Afternoon in Paradise

Date: Saturday, 31 May 2014
Place: West Green House and gardens
I have found a paradise, I thought…it can’t get any better than this!!! Well, could have been¬†bit more sunny but that’s by the by…
Seems we found this place at it’s best – in full bloom and in a gorgeous warm late Spring afternoon.

I have included only a few¬†before and after images of this fabulous day but I might well add some more soon…

Please note that the ratio of the images has been left untouched and un-cropped for the purpose of showing the before and after shots in their most authentic way…

Path to Paradise

This effect was achieved by adding many different filters in Photoshop. Starting off, the people and chain in the image just had to go! For this I used a combination of content-aware healing brush and clone tool. I tried to brighten the original image by adding more contrast and colour. And to make the important bits in the image 'pop', I've also used light magnolia toned 'Diffuse Glow' filter to accentuate the halo around fluffy tree 'dust'. And finally, I included a layer with dust practicals, which was achieved by painting in some multi-coloured small circles and changing the blend mode and opacity to make it look as close to natural as possible but without losing the magical aura about it.

Flight of a Bumblebee

For this image, a simple auto-fix in Adobe Camera RAW did the trick! But I felt it needed a bit more than that, so I followed it with a couple of colour tone fixes for decreasing saturation on yellows and increasing the saturation on lilacs...after which it was nearly there. Just a bit of vignetting and Voi la!

Blue bench

With this image, I had a very clear vision in my mind of what I wanted the end result to look like. Even with no sun in the sky, I really needed to show this in a sunny perspective, so here's what I did to achieve it: again the basic colour and levels adjustments were all applied in Adobe Camera RAW, then I used Adjustment brush tool to add lightness to certain areas, this was followed by Colour balance tweeks in Photoshop (increase blues and magentas in mid tones etc. too many to list!). I do like to add a hint of warmth into my images so I also used warm yellow photo filter. And to finish it off, once again the vignette tool and dodge and burn here and there.

Bumblebee

This image had a very quick treatment in Adobe Camera RAW with an auto fix and then adding a bit of warmth once again by shifting the colours in 'Color balance' with Photoshop. Quick unsharp mask (radius 0.4, amount 75) and lens vignette to finish it off.

Forget-me-nots

Quite a few steps went into this one. First of all I felt I had to bring out the blues in the Forget-me-nots so I decreased the luminance of blues and aquas in Adobe Camera RAW once again. As the top part of the image didn't stand out at all, I treated it separately from the rest of the image by bringing out magentas and increasing the contrast quite dramatically. You will also notice that I have batched up a bit of light coming through the foliage at the top left corner: I felt that distracted and drew the eye away from the foreground yellow and blue flowers... Finally I have once again used the colourful dust particles (almost invisible but still adding that extra bit of colour and interest!) just to lift the mood of the picture.

Reflection

This has been the most difficult of of the lot, mainly because I didn't have a picture in my head of how I wanted the finished image to look. So I just started off as usual, with auto fix, levels, contrast etc etc etc. But the more I looked at it the more I felt I needed to consentrate on the middle of the image... there are many ways to bring out a certain part of an image but I chose gaussian blur filter for this one which I set to about 36. After tweaking the colour balance, it was obvious, all this was still not enough. So I decided to add some interesting gradient map layers to add more colour (I think just green, or green or green, leaves image flat), set them to different blending modes & opacities which resulted in this!

Meadow

For this image, I used a technique I don't use too often. It's the one where you add a circle and then gaussian blur it by 250px about 100x and you'll be left with a faint circle which acts as a light spot making it look as though the sun rays has seeped in from the corner of the lens leaving that part of the image over-exposed. That can actually work wonders and make it look like a bright sunny day (which it wasn't in my case!). And combined with my usual colour balance filter and other tweaks, although the colour doesn't look anything like in the original, I do like the outcome of it...

There were so many more photos I took on that day, but I had to choose a 'best of' out of the lot or I'd be editing them til I die! LOL