Monday, August 19, 2013

Playing around with Photoshop

Over the weekend while testing some photo equipment for a blog post I am doing tomorrow, I happened upon this replica of a Spanish Galleon moored on the Hudson River near the Itrepid Museum. The day was overcast and dull, and the scene where the ship was moored was too modern and a bit boring, but I grabbed some shots anyway, figuring I would play with them later on in Photoshop. 

I have spent most of my professional career wishing for bright, sunny days in which to photograph. Lately, I have been preferring to work with overcast days or inclement weather conditions because the final images turn out to be more interesting.

This is the original scene of the Galleon moored to the dock. I loved the complex look of the ship's rigging, but the overall scene was completely dull and uninteresting.
The first version I did was to tighten up the shot so the pattern of rigging formed the main composition. Next, I converted it to a deep black and white in Photoshop.
For this version, I applied a wet plate look from one of the the vintage look plug-ins that comes with Alien Skin's Exposure 5 software.
Here I allowed the moody, overcast sky to play a dominant role by darkening it and giving it a warm tone. Next I softened the image and added the vignette.
For my final version I decided to brighten the scene up and make it look like a sunset or sunrise reminiscent of an old Turner nautical painting. I did this by adding several star burst layers made on black, and changing their layer mode to "Screen". I also added a warming filter in Photoshop, cleaned up the horizon, removed all traces of anything modern from the scene -- for instance, there was a bicycle parked on the lower deck and a few other things that needed to be eliminated. I then softened the image a bit by duplicating the layer, applied a heavy Gaussian Blur to it, and changed its layer mode to "Overlay".
I also took a lot of detail shots of the rigging, one of which will be in my blog post review tomorrow. The original photos were taken with a Fuji X-Pro1 with Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lenses attached via a Metabones Speed Booster that I am reviewing for tomorrow's blog post.

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