In the previous post I mentioned the subject of “repairing” flaws or distractions within the frame, or blending the better parts of separate frames, to move more toward our idea of the finished image, the one imagined at that moment. The image above is a case in point. I made several attempts at panning the camera using a slower (1/4-second) shutter speed, following the flight of several gulls as they passed by, hoping to get the texture of the ocean in the background to become a horizontal blur while also blurring the gulls. The best I could do was what is seen above except the original frame edge ran through the middle of the bird furthest left; not the most desirable positioning of subjects. It was the only frame that was even close to being useable, so I made the attempt to salvage the image by adding some real estate (canvas) to the left in Photoshop (Image > Canvas Size), and using the clone tool, “drew in” the missing parts of the gull and a continuation of the background blurs in that added blank area. It was done using a soft edged clone brush at a low flow (about 12), and trying to grab areas within the original frame that mimicked the areas I wanted to fill in. At times a large brush was used, and other times it was narrowed down to blend in specific details. It was a bit painstaking to do, but if it worked out, the birds would be more centered in the frame instead of being pressed up against the left edge. If it didn’t work out, then the image would end up in the trash along with all those other failed attempts.
This years annual off-season visit to North Carolina’s Outer Banks was preceded by a little research in hopes of discovering some old piers that have not already been overused by photographers in the past. Using Google Map’s Satellite View, I came across what you see below, and thought it was something that warranted further exploration. So on our drive to OBX, my son and I ventured off our direct route to the rental, and easily found what seemed like the remaining footings of some sort of pier extending out into the ocean. It was exactly what I’d hoped for to use as a possible foreground in a very long (30-seconds or longer) exposure of the surf; possibly at sunrise or on a cloudy day. I checked the tide chart to see what it was at that time to gauge when it might be best to photograph the spot, since on that scouting visit, the footings were mostly covered by the ocean, revealed only as the surf receded just before the next wave came in. It turned out I would revisit the spot twice during the week with totally different photographic outcomes. If I could come away with a decent shot of these footings, one of the goals of the trip would be satisfied. The other goal, which is always the same, is to witness at least one magnificent sunrise. But that was totally out of my hands and subject to the weather Gods.
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