Last month I took part in the One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me. This is a photo processing project whereby you select an image to work on and edit it in four different ways over four weeks, posting one processed image with explanations each week. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with other participants. We provided feedback, encouragement, suggestions to each other and I got a lot from the exercise. It is a great way to learn about photo processing, improve my skills and experiment. So I decided to participate again in December.
This month I want to focus on a special image: a white tern, photographed last year at Elizabeth Reef in the middle of the Tasman Sea, some 650kms off the Australian East Coast. It is quite fitting, since we are aiming to go back there for this year’s sailing adventure.
You cannot get much further away from civilization, yet this little tern befriended us, greeting us as we arrived at the reef from Lord Howe Island. It flew around our boat for a long time, then settled on the cabin’s roof, totally unafraid of us. The next day it stayed on our deck with its mate for hours as we were sailing back to the mainland. We felt extremely privileged.
The picture I took of our feathered friend is one of my favourite bird photos. The white tern’s plumage is exquisite. I feel there is nothing I need to do to refine the image. What I really wish to achieve is to give the image an artistic feel. I will learn along the way and I will relish admiring this little bird, and spending the next four weeks in its company. I hope you do too.
Here is the original image:
Processing Week 1: “Flying in company”
Ping back to Robyn’s blog for December Week 1
At first there was one tern, but then she brought all her friends. We were delighted to be surrounded by those little fairies… till we found their calling cards on the deck! But they were too beautiful to mind!
So for this image manipulation, I am re-creating the appearance of multiple terns in the sky and their translucent wings.
Here are the steps I have followed, using Photoshop Elements 9:
- Cropped the photograph into a square;
- Created duplicate layers, each with a subtle embossed image of the tern, using the filter/stylise/emboss tool. I chose embossing to replicate the translucent appearance of the wings;
- Set the embossing at an amount of 150%, an angle of -130° , and a height of 12 pixels (out of a possible 99), then merged it into the background image. I experimented with different settings as I wanted the embossing to be noticeable, but discreet;
- For each layer, altered the size, placement and orientation of the embossed bird;
- Combined and flattened the layers.
I think I now understand a bit better how layers work!
I’d love to hear what you think of this treatment.
To see other participants’ projects, click here.