October 13, 2013

Photoshop -- god's gift to mankind

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

When I was just a wee lad, and long before I caught the photography bug, I can vividly remember announcing to my mother that I wanted to be a writer and asking her what I should write about. She threw-me-for-a-loop when she constructively told me to write about things I knew. The only problem was I didn't know much about anything at all. And so, ladies and germs, that was the end of my career as a writer. The nail in the coffin, so to speak. Finis. Da end. That's all folks...

The great thing about photography is that it is a tool of discovery. And really, squeezing off the shutter really doesn't take a lot of talent. We even have great tools like Photoshop to fix our mistakes and to make the impossible possible. Used with restraint and a bit of skill, we can use image editing programs like Photoshop to get the very best out of an image.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

So, this (above) is what I started with. I have admired this scene (where Platform Road intersects with Sir Francis Drake Bouleverd) many times, but it is so far away, even with my long lens, that I have always passed it by with a tinge of heartache. Getting closer to the hills just doesn't work--there just isn't a good vantage point other than this far-away view.

Photoshop to the rescue... I was able to carefully "squash" that tall expanse of foggy clouds into a more compact mass. They call it the "Content Aware" tool. What it does is look for areas in the image with very little detail, squashing those low-detail areas instead of areas with more important information. The technique must be used with upmost care, however. I did the squashing in several stages--baby steps--to avoid the generation of artifacts and other deleterious image effects. To help reduce the risk of inadvertently modifying those beautiful hills, I "selected" only the sky for the Content Aware tool to work its magic.

Hopefully I was able to pull this off without detection. This will be our little secret. Lets keep it on the q.t... o.k.?

Hey, and I know what at least one of you are going to say--that you like the "unprocessed" vertical edition better. Oh, don't worry--all of my photos here on the AphotoAday blog come with a money-back guarantee. Yuck, yuck...

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