Monday, September 29, 2014

Making A Scenic Image - Foreground, Middleground & Background

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!  He chortled in his joy." Or so says Lewis Carroll in Jabberwocky about happening on something that gave some measure of pleasure.  What photographer hasn't smiled when he/she comes across a scene where all the pieces just fall into place.  An interesting foreground, something to rest an eye on in the middle range and a non-boring distant view.  Something to look at in each part of an image.  Such is the case in today's image.  Or is it?  To find out, hit the "Read More".

Okay, maybe not.  There's actually three images in today's "scene".  The pond, with its far bank and quiet reflection is within our village, about a mile from our place in Connecticut  The foreground rocks are at the south edge of Jordon Pond in Acadia National Park in Maine.  The canoeist is also from Mount Desert Island, but along Route 3 before you get to the National Park.  The "big deal" is - if you can't find a scene, build one. 

The keys to building a scene is matching the shadows and color tones.  You can't have a part of the image having a blue cast and another portion going more toward red.  One of the easier methods of straightening out a misalignment of tones in an image is using Adobe Photoshop's (PS) Color Match (Image/adjustments/Color Match) function.  In the dialog box that comes up with Color Match you tell PS which image is the Source and which one you want to match.  It does a pretty good job of getting you close to where you want to go.  A little tweaking and you're there. 

The other thing to remember when you're bringing in pieces of other images into a scene is not forgetting that things in daylight produce shadows and reflections.  You can find dozens of tutorials about creating a shadow that is based on the object you import.  You can also find an equal number of lessons on making things reflect. 

My thought is a little bit different.  If something has a visible shadow or a visible reflection, bring that over as a part of your import.  There's no point reinventing the wheel (or at least the shadow or reflection of the wheel).  Many times it will create a very realistic shadow or reflection in the new scene.  A little bit of color adjustment might be needed , but not a whole lot more.

I saw online a tutorial about creating a reflection of a flower.  The original image was looking slightly down into the petals, showing the center texture.  The person demonstrating the reflection technique simply inverted (vertically) the flower, pulled it down, blurred it and applied a Gradient.  What the person didn't think of is the fact that the center of the flower wouldn't be in the reflection.  It would be masked by the petals.  The tutorialist should have asked the question "would I be able to see what I have in my reflection?"  The answer would be "no". 

Look at your "fakes".  See if what you're showing could be real.  A while back I made a night scene out of a day scene.  I put a moon in the sky and showed a light streak in a body of water.  Many people told me how nice the scene looked.  A buddy said "looks good, but your physics is wrong".  I had shown the light streak going off on an angle.  The only way to see the streak should have been coming directly into the viewer's eye.  Next time you're out at night, near a lake, pond or ocean and the moon is nice and bright, look at the streak coming at you.  You'll see what my friend meant. 

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