The Great Journey in Photography

To Crop or Not To Crop II

Bosque Pano-2

Last week I said we would walk through making the photo into a real masterpiece, well maybe not a masterpiece but lets say make it all it can be. It looks like I cheated a little bit with the photograph I showed last week. I don’t believe I cropped that image at all but rather used the content aware scale feature in Photoshop to compress the image down to an 8×10 layout. For todays post I am going to revert back to the original image as it came out of the camera. It looks like this.


That is not so great but if you were paying attention the past few years you know that there are other images to work. Yeah it’s that burst of three thing, so lets look at the image before that one and see if it is better.


I actually like this one better except that the crane is way too far forward, it is falling out of the picture, but I really like the arcing cloud formation in the back. I think I am going to take the best of both worlds and merge the to photos and take the best of each to make one good image. In the process I am going to move the bird to the ideal position. That won’t be hard since it is a silloutte just make sure the background is seamless where you clone out the old bird.

I am not sure exactly what the problem is but Photoshop would not merge the images so I wound up manually blending the images together. It takes a lot longer but doing that also gives you ultimate control over the masterpiece. Just automate to manual (File-Automate-Photomerge-Interactive Layout) mode in Photoshop. You will get individual layers with masks to work. Once finished blending I always make a new layer (shift, option , command E) and work from that so I can always go back to blending if need be. Now lets select our bird with the  quick selection tool, copy and past onto a new layer positioning it to a good place according to the rule of thirds. I see that this image has the white balance out of whack. The clouds are nice and saturated with orange, yellow, and red but is still very warm where I should be seeing some blue sky, so lets fix that and also give a little more color  impact to the image. Rather than trying to balance out the colors I am simply going to create a photo filter layer mask and set it to a cooling color painting in the areas of sky that I think should be cooler.

Now I am going to save and turn it back over to Lightroom for  my standard processing adjusting color balance, highlights, shadows, contrast, saturation and noise reductions. You should note that I go back to Lightroom simply because it is a newer version and the Adobe Camera RAW engine there is far superior to the one in my version of Photoshop. You can also make all those final adjustments in Photoshop too if desired.

There it is , a nice wide screen image that is pleasing and rather that breaking the rules hits the mark for composition, and if you feel the need has plenty of room to crop to other sizes.

Thanks for stopping by everyone. If you have any questions about how I processed these images just leave a comment or drop me a line.

My iPad application Wildlife HD is getting a major tune up for the upcoming iOS7 platform and while it is I am sell it at half price. Just $.99 Wildlife HDuntil the new version comes out. If you don’t have it yet you might want to take advantage of the sale.


One response

  1. wow, nice photo!

    August 23, 2013 at 6:58 am

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