One from three

_DS83269_finalI’m not usually someone who likes to include people in images taken of the great outdoors. But there are always exceptions. People sometimes provide a sense of scale – important in mountainous country when the vastness of the landscape can only be appreciated if it is contrasted by the smallness of mankind walking within that ‘scape.

Images of paths can benefit from a figure or two to provide a focus of interest, and whenever I see a ridge or a horizon with a sky beyond I’m prepared to wait for someone to come into view. And that’s where life can get difficult as was the case with acquiring (or more accurately I should say ‘creating’) the image above. I spotted this little group of mother, son and family dogs approaching this point and thought they would make an interesting group – I loved the muted colours – as they breasted the ridge. The camera’s data shows I shot three images within a three-second time-frame. The window of opportunity was that narrow. It was simply shoot and hope – waiting to catch the ideal relationship at the crest of the ridge was a recipe for a missed opportunity.

Back home it was clear there was no ‘right’ shot – they were all ‘misses’. One out of the three elements was OK in each shot, the other two elements were not. I was about to hit Delete when I thought: the background is just about identical, why don’t I try assembling an image by combining the best elements of the three original images: mother from one, dogs from another, and child from the third. And that is what I did as you see in the image above – Clone tool to the rescue once again.

The three original images are in the gallery below, click on the first and navigate through. Then look at the final image at the top of this Post again. The lesson from this experience is that faced with a shot of people on the move (over whom you have no control), take more than one image. So often an image is ruined by something as simple as an odd-angled arm, an awkward leg, or a turned head. The more I use Photoshop the more impressed I am with the potential of the Clone tool to help me to rescue images that a few years ago I would never have thought could be rescued.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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12 Responses to One from three

  1. Sue says:

    Haha – the camera never lies!!


  2. shoreacres says:

    Hmmmm…. I admire the technique, but I’m not sure how I feel about the process generally. The result is a great photo — but it’s not real. Or is it? One thing’s for sure — your final result is a better photo than the others. And it must be terrific fun to create something like this.

    I suppose in a way it’s as much painting as photography. No one would fuss if Seurat took out his paints and rearranged the picnic party on the river bank. And really — that’s all you’ve done.


    • LensScaper says:

      You raise an interesting discussion point, Linda. One thing we will never know about paintings from the past is what is true and what is not. I saw a fascinating exhibition of work by Canaletto a few years ago which compared his paintings of particular views of Venice with painting of the same view by his contemporaries. The prominence of individual buildings varied considerably, due it was considered, according to who was paying for the painting and who owned which building.

      Nowadays with photography we can airbrush out imperfections and fatten or slim-down people. I think moving individuals around within an image to make a more harmonious family grouping (although not a true interpretation of their exact alignment) would be appreciated by those involved if they ever saw the results. Adjusting the landscape to create a false landscape would be frowned upon, and quite rightly. But removing TV aerials from roofs – I do that regularly. Are we all happy with that? It would make an interesting topic for a debate, wouldn’t it.


  3. oneowner says:

    Very clever editing, Andy. Good technique but the hard part is the pre-visualizing.


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. In this instance there was no pre-visualzing. It was all about: how do a rescue an image. But maybe I will shoot more with the confidence of knowing I can re-construct a grouping of people after the event.


  4. Chillbrook says:

    A reaaly nice result Andy. Takes a bit of practise but it’s an incredibly powerful tool!


  5. seekraz says:

    Would have never known…nicely done, Andy.


  6. Len says:

    Nicely processed Andy. I would not have known.


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