Orton Method

someotherbob 5:40am, 8 December 2006
About 10 months ago, I was looking for trout pictures on Flickr (don't ask why). I came across a photo by troutgrrrl here and was amazed at the effect.

The enigmatic "orton" tag sent me off on a search that ended in the simple answer.

This technique was documented by Michael Orton using slide film. Using slide film and a tripod, you take a sharply focused photo ever exposed by 2 stops. Use the greatest depth of field possible. The second shot is defocused, using a large aperature and zooming to maintain the same scene framing (critical!). These 2 pieces of slide film are then physically overlaid to get the results.

Lots of work. The process is much easier using digital techniques. The digital method is easy enough to complete in a few minutes, no tripod needed.

1) Open your photo and do any adjustments needed. I crop, adjust levels, and maybe some color correction.

2) Flatten if you have any layers.

3) Select the Apply image function, change the drop-down box to screen. Select a % opacity. This simulates the sharp, over-exposed shot.

4) Duplicate the image.

5) On this new one, add a Gaussian blur layer. Select the pixel range. This simulates the defocused shot.

6) Copy the blurred one on top of the other. Change the blending method to multiply and select a % opacity.

That's it. 3 simple parameters (opacity+blur+opacity) lead to a huge set of possibilities. I have 3 shots to look at for this effect, each labeled with the 3 parameters.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon - Orton 60-3-60

Bryce Canyon - Orton 100-25-100

Check out the examples on the Orton group. Play around and post photos in this group and the Orton one.

remittancegirl PRO 11 years ago
Veridian, serated

I did something quite similar with this one. But I used "apply image" and layered another, blurred photo of the same plant on top, with the setting "hard light".

I was after the sharp serated edge of the leaf, but the rest of it looked flat and uninteresting. The layering gave it depth and a vibrant colour.
greentea flute 11 years ago
sort of dream like?
Sandra Borgen PRO Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Sandra Borgen (member) 9 years ago
Picnik has an action for this. I have used it, and made large print from it with great success. Very simple to use.

The Blue Hour

Sunlit Marsh
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