Fill the Sky with Soaring Birds

Photographers are increasingly willing to modify the way reality is depicted in their photographs--and with tools like digital cameras and photo editing software, it's quite easy to do. But of course, that's not always a good thing, especially in the case of photojournalism.

When done for creative purposes in artistic photos, though, there's nothing wrong with fiddling with reality. You do that sort of thing all the time when you sharpen, blur, or color adjust a photo, of course. But sometimes a photo can benefit from more aggressive edits. Consider a picture that I recently took of Mount Baker in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.

Despite the relative rarity of seeing Mount Baker (clear days in the Northwest are as rare as new movie offers for Tom Cruise), this photo still lacks interest. It's missing ... something. This week and next, let's add that magic "something" to this scene.

Collect Some Birds

What is the missing ingredient? The real question is what element we can add to the photo that would fit in naturally? Because this photo is largely blue sky, it seems that a few extra birds might be perfect.

As it happens, I also took some shots of birds on the same day. Because the birds were shot under the same sky that appears in the original photo, it should be pretty easy to fit them in. Here are the birds:

Bird 1
Bird 2
Bird 3

Clean Up the Background

Open the background image--Mount Baker--in your favorite photo editing program. I'll demonstrate using Corel Paint Shop Pro.

You might want to begin by improving the photo's contrast to bring out the mountain a little more. To do that, choose Adjust, Brightness and Contrast, Histogram Adjustment. We'll use the histogram tool to extend the range of light and dark pixels in the photo.

Grab the leftmost of the three triangles just below the histogram, and drag it a little to the right. You'll see the graph (and the numbers in the Low box) change as the low hump in the curve extends to the left edge of the graph and the preview image deepen with darker tones.

Then do the same thing with the High slider--grab and move the rightmost triangle to the left until the first "bump" in the graph nears (but doesn't touch) the edge and the preview image shows the glacier getting brighter. Your Histogram Adjustment dialog box should look something like this. Click OK to accept these changes, and you'll see the background image improve. Now save your work for safekeeping.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dave Johnson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?