Week 24

Settings: Stock photo

Set up. Following a tutorial in “Photoshop Creative” issue 127

Opinion. I’ve come to realise that not only are many of the tutorials in this publication not possible on Photoshop Elements but even the ones which supposedly are or, have Element alternative procedures, are frequently not that simple to follow. I often find myself resorting to demonstrations on “You Tube” of how to obtain similar results. Fortunately I’m spoilt for choice more often than not, many with easy to understand explanations. So it was with this week’s project. However, as with previous attempts at following tutorials, a consequence of not getting it exactly right was I learnt new, cool effects.

For example, when adding the sparkles to the image I found if I added a layer with a mid to low opacity & then an additional layer with a higher degree of opacity on top, it created a more realistic effect as the sparkles appeared to now have depth. I also blurred the sparkles more on the lower layer (filter>blur>Gaussian blur) to help this effect.

The middle picture of the three shown here was the one I was initially attempting. However, I thought it looked quite good in black & white. I also discovered the image on the right by messing around with the “hue” slider while trying to boost the colours on the original picture. In the end there was nothing left for it but to create a triptych.

Week 23

Settings: f/2.8, 1/250 second, ISO 100, 50mm prime

Set up. Find a dandelion seedhead (you may need to remove some clutter to improve the composition).

Opinion. Inspired by a post about dandelions by Pear & Bulb last month, I wanted to attempt the black & white image they’d taken. I took it hand-held before converting the image to black & white in Elements. Finally, I added a slight vignette.

Week 22

Settings: f/16, 1/200 second, ISO 100, 50mm prime

Set up. Fill a fish tank, two-thirds full & place an external flash at one end (camera left). Position a reading light shining downwards towards the middle of the tank. A remote shutter release was used to avoid camera shake. Synchronize the shutter to coincide with the lemons hitting the water. Make sure to wipe clean the glass of the tank in between each shot (a window squeegee comes in handy for this). Also, don’t forget to protect your flash from water splashes (I used a ziplock, sandwich bag simply placed over the top).

Opinion.  I enjoyed this the set up & shoot. However, the lemons in the final image aren’t really that sharp. I think my mistake was attempting this project in a room that wasn’t completely dark (or at least, the settings on the camera have to produce a black image without any flash in order to completely freeze the motion). It was still a lot of fun to do.