December 27, 2010

A "S" Curve and a Little Photoshop

I recently was down in Refugio TX vising relatives.  Refugio is a little Northeast of Corpus Christi.  It's a south texas town that I have fond memories of visiting my dad's family during the summers and winter breaks.  So I decided to break out the camera and had my dad drive me around to some of the landmarks I so fondly remember.

One of the best landmarks, in my memory, was the Refugio water tower.  It's unique and it always brought excitement to my youngster stomach as the anticipation of arrival was finally noted at it's sight and I knew then that we were just moments away from running up "Nanaw's" porch to receive awesome grandma kisses that only "Nanaw" could deliver.

I knew exactly the image I wanted to create, but it would take two pictures of the landmark at two different times of the day, dusk and sunrise.  The dusk shot was the most important and the skies were super clear and I knew this was going to be a great picture.  Here's how I put it together...


I used two programs, Phase One's Capture One 5 and Photoshop Elements 6.  For the dusk shot, I used Capture One and applied an S curve to the image.  This allowed me to boost the orange horizon colors and make the blue to black transition in the background sky a little more dramatic.  It also allowed me to make sure the silouette of the water tower stayed a silouette.


I then exported the processed image and brought it and the sunrise shot into photo shop.  For the sunrise photo shot, I used an oval cookie cutter with a 25pixel feather and cut out the morning water tower piece I wanted and brought it in as a layer into the dusk photo.  I then aligned and resized the layer with the background layer to match up the the pieces of the water tower to each other.  I then made a layer copy of  of the cookie cutter layer so I had two layers of the same (click image for full size).  You'll see what I did to the two layers below.

One the layer 1 copy, I set the blending mode to Hard Light (click image for full size)

On the Layer 1 original, I set the opacity to 54%.  I honestly don't know whay I decided to do this, but the effect was better than had I left only one layer and set it to hard light and 54%...didn't look the same.  That's why it pays to play around and try things....

Finally, I show all the layers, make sure I like the overall look and that my alignments are still cool. 

Then save it out to jpg with a watermark