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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Childhood Memories

This is one of those images that I think people will either love or hate. It's definitely one of my more creative/edgy photographs. The story behind the title, "Childhood Memories", is actually one with which many of you could probably relate. Remember how fun it was as a young child to swirl around in place, really really fast, until you were so dizzy you lost all ability to balance and stand up? While growing up, we had a beautiful crab apple tree in our front yard that would bloom bright pink flowers every spring. I loved when this tree would bloom because to me it was an imminent sign of warmer weather to come. One of my favorite things to do was to spin around as fast as i could, under this tree, until I became so dizzy I would fall down. I can still remember what the grass felt like underneath me as I stared up into this canopy of pink flowers and branches. The world was spinning and I could barely see straight, but somehow those pink flowers always came right into focus.

Obviously this image underwent some serious post-processing work. Although the actual tree that I shot was an incredible sight. One of the largest weeping cherry blossom trees I have ever seen. It was like something out of a fairy tale, which was kind of the feeling I wanted to convey in my image. As I was creating this image, I just kept seeing white horses and princesses in my head. This is an HDR shot, 5 exposures (-2 to +2), and processed in Photomatix. I added a two tone gradient with deep blues and purples, using a Multiply blending mode. I messed around with the color balance and hue/saturation functions for awhile as well, masking back most of the tree. By the way...that was a process from hell. As I've mentioned before, I'm a bit OCD so I like doing those long and tedious processes to perfect an image, but this was ridiculous. Ever try to hand mask foliage before? Holy crap. Anyways, I also dodged and burned areas of the trunk and added highlights to certain flowers along the trunk to highlight those flowers from the flowers along the branches.

I continue to struggle with creating a really good mask for trees. If anyone out there has a method that seems to work, please share your secret! I just can't seem to mask out a sky behind trees and replace it with a new sky in a way that looks realistic. If you know how to do this in Photoshop, please leave your comments on this post and share with everyone. Thanks much!!! Peace.

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