Sea Blue Lens


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Third Thursday Challenge: Shooting the Moon

For several months I’ve intended to try photographing the full moon for the Third Thursday Challenge. Clouds, travel, and various other circumstances have conspired to prevent it until — hurray! — this month.

I have tried to take photos of the moon many times before, of course. The results were always disappointing. So I did some research online for information. I read several articles, but one I found very helpful was this one. I went out on three evenings leading up to the full moon, using my Nikon d5100 and 55-200mm zoom lens, experimenting with various camera settings. I even used a tripod!

3 moons-2If at first you don’t succeed….

I felt I’d achieved my initial goal with the final image above, which I was very pleased with. But then I decided to take it a bit further. What I really wanted to do was to capture the moon as part of a landscape. But there are some difficulties with that.

MoontreeX3-2Now what?

If I focused on the moon, the foreground was blurred. Focusing on the foreground meant the moon was fuzzy. And if I wanted to include a larger foreground subject, the moon was tiny in comparison. I already knew that those gorgeous shots of a huge moon rising over a crystal clear landscape were composites — two images combined — so I thought I’d play with that idea a bit.

I can’t tell you exactly what I did for each image, because each one was different and I didn’t record my steps. I just played around with different things — sometimes copying and pasting the moon into the image, sometimes layering two images the same way you would add a texture to a photo. Here are the results of my creative experiment:

birdmoonThe Birds

adobe moonAdobe Moon

moontreeMoon Tree

mooncradleEmbrace

I haven’t perfected the technique by any means, but I really enjoyed trying to achieve an effect I’ve always admired.

Thanks to Brenda at How to Feather an Empty Nest for hosting the Third Thursday Challenge each month. It has inspired me to actually try things I’ve only thought about for years, and through the monthly linkup I always discover even more new things to try. Maybe you’d like to join in!


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A Matter of Perspective

I learned something today. A few days ago, Brenda, one of my fellow students in Kat Sloma’s great Find Your Eye e-courses, wrote a blog post about correcting perspective distortion using Photoshop. I commented on my disappointment when I realized she was using Photoshop features that my Photoshop Elements doesn’t have.

This morning she replied with a link to a simple online tutorial explaining how to do the same thing in Elements. So I tried it.

Now, I’ve been a pretty sophisticated and advanced user of word processing software for longer than I care to think about. But when it comes to image processing, I’m like those people who line up text using the space bar because they don’t know how to set tabs. This morning’s experience sure proved that. I need to spend some time with a good instruction book and my PS Elements and get to know it a whole lot better.

Guess what? Photoshop Elements has a grid that can be superimposed over my photo while I’m editing it, to help with lining things up vertically and/or horizontally. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. How could I have not known something so basic?

Anyway, here are the results of a couple of experiments using the grid and PSE’s Image-Transform-Distort function.

Straight out of the camera

Adjusted to compensate for lens tilt

As taken, except for some foreground cropping

Adjusted image

So, what do you think? Does correcting the perspective improve the pictures?

I really had fun playing around with this. And that grid thing? Totally awesome! There’s even a keyboard shortcut to toggle it on and off.

Thanks, Brenda!

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