Sunday, February 8, 2009

Highwood High School

Back in early fall I was asked if I would be interested in taking some photos of the local high school for use on a school publication. I responded that I would be happy to do so. I got up early one chilly October morning, drove to the school and tried to find a vantage point that would yield interesting light and an uncluttered view. I dragged the garbage can that was by the front door out of the way and got ready to capture the warm morning light. I was rewarded with a beautiful, golden morning glow. I took about fifty photos from several angles and then went home to thaw out my hands and process the images.

I plan on writing a detailed post outlining my work-flow from the moment the shutter is released until the image is either uploaded to the web or made into a print, but for now, the short version. I imported the images into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, picked the best ones and then began to make modifications to the best images. First, I cropped the image to make a panoramic view and get rid of some of the flat blue sky. Next I bumped up the saturation to make the gold highlights pop, and boosted the blacks in order to increase the contrast. I was pretty happy with the overall image, but thought that it was still a little boring. Just for fun, I decided to save the image and then open it up in Gimp. Gimp is open-source (read "free") software and is very powerful. I've never used Photoshop CS3 or CS4 so I won't wade into the Gimp vs Photoshop debate, but Gimp is a credible alternative for the times when you need to "move" pixels. Once the image was open in Gimp, I selected the flat blue sky from the original photo. Once the sky was all selected, I did an inverse selection so that everything was selected except for the sky. Next I copied and pasted the school, trees, and foreground into this photo of a dramatic sky with clouds. Lastly I made some touch-ups to ensure that the edges of the building and leaves were natural looking.

Even though I was just messing around, I really like the final composite image. This was also the image chosen by the school administration for their publication. Not bad for a morning of having fun playing around with my camera and computer. I even got a $50 coffee card for my troubles. As always, click the "Comments" link to leave your 2 cents worth. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the merits of Gimp and Photoshop?

1 comment:

Paul said...

Scott - Thanks for telling how you created your photo. It looks great. The method is very helpful. =Paul

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