dad's dad

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The opening image for this post was inspired by something that I try to do all the time in real life, with my photography and in the digital darkroom: having fun! With Fathers Day approaching, I thought this post was especially timely.

The top image, which looks as though my son and I are soaring at top speed high above beautiful water in a biplane, is one of my favorites that I created after a family trip to the Florida Keys. It captures the speed, fun, excitement and togetherness of our experience.

That image was created in Adobe Photoshop Elements (but you can use the same techniques in Adobe Photoshop). Here is how it started out. I combined two shots, one of ocean, that I took during our flight, and one of my son and I in the passenger seat before takeoff (bottom photo), taken with a point-and-shoot camera by the planes pilot. Not only did that picture of my son and I fail to capture the fun of the flight, but we were too dark, a result of the lighter tarmac fooling the cameras meter into underexposed us. That was easy to fix. Read on!

In Elements, I went to Enhance Lighting > Shadows/Highlights and opened up the shadow areas of the scene, namely our faces. Shadows/Highlights is a cool control, letting you control the shadows and highlights of an image independentally.

The next step was to replace the tarmac with the water. That too, was easy! First, I opened both images on my monitor and moved the picture of us on top of the image of the water, creating a two-layer file. Using the Magic Eraser tool on the Tool Bar, I started clicking on the tarmac.
When using the Magic Eraser tool, you need to use the Elements Options Menu on the top of your monitor to control the Tolerance. I had it set to 32, which let me erase just the right amount of the tarmac without erasing any part of the plane or boats in the background (which have different colors).

I wanted to create the effect that we were flying at an angle over the water, which helps to create a sense of speed and action in an image. On land, I would have tilted the camera downward to the left or right. To title this image, I selected the Crop Tool, moved my cursor outside of the image area, and titled the image.

After I pressed Return, my picture looked tilted! Technically, this is called the disequilibrium effect. You have probably seen it on MTV or in fashion magazines.

Next, I flatted the image. Then, I created a duplicate layer by going to Layer > Duplicate Layer. Now I had two identical images, one on top of the other.

Next, with the top layer selected, I went to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur > Zoom and blurred the entire image.

Next, I used the Eraser tool on the Tool Bar and erased the area over our faces, which revealed the sharp area below.

Finally, I added the Old Photo effect in Nik Softwares Color Efex Pro.

Happy Photoshopping to all and of course Happy Fathers Day!