Saturday, November 21, 2015

Adding Dramah With Photoshop Blend Modes

First, I know.  Drama is misspelled in the title, but there's a reason.  The shot is of Egg Rock Light in Frenchman's Bay Maine.  And "Mainer's" from down east put an upward tick of "ah" on almost any word ending a sentence. That's my justification and I'm sticking to it.  The "big question" posed by today's image is "how many shots does it take to make a dramatic image?"  Well in this case the answer would be three and it might not be the three you might think.  I'm kind of notorious for replacing uninteresting skies, but that "ain't" it.  That's the sky that was there when we were there.  It's not the lighthouse 'cause that's what I was taking a picture of.  There's a saying about once you rule everything else out the answer must be what's left, no matter how improbable that might be.  What's left, in this case, is the waves.  To find out how they got there, hit the "Read More".

The waves come from not too far from the main image.  A woman on the tour boat we were on would probably swear the water was a rough as it looks in today's image.  She claimed to have gotten seasick on the tour.  The boat was gently rocking so she must have had a very delicate stomach (or an extra glass of wine at lunch).  On the other hand (you have five fingers) the surf was crashing a little better around the bend in slightly more open water.  

Another aspect of moving the waves around the corner and a little to the east was the fact that the rocks the surf were "crashing" on were in shade.  That rendered the rocks in reasonably sharp contrast to the white splash on the breakers.  

The first issue was "developing" the three images in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR).  I was shooting in RAW.  In doing that I was assured that any image being used had to be "developed".  After that the images were selected (CTRL clicking on each image) and sent over to Adobe Photoshop (PS) (Photo/Edit In/Open as Layers in Photoshop).

Once in PS as Layers with the extra waves Layers above the base Layer (the lighthouse) it's a simple matter of switching the Blend Mode(s) to Lighten.  That drops out everything that's not lighter than the surrounding area.  In this case that's everything but the water. 

There were a couple small spots where the clouds in the sky were lighter that the waves, so a Layer Mask was added and the offending spots removed.  While I was at it there were a couple of water drops that looked a little unnatural (too high in the sky) so they were also removed.

Something like today's image is a easy "trick" if you know how Blend Modes work.  It's a good thing to play with the Blend Modes and see how they interact with your images.