I posted an old picture in Facebook today – a sequence of shots of a hunting osprey. People asked how I did it, so here it is. I haven’t used the hunting osprey – it’s not one of my best efforts. So we’ll deconstruct this one of a pelican landing on a beach.
The camera was in sports mode so it took a series of photos in quick succession. Bear in mind this is a time sequence. Some of those actions actually took place physically much closer together.
I picked one of the pictures for the background to the shot. I needed lots of beach.
Layer1 I cropped the pelican, its shadow and part of the background
Layer 2 Once again, I cropped the pelican and its shadow. Notice this is the same bird as the one in the background. The bird in the background gets covered.
Layer 3 The pelican was cut using Photoshop’s magic extractor. I kept the shadows.
All the layers were originally rectangles. After I’d placed them, in some cases I had to remove some of the beach to reveal parts of the bird in the layer underneath. After that I used the merge and repair tools to disguise the edges of the layers. That’s why the picture in layer one has such jagged edges. Layer one is covering the bird in the background, which is why I had so much beach in it.
So there you go. I have fun doing these.
The joy of photography for me is capturing a unique moment in time and freezing it. Motion is beautiful, to be sure, but it happens so quickly, we don’t see what is actually happening. Professionals can use slow motion photography, but that sort of thing is beyond my means. However, I do have a Canon D550 DSLR and Photoshop.
Not so long ago, I was down the beach with my camera taking pictures of the shore break when my husband hollered, “Beside you.” I turned and a pelican was coming in to land on the sandbar right beside me. I had the camera in ‘sports’ mode, so I held down the shutter and was rewarded with a series of shots as the bird came in. It occurred to me that it would be nice to stitch a few of them together to show what the bird did with its wings and feet as it landed.
The difficulty was matching the background. Essentially, I selected one picture as the background for the whole shot. This is the picture. I used it because it had the best balance of beach for my purposes.
Then I used Photoshop’s Magic Extractor to remove most (but not all) of the background from the three shots I had selected. I made sure to include the reflection of the pelican in the pools and enough sand around them so I could blend each picture into the others. Here’s the sequence of additions. Notice I seem to have two birds the same. In the final layer I pasted over the top of the bird in the middle and came up with the final shot.
I spent some time with Photoshop’s tools to blend the backgrounds together so the joins between the layers were invisible. And here’s the final shot. Poetry in motion.