Sun Flower Portrait

I had some fun over the past few weeks learning a new Photoshop technique to give a bit more of a 3 dimensional look to a simple image.  I’m be curious to hear what you think.

It is a pretty simple thing to do, now that I’ve done it once.  But, trying to figure out all the different layers and how to appropriately add the drop shadow to the flower was a learning experience.



Mid last month I was photographing runners a rather large 10k and 5K race called the Barber to Boise. There were nearly 2,000 participants, so a lot of photos were taken that day. As part of the event, there was an outdoor concert going on as people ate lunch after the race. The group performing is out of England and is called Scars on 45. A major claim to fame for this group was playing the opening for the TV show Grey’s Anatomy.

Anyway, back to the photo.  I had on the 70-200mm lens, and was standing pretty close to the stage and had a great angle for a profile of their singer, Aimee Driver. I wanted to have her lips close to the microphone, but not touching it. I patiently waited for just the right moment and CLICK.  Got it!

I opened the image with Photoshop and increased the contrast just a bit, then lightened the whites and darkened the blacks. Finally, I adjusted what Photoshop calls “threshold” to take away all the mid-tones. This was just what I was looking for. It is kind of different from my normal images, but it was fun seeing something in my head while I was shooting with the full intent of having it turn out the way it did.

Experiment with your images and have fun!


Last week we had the opportunity to celebrate a birthday at our house and one of the people invited to the party was Riley who has some magical blue eyes.  I took several shots of her and found this one was to my liking.  I knew that I wanted to end up with a black and white image, but during the process I decided to keep the eyes blue and see how that would look.

Below is the resultant photograph:

This blue eyed image was created with Photoshop using the following steps:

  • Open the image
  • Duplicate the image into a new layer
  • Convert the top layer to black and white
  • Create a layer mask on the top image with nothing being masked (white mask)
  • Using the paint brush tool set to the color black and the mask being selected as the item being changed, paint out the mask where the iris of the eyes are.  When you do this, the color of the lower image will show through.
  • Riley’s eyes are so blue that it almost looked “creepy” so I selected the bottom (colored) layer and desaturated that layer just a bit to lessen the blueness of the eyes.

Pick out an image of your own and try this technique.  You’ll have fun.

Photoshop MagicHere is an image of the Boise valley shot through a rock wall. Actually, this is a combination of two images. The rock wall is one image, the cross, sky and city are in the second image.

The rock wall was at the old Idaho Penitentiary. This hole was already in the wall, but I had to get rid of the original background that filled up the hole. This was simply done with a layer mask in Photoshop. Other photo editing applications have the same feature. Once the mask was in place, I could layer the rock wall image on top of any other image. I chose the cross at Table Rock above the city.  The stone that makes up the wall was excavated from the quarry at Table Rock years ago.

One thing that makes this work is that I made sure the sun was at the same angle in both photos. Otherwise, it would have been an obviously fiction. For those familiar with the area, it is obviously fiction anyway, but it was a fun experiment.

Wall: Olympus E-10, 19mm, 1/160 @ f9, ISO 80

Cross: Olympus E-10, 22mm, 1/160 @ f8, ISO 80