Week 20

Wrapping up celestial overlays with Other Worldly.

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.
— Hubble, Edwin (May 1929) "The Exploration of Space"

Weeks 18 and 19 were spent exploring space through my space lily images. I'm wrapping up my celestial overlays with the image that ignited my celestial series, Other Worldly (above right). The image was taken at Manatee Springs State Park. It was a hot day at the end of June in Florida. The time of day wasn't ideal for photography. There was no golden morning light, or warm glow of sunset. It was sometime near noon and the sun was like a spotlight directly overhead. To shoot at this hour seemed against the rules. But I was there for a day of leisure and kept an open mind as I meandered along the boardwalk, camera in hand. It's been said before that you should learn the rules so you can break them and this was a perfect opportunity to do so.

The cypress trees diffused the harsh light sufficiently enough to work with. At one point I peered over the side of the boardwalk and was met with an enchanting cluster of cypress knees. There was a grouping of three that really stood out to me. They reminded me of a NASA Hubble image (above left) that I had seen before called Pillars of Creation. I took a series of shots with varying compositions and continued my journey. I returned home and uploaded the images. I was excited by the results and knew this shot was the one. 

Now to incorporate this shot into the 365 series. I must admit that I thought the blending of the two images would be as seamless as the space lily images, but that was not the case this time around. My expectations were too high. I realized that more work was needed to achieve the celestial look I found so easily over the last two weeks. 

So I walk away with two lessons from week 20:

1. I suspect the edits this week didn't go as planned because I was using blend modes on an image that wasn't starkly different in value from the raw. The results were lackluster in comparison to the last two weeks. It sets a very different tone and a very different approach.

2 Sometimes expectations get in the way of the joy of the moment. I abandoned my expectations when I walked into Manatee Springs State Park and came away with one of my favorite shots, and my top seller to date. Conversely, my expectations for the edits this week impeded my editing flow. I found myself going back to square one on more than one occasion because the edit was missing something that I couldn't put my finger on. 

I felt that #135 was reminiscent of the Hubble image, and #136 reminded me of a murky pond. I liked the effect that the blend mode had on #139 and decided to mirror the overlay to carry that effect throughout the raw without rotating or cropping.There you have it. Week 20. Do you have a favorite? Questions about the process? Suggestions for the future? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. On to week 21.