Exercise 4.8 – Photomontage In Photoshop

Brief:- Now that you’ve seen how to make a photomontage with newspaper cuttings, search through your archive of images to make a photomontage with your own photographs. Photomontage requires a playful, experimental attitude to exploring different arrangements, so don’t try to be too ‘tidy’ or perfect about your final result. Decide on the different picture elements: the background, the different parts of the environment, objects different people in the environment. Think in terms of depth: fg,mg, and bg. When you’ve completed your photomontage, photograph it or save it as a finished image. 

Things That Matterphotosociology.wordpress.com

I’m surprised at how short a time this take me to complete. Just a few hours this afternoon. Clearly the practice of using Photoshop is paying off. During other pieces of coursework I have used Photoshop to create montages of differing styles, one was made from several hundred photos that I had taken of street art (here), and another which combined faces (here).

It’s been enjoyable for me to connect with what matters to me. It can be easy to get bogged down with some aspects of life, which become detrimental to others. The background picture reminds me that my passion is photography. It’s become a vital part of regaining my health. Macro photography helps me to chill, to forget the things which can disable me, and to help me get present. The two family members are amazing. We never knew each other until I neared the end of my twenties, it was a chance meeting. But we lost contact and then a real life miracle happened. L was robbed in the street and she flagged down a car, the driver took them home so the police could be called. My photo was on the mantelpiece. I’m so grateful to the man who robbed L. L and G are amazing, if you’re reading – I love you deeply. The gannet is representative of birds, nature, birdwatching and wildlife photography. How can you not love a bird? The car is flying – events photography – I love the action, the fast pace of photographic technique, pushing myself technically and creatively. I’m feeling very grateful as I join some of the dots of my life.

When I embarked upon Foundations in Photography I preferred Lightroom over Photoshop. I still find Lightroom to be my go to for digitally developing my photos. However, my personal creative development has had a seismic shift, by following other creatives blogs I have started to explore mixed media art and production. I have an exciting developmental journey ahead, and I need Photoshop for the development of my creativity.

Exercise 4.6 – Using Layers In Photoshop

Brief:- Create a series of photographs that include deep shadow in much of the frame. You could achieve this by using a black backdrop or by exposing in high contrast light as in Part One Project 2 (Shadows). Choose about four final images. In Photoshop, place the images on top of one another and change the Blend Mode to Screen (removes the black from the image) of the images above the lowest image. Experiment with Luminosity and Color blending modes. You may also want to reduce the opacity of each image. Move them around with consideration for the sense of depth the image represents and try to create a final composite.

This has been an enjoyable exercise. You’ll be surprised to know that I followed the brief, and then deviated from it somewhat as well.

Lets begin with my favourite. For the first composite I have included three subjects that bring me pleasure, although for different reasons. They create a conflict of emotion for me as well, due to the negative impact that heavy industry and aviation have upon nature.

I broke from the brief for this, because I knew what I wanted to portray and the brief wouldn’t have got me there. The bottom layer was the bird, and I left the blend mode as normal, the second image is the coastal heavy industry at Tees Port, I altered the blend mode to screen, and the third is two aircraft from  Armed Forces day in Scarborough, in which I altered the opacity. To remove the backgrounds in the second and third photos I have used the background eraser and changed the brush to Kyle Spatter Brushes – Spatter Bot Tilt. These are free brushes that I had previously downloaded. I progressively lowered the flow and opacity with the brush to try to create a more natural look. The final image is very small because the birds eye was such a small part of the original photo. It’s far from perfect, but it still says something to me.

The Originals

The following two photos were made by following the brief, although I did find that I needed to mess around with the blend modes to get the effect that I found to be most effective.  I will show the originals first, in order from the bottom layer upwards.

The above is my favourite out of five different attempts that I made from the same three photos. The church and the blue background appear as if they could be a stylised satin wallpaper. The bottom right looks a touch messy, but you know what, I like it. It has a surreal and smokey feel and the colour blends in with the blue. The difficulty was removing the obvious line over the vase, from where two layers were not aligned. I can’t remember which brush I used, and It hasn’t come out to bad here, except for the area below the vase.

Layer 1 – Blend mode:- Dissolve, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 2 – Blend mode:- Pin light, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 3 – Blend mode:- Darken, Opacity 59%, Flow 100%.

This hasn’t worked as well. Although it isn’t obvious that I have blended the edge between two layers, it is clear that something has happened. The brush was meant to disperse and weaken the edge, which it has, but not my best work. If I could have somehow blended that edge more proficiently then the overall quality would have been pleasing.

Layer 1 – Blend mode:- Dissolve, Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 2 – Blend mode :- Linear dodge (add), Opacity 100%, Flow 100%. Layer 3 – Blend mode:- Darken, Opacity 33%, Flow 100%.

A great exercise and one that I am very pleased to have given a go. It’s interesting to notice how I have developed with layering in Photoshop. More practice required, but I will feel better equipped and more confident with experimenting in the future.

 

Gannets Triptych And A Composite Photo Of A Kestral

Triptych of a Gannet in-flight
A photographic triptych of a Gannet landing on the cliffs at RSPB Brampton Cliffs
A photographic triptych of a Gannet landing on the cliffs at RSPB Brampton Cliffs
Triptych of a Gannet in-flight
Photographic triptych of a Gannet Flying along the cliff tops, with a Say in the Background at RSPB Bempton Cliffs
Photographic triptych of Gannett's training each other
This is a photographic triptych of a pair of Gannett’s training each other at RSPB Bempton Cliffs
A composite photo of a kestrel in flight.
A composite photo of a kestrel in flight.

 

My Recent Trip To RSPB Bempton Cliffs

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

Please click on any photo to see a full size image

Northern Gannet

The Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) is one of my favorite sea birds. It has a beautiful blue eye which us set against a pastel yellow nape. They nest in large colonies and are very territorial. Gannets mate for life and return to the same nest year after year.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

A photo of a Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshire.

 

Guillemot

The Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) is a member of the Auk family. It spends most of its life at sea and the only time that you will find ut on the land is when it is breeding. These birds are very pretty to look at despite being quite plain in appearance.

A photo of a Common Guillemot at RSPB Bempton Cliffs in North Yorkshire

Puffin

The Puffin (Fratercula arctica) is one of the most beautiful sea birds, and one that brings the crowds to RSPB Bempton Cliffs. It has an unusually shaped beak, which is has bright orange streaks and has saw like mandibles. The serrated beak means that the Puffin can catch many sand eels at the same time and they cannot subsequently fall from its jaw.

This is a photo of a Puffin taken at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, North Yorkshure.

Kittywake with chick

I love to see the new chucks sitting upon the nest and being attended to by their parents. This photo is of a family of Kittywakes, and a hungry chick.

A photo of a Kittywake chuck and parent taken at RSPB Bempton Cliffs in North Yorkshire.

Photographers

Some of these people had incredibly large lenses, and I am aware that they cost several thousands of pounds. I was left wondering whether their lenses really made photos any better than what I have taken today? I suspect not, I have a few high quality photos that I am really impressed with.

This is a photo of photographers taking photos of Gannets at RSPB Bempton Cliffs on North Yorkshure.

It’s All About Me When It Comes To My Emotions – Responding Not Reacting

It’s been a challenging week for me on many levels’. I felt hurt and frustrated by a friend’s behaviour and, have had a professional organisation failed to keep their commitment, and two professionals involved in my care are leaving their posts.

I find it very difficult to be authentic and express my emotions in response to somebody’s behaviour. However, I had to say something this week so that O could remain true to myself and protect my self esteem. My friend’s behaviour isn’t the issue, it’s my feelings that I need to focus on. It doesn’t matter how you behave, that’s your choice and your right, so if I feel upset or hurt in response to your behaviour that’s my responsibility. My telling you how I feel doesn’t mean that you have to change your behaviour. As your behaviour is your responsibility you can choose whether to act differently, or continue to behave as you are. This means that you can remain true to yourself.

Self-portrait in which I photographed myself as a reflection in a mirror.
(Please click on photo for a full size image) I am slowly becoming comfortable with displaying self portraits, but I still need to cover my face.

So this week I took responsibility for my emotions and spoke to my friend about how I was feeling with regards to our friendship. I did this in a manner that owned my feelings and didn’t blame her for my emotional reaction. In order to do this I needed to give myself a couple of days to allow my emotions to calm down and so that I could prepare what I wanted to say without it being an attack on her. It would have been so easy to react but that would have been damaging to both her and myself (There have been recent news stories about students trying to get their lecturers sacked because they have differences of opinion. This behaviour is completely inappropriate because it apportions blame rather than taking responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, it’s also very arrogant and self righteous).

With a professional organisation letting me down my approach is firmer, more descriptive and without emotional content. They have provided me with some software called Dragon Nuance, which is voice to text software, and am using this to write this blog today. They are currently training me how to use and make the most of this technique. I had an appointment with them which they failed to keep. I’m very pleased that in both instances I have been able to respond, to take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings without resorting to criticism or blaming them for how I feel.

(Please click on photo for a larger image) Macro photography is my mindfulness. It is something that I enjoy immensely and it also calms me down.

My eating disorder therapist has been off work for several months,. We had an appointment this week, during which she informed me that she is changing role in two weeks and I won’t have a therapist until the new person is in post. On top of this, the junior psychiatrist that I have been working with whilst my therapist has been off sick, is moving onto a new rotation in two weeks and I’ll have to get used to a new doctor. My care coordinator is also changing. I feel quite vulnerable with having these three changes at the same time.

Acceptance is the answer, and the only way of responding to these changes I don’t like and that I feel unsafe with. So my response is to allow my vulnerability to be as it is, and to discuss this with my friends as often as I need to.

By Thursday afternoon my thoughts were along the lines of “what else is going to go wrong today?”. So I wrote a gratitude list and made a note of all the things that had happened during the day which I felt grateful for, I spoke with a friend, and my mood and thoughts improved. Making some macro photography also helped to keep me focused straight after my psychiatric appointment.

(Please click on the photo for a full size image) Macro photography is my mindfulness. It is something that I enjoy enormously, and it also calms me down.