How to Turn an Average Photo into Art

While running a Landscape Photography workshop recently along the Great Ocean Road I came upon this reflection of a cloud near the mouth of the Erskine River. It wasn't anything special, but I sensed almost unseen possibilities in this transient little slice of nature. Almost immediately after tripping the shutter a workshop participant called out to me. So I moved on without thinking about or continuing to work the scene any further.

While sorting through some files in Lightroom last night I had the opportunity to take a closer look at the image. The reflection was interesting, but lacked definition. I make a virtual copy of the original and rendered it into black and white. Against a dark, colourless background the reflection of the cloud became a little stronger. Not having to deal with the color it was easier for me to start to define a shape within the larger cloud reflection. It was then simply a matter of cloning out the superfluous areas of cloud to reveal what had drawn me, intuitively, to the scene in the first place.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 35mm. 1/160 second @ f4 ISO 100.A Koala Bear! OK, you might think it looks more like a lioness or, maybe even, a baroness. Either way I think the process I entered into has allowed me to produce an interesting abstraction from an otherwise mundane image.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru