Skip to main content


This scene on Varadero Beach, Cuba struck me as simultaneously ordinary and surreal. 

What could be more ordinary than people wading in the surf on a beautiful day? On the other hand there was something strange about the momentary arrangement of the four vacationers - physically close to each other but also seemingly isolated from and unaware of each other. There's a dreamy feeling.

To convey "dreaminess" I used a tool in DxO PhotoLab that I like a lot - fine contrast adjustment. Sliding fine contrast down close to zero doesn't so much blur the image as it creates a wispy, soft-focus look I felt was perfect for this photograph.

And I added the pelican. 

I had a series of photos of this group of people - the bird was in one of them. I wanted to balance the image with something on the right, above the horizon, as a counterweight to the people on the left, below the horizon. I also thought the bird added to the overall dreamy feeling. So I copied the bird from the other photo, pasted it here and blended it with the Photoshop cloning tool.

I corrected the under-exposure of the "before" image and straightened the horizon line (which tips up to the right in the original shot). I cropped the photo to elongate it slightly and remove much of the empty sky.


Popular posts from this blog

"Boat Tour"

On a boat tour of Western Brook Pond in western Newfoundland two women focused on the spectacular scenery while I focused on them. The pastel colors of their windbreakers contrasted with each other and with the natural tones of the land, water and sky. The image tells a strong, simple story: two people awestruck by 600 meter (2000 foot) cliffs towering over a remote, pristine lake. This image required less work than many of the others featured in this blog. It's a good example of how even relatively modest adjustments can transform a photograph from merely "interesting" to "worthy of displaying". I wanted to separate the women from the landscape - make each part of the image stand out in its own right. I was taken by the colors and textures of the jackets so I increased vibrancy a little to bring out the color and used  fine-contrast and tone curve adjustments to  highlight the fabric's folds and shadows. I added drama to the background through t


The isolated coastal village of Trepassey, Newfoundland sits in the southeast corner of Canada's eastern-most province. The vantage point of this photograph makes for a classic Newfoundland scene: a sliver of human settlement poised between sky and sea. Ethereal, other-worldly: I wanted to capture that feeling. Because I had pointed my camera slightly upward to get more sky in the frame, I had to correct the resulting perspective distortion - notice in the "before" image how the lines of reflected light closest to the sides of the image are twisted away from the center.  I fixed the color temperature to eliminate the strong bluish cast. I corrected the vignetting - notice how the "before" image is significantly darker at all four edges. I cropped from the bottom of the image to bring the bottom border closer to edge of the reflected lights. How do you convey "ethereal"? For me the key elements were delicacy,  l ightness, and a sense of &qu


The tablelands of western Newfoundland are a rare geological formation - a piece of the earth's mantle, normally buried seven or more kilometers beneath the earth's crust, but forced to the surface here several hundred million years ago. The area lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, and so is nearly barren. The high iron content of the rock accounts for the rusty brownish color. In the BEFORE image the sky is correctly exposed but everything else is badly underexposed. This was fixed with an exposure correction in the RAW image.  The BEOFRE image has a slightly bluish color cast which was fixed with a color temperature correction. After making those global adjustments, I worked separately on four sections of the image: the sky, the land in the upper part of the frame, the creek, and the large rock that dominates the lower right-hand corner.  The overall plan was to bring out the textures and contrast in the rocks, maintain the darker ton