the feather then cut out the background.

For the tenor drum photo, I placed the drum on top of one of the strobes to illuminate the skin and give it a nice glow. That image was placed in a layer behind the photo of me, and the canvas was expanded so I could show the edge of the drum and the name on the skin. I then used the color picker to select the color of the drum skin at the bottom of the image and filled in the bottom of the layer with that color using the paint bucket tool.