Tuesday, November 24, 2015

An old dog learns new tricks

Thanks for your votes on yesterday's blog post, and especially for the idea of using the second image as a Christmas card.  Your idea has prompted me to look at some of my other photos from which I can create wintry or Christmassy images.  In fact, given some other skills I've been working on, I could create an image in which Mitzi is added to a snow scene from years ago,  and then enhance the image further with special effects like those used on the eagle photo.  Or maybe I could even take a whole bunch of my photos of animals, place them in a photo of a barn or stable, and make my very own nativity scene.  It's possible, though I'm not sure I'm that ambitious!

I generally don't do much to my photos when I edit, other than to choose which images are well composed or would make the best story, correct overexposed or underexposed images, occasionally enhance the colour if the photographic image doesn't match what my eyes saw, and add my watermark.  To me, that is all part of digital photography.  Where it crosses the line into the creative arts, however, is when I create scenes that never existed, either by combining several images into one, or by using special effects that go beyond mere enhancement.  The second eagle image yesterday demonstrated the use of special effects.  But did you know that one of the images I used two posts ago was digitally created from five photos?  Yes, five!

Remember this image?

The above image never happened.  Well, I did see numerous red winged blackbirds on my fence that day, but every time I tried to get a group shot, most flew away.  When I uploaded the individual shots, however,  I loved some of the postures - the blackbird strutting forward with one leg on one fence board, one on another, for example.

Most of the five shots I used for the composite were far from perfect - crooked, or distant, or partially out of focus. Here's what the other four original images looked like, after a bit of straightening and cropping, which are the first couple of steps in the process:

Then I straightened some more,  cropped some more, and using the last photo as the base, added each of the other images one at a time as multiple overlays, carefully zooming and shifting to match up the tops and sides of the fence boards, erasing parts of the overlay that I didn't want, and adjusting colours where the exposure differed, until I had what looked like four birds walking on the top of the fence while another fluttered onto the cone below. A little more tweaking to sharpen and clarify the image and - presto - a photo of something that never happened!  

Then I added a frame (just because I can) and a watermark (to discourage people from stealing it and selling it as their own), and posted it on the blog without a word about my deception. I'm sure those who are skilled with photoshop do this all the time and are wondering what the big deal is, but I'm kinda tickled that I've learned to do this despite my limited computer skills.  

I think this old dog can still learn new tricks! 

Fooled ya!  Or did I?


Ellen Nickerson said...

You always make me smile.

Black Jack's Carol said...

Wow! That's pretty neat, Jean! Way ahead of my editing skills. Looks like fun!

Marie said...

Well, you certainly fooled me! Isn't that amazing what you can do on the computer with some knowledge. Do you think you could take a picture of me and erase the wrinkles????? That would really be a challenging job. lol
Thanks for telling us about this, I found it very interesting.

CarolineA said...

yup, totally fooled. That was a really neat trick

Jean said...

Marie! Yes, I can take a picture of you and erase the wrinkles - there's an app for that! (hahahaha) - and it's easy to use. There's also one for losing weight, adding weight, nip and tucks, eye brighteners etc etc etc. I haven't tried most of the ones meant for 'improving' humans (and that is a whole 'nother post - don't get me started!) because I seldom take photos of people. When I do, it is usually of seniors' faces, and the wrinkles are part of what makes the portrait beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Love it my talented 'old dog' friend.


Marie said...

Wow,Jean, that’s awesome. ..we'll have to ponder that, great things are possible, lol