A bunch of us got together for an impromptu Maui tweetup at Kama’ole Beach Park III tonight to chat and watch the sunset. This is what we saw at dusk. Aloha…
I’ve learned through years of shooting landscapes that you get some of the best stuff after storms, so I decided to set up at Keawakapu Beach in hopes that nature would display some of its magic and turn the clouds into palettes of bright colors.
I saw the sun disappear behind a huge dark cloud near the horizon and my heart sank, but I stayed in hopes that it might drop out of the bottom and at least give me a quick flare before disappearing behind the planet.
No such luck. I saw the fringes of an elaborate display of intense fiery colors behind the dark cloud, then it just fizzled out. I would have given anything to be behind the cloud during the brief show. I fired off a few shots, picked up my tripod and left. You win some, you lose some.
I downloaded the shots, picked one and posted it on my Facebook page to share with my friends with the caption, “What a Maui sunset looks like when it doesn’t cooperate…”
The resulting comment thread surprised me. What was a throwaway shot to me turned out to be moving to my friends, illustrating once again that you can fall into a rut sometimes with your expectations and forget what your work looks like to others.
What do you think?
My wife and I decided to get a dive in before Hurricane Felicia does whatever she’s going to do, and also to test our regulators, which just came back from service. It appears you can’t get more than about 6-7 years of life out of 2500 mAh Nimh batteries, as my strobes died after about 5 minutes even though they started out fully charged.
Before they died, I managed to get this Spotted Boxfish. Nothing special, but he’s cute…Of course, as luck would have it, a manta ray glided leisurely across my path and I was set up for macro… typical. We saw a zebra eel out in the sand too, which was very cool. Don’t see them out in the open like that too often.
We’re pretty concerned about the apparent drop in the fish population. I’m not sure if it’s just a perceived thing on our part, or if there’s really a difference in the numbers. Let’s hope it’s the former.
You’ve probably been there. You’re shooting an event, running around all over, trying to capture anyone and everyone, taking advantage of any impromptu group poses when you happen upon them, not really sure what you have or don’t have. Everything happens in a whirlwind, and you’re observing it all through this tiny portal on the back of your camera, and whatever shows up in your peripheral vision.
You finally get a little time to import your shots off the card, sit back and go through them, and then you see it… two great shots of two old friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time.
There’s just one problem—neither of the two shots works. One of the two people looks great in one shot, and the other looks great in the other.
Nowhere else in your pile is there a shot of these two particular subjects together, so now you’re stuck having to either deliver these as they are or trashing them.
But wait! Don’t give up yet! You can combine them into one great shot simply and quickly using Adobe Photoshop CS4 to create what’s known as a composite.
Open both photos as layers in Photoshop, or combine them as layers after opening them. If you need to fix color and tonality in Lightroom or Camera RAW, do that first. (Tip: In Lightroom, you can select both, right-click and choose “Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop…“.)
The next step is to make sure the two photos are aligned, so that all the static elements (trees, walls, etc.) line up exactly. Start by selecting both layers.
From the Edit menu “Auto-Align Layers…”.
When the Auto-Align Layers dialog box comes up, simply choose the default, which should be “Auto”, and click “OK”.
When it’s done, go to the top layer and add a layer mask. Remember—black conceals, white reveals. You want a white one, which “reveals” all of the top layer.
Set your foreground color to black and grab the Brush Tool with a soft edge, and the Opacity and Flow both set to 100%.
Start painting over the subject with the bad pose to reveal the good one in the layer underneath.
As you get into critical areas, zoom in and decrease the size of the brush for better accuracy. Take your time.
To make sure you haven’t missed anything, take a look at the mask. All the areas you want to hide should be black. If you have any white spots, check where they are in the image and paint over them if they should be hidden.
Last step is to crop and save. There you have it.
Tip: For this to work more effectively and save you time, don’t stop down the aperture too much when you’re shooting. In fact, keep it as wide open as you can unless you have a reason not to.
By keep the depth of field fairly shallow, more of the background is blurred, and you don’t have to do as much painting on the mask to blend elements together.
So, parting thought… is this cheating? I guess it’s a matter of opinion. You did have two shots with great poses of each person, just not together. In the scheme of things, that’s pretty tame in the cheating department.