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