i would be fine if i could figure out how to blend ??? in photoshop..

How I got here

A few days ago I was working on this image from Canada Cliffs in Acadia National Park, and caught myself wondering if it was really that good.  I was questioning if it was worth sharing.  I did post it, and realized after the fact that my past self, the version of me from 2013 who was standing in a field in the dark, attempting to photograph the big dipper, and wondering if i was doing anything right, would be excitedly asking how i did that.  It changed my perspective in a way i definitley needed.  

Could I do it better?  I hope so, and I will probably go back and shoot from this location again.   I already have ideas for different techniques to try here.

Has someone else already done it better?  Maybe, but it doesnt mean i cant do it too.

Would Kyle from 2013 look at it and get excited and be inspired to learn how to do it?  Hell yeah he would, because I think its comparable to photographers I admired and learned from, and am still impressed by.

So lets go on a little adventure through time, starting in December 2013 on a frozen pond in Colchester, Vermont.   I couldnt feel my feet or fingers, but holy crap those specks on the back screen are stars! So it was fine.  Toes aren’t that important.

March 2014, and I got an intervalometer and and learned how to stack images to make startrails.   It was also super cold this night at the edge of Lake Champlain in Milton, Vermont.

May 2014, and its milky way season in the northern hemisphere again, if you go out at 3am.   If i remember correctly, I slept about 3 hours before going out and shooting through sunrise, and then went straight to work (and transformed into a zombie). My co-workers were not impressed.  I thought this image was super amazing.

October 2014, and lightpainting and combining images with different exposure times come into play.  AM Foster covered Bridge in Cabot, Vermont. Yes, the same Cabot as the cheese.

March 2015, and Ive entered the realm of composites, and learn about the joys of photoshop layer masking.

June 2015, and ive upgraded my equipment from a Nikon d70s to a d7000 (which is till my primary camera) and my maximum ISO has tripled, allowing me to capture more detail in the night sky.  I had essentially reached a point in my skill level that my old equipment was starting to hold me back.

Jan 2016.  Startrails, multiple exposures, masking, blending, essentially refining my process and practing.  (and learning from the past and dressing properly for winter at night in the northeast.  I could feel all my fingers and toes that night.  Height of land in Rangely, Maine.

June 2016.  I’ve made it to Acadia!  OMG Im actually shooting from Sand Beach!  First full arch milky way panorama!  just trust me that this is HARD and took a really long time to shoot and merge because there are over 30 images there.

October 2016  Maybe one of my best pieces so far?  Again, multiple exposures, lots of images, lots of masking and blending. Almost giving up several times, starting over at least 3 times. 10 hours of work is probably a low estimate on this one.  I explained my process here, which is essentially the same work flow as how I do the majority of my images now, and a workflow that took years to practice and develop.

And finaly, 2 weeks ago, July 2017  From the southern coast of Mount Desert Island in Down East Maine

Art is hard. It takes a lot of practice and repetition, and most importantly, time and patience.  It’s not going to happen overnight, but the image you manage to create will gradually get closer to the image you’re imagining, as the the best you can do gets better. Sometimes you just have to compare yourself to your previous best to see any change.

Looking at your art and seeing flaws isnt always a negative thing, but a way to find things to practice more, so your next personal best will hopefully be better.

Never stop learning.

anonymous asked:

Hey, I know you've probably had asks like this, but how do you edit your pictures? They are so beautiful and HD, but mine come out small and funky. I really wanna work on my Medieval/Fantasy blog, but my editing is lacking. Do you think you could help, if I came to you?

Of course - I’d be happy to help in any way I can. c:

My set edits are fairly simple really, and often only take a couple of minutes each depending on how the scene itself is set up! The Praaven edits don’t take long because most of them already have the dark / atmospheric look I’m going for - I do like my lighting set low in my buildings! - so there’s not really much to do. 

First - one of my favourite things to do is to pretend I have depth of field. I love depth of field, seriously - it’s super fun. I usually take my screenshots with an idea in mind of where I want the focus to be so, in photoshop, I use the blur tool lightly on the foreground and background. 

After adding depth, I like to define the light sources in the picture and add a little to it. Game lighting is fine and all, but I really like that kind of misty glow in my pictures which is unfortunately unattainable without a little editing. :c With a soft round brush in white, I paint a little blob directly over the source and then use gaussian blur to make it almost invisible. If it’s still a little heavy, I lower the layer opacity.

Now shading! I’m so lazy with this step so it’s usually just a matter of figuring out what direction the shadows would be cast with the lighting in the image and painting it on reeeeallly roughly on a new [multiply] layer - again, in a soft round brush, but this time set to a medium grey. Then go back to our old friend gaussian blur and soften them up a little - not as much as the lighting, but not so you have blocky chunks. 

After that I personally like to add dust specs - googling ‘dust textures’ does the trick! Paste onto a new layer and find a blending mode that works for you. I tend to use lighter colour, but it’s up to you! Last thing I do is add a filter with Nik Color Efex Pro to make the colours a wee bit gloomier. c:

Sorry if this is a bit hard to understand - I’m bone tired and words aren’t making much sense to me at the moment. If you have any more questions please feel free to ask!