Composites…Real, Surreal? Who Knows, Who Cares?
May 9, 2016 § 2 Comments
I was watching a tutorial by a well know nature/travel photographer this past weekend when I noticed a shot of his that had this beautiful cloud formation. The shape, color, and texture of the cloud formation in his image was a perfect match for one of my own. I guess if you spend your life shooting outdoors, you’ll have all kinds of beautiful clouds and sky images. I have hundreds of every type of sky/cloud images imaginable in my files. Anyhow, once I found my cloud image…the one that resembled his, I decided to play around with it. All I needed was to find some subject matter to composite with my cloud image. I found an image I had used before in a very early version of my portfolio…sailboats in the Rockport, Maine harbor. I had spent time in ’85 and ’86 at The Maine Photographic Workshops. I loved the peacefulness of this one area, and would walk over and shoot the same quiet, peaceful harbor everyday. The clouds were shot from my own backyard. Some of my favorite cloud images are from my trips to Wyoming, but in recent years, I’ve found that you can get images like this anywhere, you just have to be ready for when they appear. So anyhow, I have my sailboats and my clouds. I desaturated the sailboat image, and using curves, I increased the contrast, so I was left with a very stark b&w. I dragged the sailboats on top of the cloud layer, set the blend mode in Photoshop to “multiply”, played with the opacity slider and then added a mask so I could brush out the red that was over my dark boats. On two versions, I created a second layer, flipped it horizontally, dragged it down far enough that it was a mirror image…like a reflection. On one, I added some filters to make it look more like a reflection and less like a mirrored image. On the other, I set the blend mode to “screen” and brushed it in so as to be lighter on the bottom. The 3rd image was where I just dragged the sailboats onto the cloud layer and left it “floating” there…more “surreal” than “real”. You could argue that not one of these three images are “real”, but my answer to that is “so what…if I like what I have, and it’s personal work, then I’m fine with it”. I’m including the original sailboat image, and the original sky/cloud image, both of which are nice enough to stand on their own.
As always, if you have any questions, please ask, and again, thanks for looking.