Monday, March 16, 2015

Light Slashes As Lead In Lines In Photoshop

I've shown today's image to a couple friends and the reaction has been "nice composite".  The problem is --- it's not a composite.  It's the way it was actually taken. There was a guy walking up along the crest of the rocks.  The clouds were moving by at a pretty fast clip and the rocks at Pemiquid Light are that fantastic. You can find any shade of gray you'd like and the shades repeat and repeat.  The out building are painted the color red that you'd pick if you were creating a set for photography.  You can plant your tripod at any degree of a complete circle and get a good shot.  If you're travelling on Route 1 up the Maine coast you need to make Pemiquid one of your "must see" (must photograph) stops.  Stay at the Pemiquid Hotel and eat at Shaw's Wharf.  You'll have your dinner, sunset/night shoot, night's rest and sunrise shoot all laid out in front of you.  We've done it a couple times and it's a photographer's dream.  The hotel is a hundred yards from the gate of the lighthouse grounds and the lighthouse is a hundred yards past that.  To get to the site of today's image is another hundred yards past that.  You can definitely walk it, but if you have a truck full of gear like I do, you might want to bring the car down to the parking area and save yourself some huffing and puffing if you've left anything in the car.  If you're a frequent reader you probably know I can't leave well enough alone.  To see what was done to today's image, hit the "Read More".

As I said, the sky is the sky that was there.  It's not for lack of trying.  If you look closely at the sky (over to the left) you'll see the remains of some Spot Removal Brush work.  I had just shot the crashing waves in the opposite direction from the lighthouse.  I guess I was a little close to the action.  When I opened the shots looking back toward the lighthouse I saw that I had some (a lot) of drops of mist on the filter that I didn't see at the time of the shoot.  When I saw them my first thought was to replace the sky.  The problem is that the difference between the blue of the sky and the gray of the rocks is about zero.  I tried Adobe Photoshop (PS) Quick Selection Tool (W), Quick Mask (Q), Calculations (Edit/Calculations), and Color Range (Select/Color Range).  Nik's Remask 4, On1's Perfect Layers and everything else I could think of.  I think the Masking techniques I know have met their match.  So, I went with the PS Healing Brush and at least mitigated the spots.

I did add a soft Brush (B) pop of yellow to make it look like the lightkeeper was carrying a lantern and another pop (this time red) to light the lamp in he lighthouse tower.  The tower, house and out buildings were brightened to bring them some attention. The keeper was brightened to make him stand out from the sky.

In order to guide the viewer's eye through the image I put in four slashes of light.  Think of them as being at 3, 5, 7, and 9 o'clock with the lighthouse being the center of the clock.  They work because of the variations in the rocks.  Relook at the image (enlarged).  Now that I've pointed them out you should be able to pick them out.  The slashes are just soft Brush (B) lines of light gray with the Blend Mode changed to Soft Light.

The big deal with today's image is that all the work done was done to be very subtle.  I don't always have to knock you over the head to make an image.  Occasionally I use a soft touch.