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Wow, it’s Friday already?! That must mean it’s time to share a photo!
This week I’m very excited about sharing one of my latest composites, “Carpe Diem.” Although it is stylistically very different from the other images in the series, it’s part of my project about keys. You can see two of the other images in last week’s Friday Photoshare post.
This photo took a really long time to even get around to shooting! In fact, I’ve been wanting to take it since before I went to Colorado, I just didn’t have the skirt, shirt, or respirator, which was problematic.
Luckily for me, I got the top lined up prior to leaving and purchased it from a fellow convention attendee in Colorado. Woo! The, the Monday after I returned, I spotted this skirt on sale at the mall for $14. Double woo! I know it’s easy to make a tulle skirt, but I really don’t like sewing with the stuff, so I was happy to pay for it. The mask took a little more effort – I’d been working (very part time) on making it for a couple of weeks. The respirator, like the goggles and plague doctor mask I shared a couple weeks ago, are from patterns created by the very resourceful Lost Wax. I highly recommend you check out his YouTube channel!
I thought I wanted to take the photo somewhere rocky and rugged, but the traffic was crazy the day we set out to shoot and it quickly became clear we wouldn’t make it before dark. (People ask if I get “island fever” and the answer is no, absolutely not. It takes longer than I care to be in the car to drive around the island, depending on the time of day, so I never feel particularly confined by geography.) It was a happy coincidence, though – we decided to have a picnic supper and found an absolutely perfect spot for the photo against an old gun emplacement. (There are lots of random abandon military structures around the island. And, yes, I’m using lots of parenthesis in this post!)
Because I was wearing dark clothes against a dark background, the camera kept trying to make the shot lighter than I wanted it to be. I should have switched over to full manual mode, but I was rushing and forgot. As a result, my original image looks like this:
I held the watch necklace, the first Valentine’s present my now-husband ever gave me, to get a feel for how it hung and where the shadows fell. In my right hand I firmly clutched…a stick. I knew I wanted to be holding a large key, but all I have are small keys! I held the stick to get my hand placement correct so I could make the swap later.
Because photos with a bit of movement are almost always more interesting, I played with my skirt a little. Normally I’d do hair flips, too, but it was up in a bun. Then, amusingly, I didn’t like any of the planned skirt flips and went with a picture where the wind did a nice job for me:
I wanted to get shots of the watch and key in the same light, which was failing fast because the sun was setting, so I had my husband hold the watch up against the wall while I took a quick snap:
Then I placed a t-shirt on the ground and took a few pictures of different keys. This is the shot I ended up using, as it appears straight out of the camera:
Then the editing fun began! The finished file is an alarming 4.58 GB and has a crazy quantity of layers, so I won’t go through absolutely everything. Before I really got into creating the ‘feel’ I wanted, I cropped the shot, composited in the larger watch and key, and removed a few distracting elements (mainly the window bars):
As you can see, I also darkened things down pretty much right off the bat. After my compositing was complete, I started adding on adjustment layers to isolate myself from the background and make the right side appear darker, as if the light were coming from the key side of the picture. I also changed the key color a bit to help it stand out.
Then I added like a zillion more layers adjusting things (I always end up with way too many curves adjustment layers because it’s how I work), did some dodging and burning, added textures, and desaturated everything a bit to bring us back to the finished image:
You can see the goggles and mask a little in this other photo we took just for fun after I finished the shot I had in mind:
I also made the ‘gun’ by painting a wacky looking water pistol I found for $2. I have pictures of the process, so if people aren’t getting too board of random steampunk-y things I may share it!
Thank you, everyone, for being so supportive of these Friday posts! I look forward to sharing another photo and its story next Friday. =)