Monday, January 19, 2009

Never Forgets

I went to San Diego two summers ago with my wife and her family. We towed along our then six month old son Jadon, going to Sea World, Balboa Park, the beach, and the zoo. I shot this elephant photo then, and just now got around to doing something fun with it.

The image further below is what it looked like out of camera.

Here's what I did to create the image above. In Canon's raw software, Digital Photo Professional, I made a sepia tone and upped the contrast, then cropped it square.

I didn't care for the original background, it was too distracting for me. So I thought I'd play with blending the elephant head and another photo, a close up of it's skin. The skin close-up was to be used as background, blending it into the head photo using a mask in Photoshop. This wasn't working for me either, so I took a break from it. I often think my creative best when lying down with my eyes closed, and so I killed two birds and thought about this image as I lay down to rest my weary eyes from this mornings photo excursion (more on that in a later post).

To clean up the visual mess surrounding the elephant's head, I decided on adding a background of an old textured wall. Adding this wall image as another layer in Photoshop, I used a mask to cut out where the elephant was, allowing it to appear in front of the wall. Then I played and played and played with also blending in the close-up photo of the skin, giving another layer of texture on the background. Ultimately, that proved too distracting, so I just vignetted the image of the wall, added to the wall a gaussian blur at 3 pixels, and then it was nearly done. I cleaned up some white specks on the elephant's face, probably bits of grass, and that was that. I wonder, though, if the fact that it is eating hay is a detraction to the image. I may come back to this and try painting it out, but that'd be quite the Photoshop workout.

[Note: the above is slightly simplified, as there are other adjustment layers in the image, and a few blendings of redundant layers, one altered one way, the other altered another, all to give a somewhat different look than what the above simple description would have given.]


Bryan & Bobbie said...

I could definitely see this hanging in our living room.

Brett and Sherrie said...

I really like the picture of the elephant. Do you do framing too? -Sherrie

Daniel Heywood said...

Bryan and Bobbie: So could I ;)

Sherrie: Yeah, either I could frame it, or the printer I go through also frames. Depends on what you want whether you have them frame it or me. If you want something different than they have, I could frame and mat it with different options than they have.

I'll make the print available on my website where you can begin an order process during which you can select framing options to see what it looks like. But you won't necessarily have to complete the order if you do not wish to, as you can just begin the order process to get a preview of a framed print; although I'd not mind your completing the order ;)

Also, in my etsy shop, I changed the print size to an 8x8, but can easily go up to 10x10 or 12x12 or any square aspect up to 24x24. Prints of 10x10 or 12x12 will be available through my website,, in the "fine art" section. (Please contact me if you wish for something larger than 12x12.)

Brett and Sherrie said...

How much is it to get a 10x10 or a 12x12? I really want to get this picture but it probably won't be until next month, or maybe I'll drop the hint to Brett and he can get it for me for our anniversary in March. -Sherrie

Daniel Heywood said...

Sherrie, I'd type the price here, but over time it may change, and don't want it to later be incorrect here.

Call me or send me an email and I'll let you know.

Or you can see by going to, clicking on the "fine art" link, and putting the image in your cart, then selecting the size you wish. The order doesn't have to be completed, but this gives you a price and also allows you to see the print as it looks in the frame options my printer offers.

Also, you're bound to get a Happy Anniversary discount if you let me know before purchasing :)

Carrie and Jim said...

Beautifully done! Loved the tones and textures you chose.


johnsun said...

Sweet phant! Hopefully within a few months we will be ordering a nice panorama type photo from you. We like the cows and the shed. What would it cost to order one about 4 feet long by whatever. John