Peter Eastway Aerial Edit
So when you travel with other photographers, one of the things you have to do is try to find that competitive edge. Now, we're not competitive at all. Well, one of us isn't. And we were traveling as a group and we-- You know we got a plane and we can take two up at a time. There's four of us and a videographer going. And an assistant to the videographer, and all the rest that Michael brings with him. So we were able to get out there and do about an hour each. You know, shooting in the plane and that was the deal. We'd do an hour, come back, and the next group would get to go up in the plane. So we get to the sort of middle of the afternoon, and myself and one of the other members, Christian Fletcher, who'd done our flight, and Peter and Les said, look we might go for a flight too. And we said, well, don't be too long out.
No, no, they didn't say that.
Hour and a quarter, Michael wants to video us. He wants to do interviews while the light's nice. You know, sit check. So they flew o...
ff into the wild blue yonder. Threw off a couple of storm cads and Mike was waiting about. An hour goes by and we're sitting, standing around an airport where there's no shops, there's no bar. There's nothing. An hour and a half goes by, and we're sort of waiting around. Michael's getting a bit impatient. He's changed locations three times 'cause the light's dropping. And we were doing that, exactly that, that's why I'm doing this. 'cause your picture.
This goes on long?
Yeah, and eventually they came back two and a half hours later. They'd gone completely to a different area to get these shots. Get out of the plane looking all innocent. And he got these shots. Sometimes you just can't forgive people. (laughing)
So, are we finished?
How can you fix that? I mean, I would've thought with two and a half hours you could have come up with something better than this. (Peter laughs)
Thank you, Tony, thank you.
It's quite flat out of the camera.
It probably was flat, but it wasn't what my eyes saw. It was certainly a matter of seeing something bright, bold and striking. And you're right, you got the phoenix, or the seahorse shape there. And so, it was important to emphasize the shape. So, how did I do it? So again, very similar, and I'm gonna try and whiz through reasonably quickly just turning them on and giving you the thought process. So first step is just to do an exploratory. It was an auto adjustment layer. So I used the auto button, and Photoshop suggested that as a starting point. Okay, that's got good tonality through it. Let's now go in and add an adjustment layer of my own. Curves, again. Mainly curves that I'm using, and I've darkened the image down. I've darkened the image down because, for me, what is really important is the detail and tonality in that sunlit edge of the dune. So that, you know, if that's burnt out, you lose the shape. You lose the color. You lose the contrast. So at all-- all efforts, I made to keep detail and color in there. I then did a rather strong vignette to really bring in the color in those areas. And when I turn that on and off, you can see, jeez, that's pretty obvious. But as you'll notice in the final image, it's not actually visible there. So as long as it's not visible at the end, it's-- it's okay. And this is a working step. And it was curve three, so it was done in that particular order. So then I'm still looking here at the-- the sunlit area. How do I get that to sing? So again, another curve adjustment layer. The mask is just on that area around. You can see the curve there, it's just grabbing in the black points. I'm just darkening it down. And then further again. Look how many curves adjustment layers I've got. And look how when I turn them on and off, how I've created color saturation without actually using any color adjustments.
Yeah, you know, Pete, it's interesting because I was thinking how many times I've seen people who are just getting their heads around Photoshop. They have this misassumption, if that's a word, where they think that once you've made one adjustment on that tool you move onto the next tool. And that's one of the things that I think people should really start to think about. You've made-- you know people think I've made my levels adjustment, now I'll make my curves adjustment, which is the same thing. Now I'm gonna do saturation. I've done everything, that must be the best I can do. Whereas, what we're showing, hopefully, is we go backwards and forwards and we often use the same tool a dozen times.
Although, to be fair, the same tool's being used with a different mask each time.
Sure, no question. But what I'm getting at is
People starting out thinking, okay I've used curves, now what do I use?
Whereas, it's I've used curves for this purpose in this area. What am I gonna do next? I may need to use curves to do the next thing as well.
So, I do get into color. I turned on a vibrance adjustment layer. So, that certainly brings the color up. Although, funnily enough, I've de-saturated vibrance and increased saturation. Why? Because I though vibrance was going to work. But the I fiddled around and it ended up looking good. So I kept it. So, within looking a little bit further, I'm lighting up the surroundings a little bit. And you're gonna see me lighten and darken and lighten and darken until I get to where I'm happy. That's okay. I then-- I go on for broke and I've really jammed up the contrast. So now I've got some drama in there. I'm thinking, okay that's alright. But I don't necessarily have quite the colors that I want, that all quite the shape completely. I grab a color balance adjustment layer, and what I'm doing there is just bringing up the blues in the background. So now I've got a color contrast as well. So not only tonal contrast, but color contrast as well. The head of my sea dragon, my phoenix, is missing. So, I'm just going-- you'll see from the mask in the next layer. I'm just lightening it up. And you'll see that the mask is just working on the top. More so, darkening down that little corner slither up the top there as well. Am I? I think I am. Let's add a little bit of color in. Then with color balance, just brighten it up again. Curve adjustment layer, just darken up the top corners. So I'm looking at areas just a little bit light up the top and on the right.
Sorry, Pete, to interrupt. So you're working your way around the image in the way that maybe a painter might work in just making those adjustments. And as you make those adjustments, and this is how I find it works for me, as you make those adjustments something else sort of calls out to you.
And says, what about me? And you make the choice, yes you need to come out of the picture, or you need to be pushed away.
Exactly. Just step by step. And that's-- that's the beauty of adjustment layers.
That's pretty much the approach we both take. Even though we might use slightly different tools.
Tools. Exactly. Well, as you can see, they're all relatively simple tools that I've used at the moment. Hue saturation again, just to add the red. Because I want the reds up there to match the reds down there. Otherwise, they look a little bit weak. They're not as strong. So it's a matter of, you know. And that's just a visual thing. It just didn't look right without a little bit of strength.
And it still comes down to having visual-- the eye to look for visual balance. It's still having that eye for composition. Every step is keeping in mind, what is the change it's perfecting?
And the reason that I'm making those changes is because I've spent 30, 40 years as a magazine editor. Interviewing my favorite photographers around the world, picking photos for running in the magazine. And that's why I recommend to you guys the 10, 10, 10 approach that we talked about.
So that you can create your own database so that you're making these decisions which is in keeping with your sensibilities, if that makes sense.
Okay, so we're almost there, three layers off. I've just done a little bit of work up here on that head again. And a little bit further, I've then darkened it right down. And I've thought wow that's pretty moody. Just a little bit dark, though, in the rest of the dunes. I mean I quite like the sunlit side. So just lighten those up a little bit. Just a fraction there. And that's where we ended up. So from the starting point to the ending point, there's, you know, quite-- you're gonna turn that on and off for me? Thank you. Quite dramatic. Now, for some people that's too many layers.
That was worth two and a half hours wait. (laughing)
For me-- for me it was what I loved so, yeah. Question, yeah.
When you're going through this process, do you ever find making a print being a part of that and seeing how sometimes it may not translate the way you thought it would?
And so you go back and make an-- almost like a proof print?
Yep, so-- and we're gonna talk about that in the last section today. But to answer your question, this was park of an exhibition. It was a big one and a bit-- one and a half meter vertical print. I made small size prints which I lived for-- lived with for a while, made a few adjustments, and then they-- so you know my file was like that. If it doesn't look quite right, 'cause I moved-- I actually flattened my files. I moved them to a production computer which basically just serves my printer. I make a print, I bring it back. I write notes on it. I live with it for a little while. I'll go in and I'll add further adjustment layers to adjust it so that the print comes out looking exactly as I have it on the screen. Normally, there's not too much that's required to be done because we're working with high quality Acer monitors, wonderful profiles on the Ipson priters et cetera. Which, you know, we're using some of Dr. Les' profiles. So, yeah, prints have an extra-- actually we cheat a little bit, don't we? Anyway, Tony, I realize we need to keep you going.
Let's keep-- get a couple more down. And don't save that.
So this interesting you guys? Yeah? Yeah? Oh, got a thumbs up from the audience, so I hope the online audience is enjoying it as well. Kenny says yes, everyone's happy so I-- I I must admit, we love talking about this sort of stuff because, you know, we do put our heart and soul into all of this. I know, that was almost an emotional comment to make, Tony, and I didn't mean--
Nearly, Nearly-- I've been challenged to get you to hug me before the end of the day.
It is-- it is a lot of fun-- hug's not happening-- but it is a lot of fun doing these pictures.