castle-finishedI’ve been messing around with Photoshop this afternoon…

I started out with an image I’ve used before – Hadleigh Castle, shot fairly early on a summer morning – and tried to make something a bit more dramatic out of it. I dug through my archives and found an old shot of Stonehenge that had a suitable sky and replaced the original sky with part of that one. I then did a bit of work to bring the colours a little closer and darken down the castle, before topping it off with a couple of bolts of lightning made entirely from scratch.

castle-originalIt’s extremely rough and ready. The lightning bolts don’t really look that good, in my opinion. The one on the right is a bit better, but the technique requires some randomness and is a bit hit and miss. They probably need a bit of fading to simulate the atmospheric perspective that would make them less sharp in reality. The┬ácolour matching is still off. The clouds should have a bit of colour in them from the same light that’s hitting the castle.

I was just playing with techniques, and I’m learning this kind of advanced photo manipulation for some projects I’ve got in mind. This was just practice.

There’s a huge amount to think about when making this kind of composite, and getting something convincing requires expert Photoshop skill and a good understand of how light works.

stonehengeThere’s nothing new in manipulating photos like this. I remember seeing an exhibition that featured a 19th century photo that had been made up of about half a dozen different glass plates, and you’d never guess to look at it. It’s just easier to do now.

For the most part, I won’t be using these techniques on this site – this is for straight photos, with just the basic adjustments. My rule of thumb is┬áthat if it can be done in Lightroom it’s “developing the RAW file” rather than photo manipulation.

Just remember you can never truly trust a photo!


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