Creating Orbs

Now that spring is just arriving in our area, it might be fun to use some of our favorite flower images and Photoshop to create orbs. First select one of your favorite flower/garden images and crop it into a square with the flower fairly centered.
orb_blog_wNext, convert the image to 8 bits. In Photoshop:  Image > Mode > 8bits

From the filter menu: Go to Distort > Polar Coordinates

When the Polar Coordinates dialogue appears, choose Polar Rectangular as the method, and click OK.

Next from the main Photoshop menu go to Image > Image Rotation > Flip Canvas Vertical

Now go back to Filter Menu:  Go to Distort > Polar Coordinates

This time in the Polar Coordinates dialogue, select Rectangular to Polar as the method, and click ok.

Viola, you have an orb.  Play with different images until you get a feel for which images work best.

Equipment & Settings:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 100-400, F5.6
Gitzo Tripod, Really Right Stuff ball head

Combining Two Images in Photoshop

Soft Focus Technique_blog_w
This image was created last weekend at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA . The goal is to combine two images in Photoshop, creating a soft ethereal feel in the finished image. From a tripod-mounted camera, the first “normal” capture was made at F8 focused sharply on the white dogwood blossoms. The second “blurry” image was made after manually adjusting focus to render the entire scene very blurry. Tip:  shoot the blurry image with the lens wide open. Shooting wide open at 5.6 ensures the amount of blurriness you see in the viewfinder is what you actually record.  Both images are processed identically in Photoshop. Next open both images and drag the blurry image on top of the sharp image while holding down the shift key, and the edges of both images will align perfectly. Then reduce the opacity of the top blurry image until you achieve the desired effect. There is not a right amount here – just whatever you like.  Have fun experimenting this spring!  Flowers, trees, and plants are perfect subjects.

Equipment & Settings:
Canon 5D Mark  III
Canon 100-400 @ F8 and F 5.6
ISO 500

Plain Skies – Post Processing – Blending & Masking

This image was captured on the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya. We’ve all had a great situation ruined by a terrible background.  The sky in the zebra image was rendered as solid white and featureless. A cloudy sky with lots of detail was dropped in, adding lots of interest. The key is to use a more detailed/interesting sky, but one matching the overcast condition of the zebra image. A little layer masking, a blend mode on the sky layer, and the image is much better.
165008_2_blog_wEquipment & Settings:
Canon IDs-Mark II
Canon 100-400 F5.6 lens @ F5.6
1/500th sec.
ISO 800
If you’re interested in capturing stunning images in Masai Mara, visit my Kenya Photo Tour page.

Using Textures

This image was captured panning with a group of Camargue horses in southern France as they ran by our workshop class. For this image a slow shutter speed was panned to capture the beauty and grace of these powerful animals. Once the image was processed traditionally, a layer mask was used to overlay a texture, creating a painterly effect. A combination of Blending Modes and selectively painting on the texture created an entirely new image.
_MG_9475_blog_wEquipment & Settings:
Canon ID Mark IV
Canon 24-105 lens at 35mm, 1/10th sec. at F22
ISO 100