Sharp/Soft Overlay with a Twist « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Sharp/Soft Overlay with a Twist

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This image was created from two images made with the Canon 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/60 sec. at f/5.6. Read on for the details.

On the way to the Santa Clara ranch in Starr County, TX last week we stopped to photograph the huge sunflowers in early morning light. I had long ago learned the trick of creating one sharp image of a flower and one defocused image and then laying one atop the other and playing with the opacity to produce a sort of glowing rendition of the flower. To create the image above I came up with a new twist.

The image below was my base image:

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This image was sharply focused.

This next image would be the top image:

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Before pressing the shutter button I defocused the flower. I actually made several variations to give me several choices for my soft image.

I brought both images into Photoshop. The sharp image served as the base image. While working with the soft image I hit Control A, Control J to place the entire image on a layer. Then I used the Move Tool (V) to drag the soft image layer on top of the sharp base image. I reduced the Opacity of the upper (soft) layer so that I could position it directly above the sharp image. (I had neglected to lock the tripod.) Then came the twist. I set the opacity of the soft image layer back to 100%, created a layer mask (as I learned to do from Robert O’Toole’s APTATS II CD), and then erased the center portion of the soft flower revealing the sharp center below. The image looked OK but I continued to experiment by erasing the dark triangular spaces between the bases of the petals. Volia.

I have been inspired to think out of the box by Denise Ippolito, BPN’s Out-of-the-Box Forum Moderator. She is incredibly creative. To see what Denise and others thought of my sharp/soft with a twist sunflower, check out my BPN post here: After you read the thread, be sure to check out the great stuff that Denise and the regular OOTB folks are doing on a daily basis by visiting the Forum and checking out the thumbnails.

To learn more about APTATS click here:

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