subjects, like this manta ray "flying" over
a reef in Fiji, are easily "cut and pasted"
when the background is relatively plain. Selecting the
ray was accomplished by using the Magic Wand tool (lets
you select similar color values) on one area of the surrounding
water, and then by selecting all the other background
areas using the Magic Wand while holding down the Shift
key--a technique that lets you add, again and again, to
the Wand selection. Next, I went to Select > Inverse,
which selected only the ray. Color and contrast were adjusted
by going to Adjust > Curves. I could have made similar
adjustments by going to Adjust > Color Balance and
Adjust > Brightness/Contrast, but Curves, as most pros
know, offers much more control. Here, I set the Unsharp
Mask at 60 percent.
Photos © 1999, Rick Sammon, All Rights Reserved
Someone once asked me, when
looking at the three-picture montage in this article, "How long
did it take you to create your `Flying High' image?"
My reply, "21 years," brought a look of puzzlement to the
person's face. But it was true. Here's why: I figure it
took me that long to develop an eye for pictures, fine-tune my shooting
technique, become an experienced traveler and photographer, and get
familiar with all the accessories I use to create my pictures--including
Adobe Photoshop. Actually, a more accurate answer would have been "48
years," because that's how long it has taken me to get to
this point in my life--knowing what I like, and liking what I'm
Naturally, you don't necessarily need 21 or 48 years to make a
three-image montage in Photoshop. You can start the creative process
with three pictures and Adobe Photoshop--if you have about an hour.
flying over Sicily, I noticed this beautiful cloud formation.
I thought the hole in the clouds--the dark, open area--made
the picture the perfect candidate for a Photoshop background.
This is an example of how digital imaging has changed the
way I shoot--and see: I take pictures I can use in Photoshop,
even if they are not my idea of a great picture.
Check out the captions for
each image in this article. Remember the techniques and try 'em
yourself using your own pictures. Be patient. Don't do this when
you are rushed. Follow Ansel Adams' advice: "A print is never
done." Keep making and remaking a print until you are 100 percent
satisfied. Then, go back a few days, weeks, or months later and make new
images--adjusting contrast, color, and brightness...and using new
filters. This remaking process is possible because you have literally
endless creative possibilities in Photoshop.
So, let's have some fun in Photoshop.
After you're done, drop me an e-mail at: email@example.com.
I'd like to get your impression of my "Flying High"
montage--shown here in Shutterbug for the first time.
in 1993, five years before I got into Photoshop, I encountered
this whale shark, the size of a school bus, in Galapagos.
At the time, I was a purist, and never imagined I'd
be a "Photoshopper." To select the shark from
the background, I traced the huge animal with the Lasso
tool (lets you select the subject within the lasso). I used
Adjust > Curves (lets you change the film's curve)
to remove some of the bluish cast in this natural light
photograph. I set the Unsharp Mask (sharpens an image despite
its name) at 80 percent due to the softness of the original
Equipment for "Flying High"
Here's a look at the
imaging gear and accessories I used in making the pictures and images
for this month's Photoshop column. Two very important items are
not listed, but they are essential--time and patience.
· Kodak Elite Chrome 100 and 200
· Canon EOS 1N, Canon 15mm and 24mm lenses
· Sea&Sea Underwater housing
· Packet of seasickness pills
· Polaroid SprintScan 35 Plus
· Macintosh 6500/225 Power PC
· Radius PrecisionColor Display/17
· Adobe Photoshop 5.0.2
· Epson Photo Stylus EX
· Epson Ink Jet Paper
· Iomega Jaz Drive
· And...Window shades in my office to ensure consistent room
brightness--which is essential for consistency in monitor display.