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Day 296/365 - Its a wee bit windy with the top down! | by Michael Herb
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Day 296/365 - Its a wee bit windy with the top down!

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My hands are cramped, ass is numb, eyes are heavy and my brain, like a sponge has been rung of every ounce of available creativity. Joyce had been suggesting I do a photoshop marathon and I agreed that it was time. Its been a couple of months since I really dove into photoshop with the intention of outdoing myself. I recently read an issue of Photoshop tips and tricks and saw some of that "damn it, this guy is better than me" work. I figured it was time to start stepping my game up and trying harder stuff.


Joyce's new car made it debut performance in tonights picture. I've always hated shooting black cars at night for the sole reason that they are black holes! The only light they show is light that they reflect. Lighting black shiny objects is an art form in itself. It takes a much larger light source than I have available. I just figured I'd wing it and see how well I could do.


This shot is really multiple shots composited together. starting from the bottom we have.


1. Background as 3 shot HDR. (shot in broad daylight with nice white fluffy clouds)

2. Multiple adjustment layers to darken, cool photo filter to take the red away, Vibrance reduction. I then masked out the sky.

3. a new sunset placed under the background.

3. Stars painted in

5. Shot of shawn

6. A closer shot of Shawn's hand from another shot. I wanted to accentuate the perspective and did this by adding a larger more detailed version of Shawn's hand overtop the images original. Much the same way I put the shot of Jay alders together on Day 95 (

7. Shot of Joyce in car holding leash. (shawn was holding leash tight)

8. Raven held by me. (getting her to cooperate in time to coordinate with the camera timer was difficult. I had originally attempted this with our other dog, ginger (the angry one). I wanted her to look like she too was going after the money. but, she just wouldn't bite at the ham with me holding her up. My dog being so stiff wouldn't cooperate either. She wouldn't even sniff the food. I turned her upside down and it looked like she was flying so I kept it.

9. 2 separate shots of the same 20.00 bill in different positions. I didn't want to clutter the shot with too much money so I opted to only add 2 extra bills instead of the 5 I shot.

10. A rather poor attempt at a UFO. (I'll admit this is the weakest part of the composite. I'm a photographer, not an illustrator and it painfully shows here tonight!"

11. Two layers of Dodge and Burn. when I'm really doing extreme dodge and burn I typically do it on two layers as to build up the effect. This way I do normal D&B on the first layer then accentuate it on the second. If I go overboard I can just scale back the opacity on the 2nd layer.


Since I was cutting out the background and overlaying them on a desert road, I decided to put a white sheet over the outside of the windshield. Since the trim and car is black the edge of the windshield disappears and is nearly impossible to see in the shots. This gave me a nice contrast and outline to mask from. Without it I would of been S.O.L


There is obviously more layers including adjustment layers, overlays layers and paint layers. Too much to list and frankly too much to type!


I really went all out on this one. I would of added more but didn't have any more self shot stock to work with. I did go back after I thought I was done and add slight motion blur to the road. I wanted a slight sense of motion but not so much as to ruin the nice texture the road had.


I read a advertisement for Wacoms new Cintig 24HD Tablet. I'm not sure if I'd like drawing right on the screen but won't know till I try. I don't know anyone that has one or anywhere that sells them. If I could get my hands on one I'd know more. If I like it I'm putting it in the budget for purchase after a 5d . I'm currently using the Intuos3 11x6 and can not work with out it. The mere thought of using a track pad alone or a mouse sends chills down my spine! Although, since I've been using the new Macbook I've adjusted how I edit a slight bit. SInce the new Macs have such amazing track pads I've started using it for navigation and rotating the canvas. Normally when I wanted to navigate around my canvas I'd hit the space bar and drag but now I just push and pull with two fingers while having my hand still on the tablet. To rotate the canvas while masking I just twist with two fingers. This is great since it keeps photoshop on the current tool instead of switching it to the rotate tool. It will eventually add up to a lot of time saved.


This one took about 5 hours to do. It was a enjoyable session! I hope to practice more and get even better at Photoshop! I've come to the conclusion that during this project I will only get so much time to practice photoshop. truly intense composites take more than one day and any smart artist will take a break and come back to their work with fresh eyes. Unfortunately, due to the constraints of Project365 I don't have the luxury of coming back later, reshooting the next day. adding elements of stock either purchased or shot after the fact. I look forward to what I create when the 1 shot per day requirement is lifted. Who knows… I may eventually open a magazine and get the "damn it, this guy is better than me" feeling then realize that it is in fact my work and that I've done so much I simply forgot and am still wowed by my own work. We will see what the future holds. Hey, I could even take a severe turn and end up a wildlife migration expert for the upper north west of the continental united states…. who knows!


Ok, Tomorrow is back to Ft. Lauderdale… Not sure what I'm going to shoot but I'm sure I'll come up with something!




I boomed an AB800 with Beauty Dish way above the car. This would serve both to illuminate the car and give an edge light to shawn. Power level 1/2 - 3/4 depending on shot.

AB800 Med Softbox 4:00 @ 1/2 power

4x4 silver reflector 8:00

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Taken on October 23, 2011