Fill the Sky with Soaring Birds

Photographers are increasingly willing to modify the way reality is depicted in their photographs--and with tools like digital cameras and photo editing software, it's quite easy to do. But of course, that's not always a good thing, especially in the case of photojournalism.

When done for creative purposes in artistic photos, though, there's nothing wrong with fiddling with reality. You do that sort of thing all the time when you sharpen, blur, or color adjust a photo, of course. But sometimes a photo can benefit from more aggressive edits. Consider a picture that I recently took of Mount Baker in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.

Despite the relative rarity of seeing Mount Baker (clear days in the Northwest are as rare as new movie offers for Tom Cruise), this photo still lacks interest. It's missing ... something. This week and next, let's add that magic "something" to this scene.

Collect Some Birds

What is the missing ingredient? The real question is what element we can add to the photo that would fit in naturally? Because this photo is largely blue sky, it seems that a few extra birds might be perfect.

As it happens, I also took some shots of birds on the same day. Because the birds were shot under the same sky that appears in the original photo, it should be pretty easy to fit them in. Here are the birds:

Bird 1
Bird 2
Bird 3

Clean Up the Background

Open the background image--Mount Baker--in your favorite photo editing program. I'll demonstrate using Corel Paint Shop Pro.

You might want to begin by improving the photo's contrast to bring out the mountain a little more. To do that, choose Adjust, Brightness and Contrast, Histogram Adjustment. We'll use the histogram tool to extend the range of light and dark pixels in the photo.

Grab the leftmost of the three triangles just below the histogram, and drag it a little to the right. You'll see the graph (and the numbers in the Low box) change as the low hump in the curve extends to the left edge of the graph and the preview image deepen with darker tones.

Then do the same thing with the High slider--grab and move the rightmost triangle to the left until the first "bump" in the graph nears (but doesn't touch) the edge and the preview image shows the glacier getting brighter. Your Histogram Adjustment dialog box should look something like this. Click OK to accept these changes, and you'll see the background image improve. Now save your work for safekeeping.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dave Johnson

PC World (US online)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?