Southend Sunday – 16

Last Sunday we took a ride out to Southend-On-Sea. It was a busy, bustling place – everyone encouraged, no doubt, to be outside in the lovely weather!

Passing the fairground near the shore-end of the pier we noticed this agitated crow – apparently concerned by the rumbling of the inverted people passing by on the yellow track.

03-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen

We then discovered why he was agitated – the crows had chosen to build their nest inside the metalwork of the roller-coaster. Not a great shot, but you can just see the crow standing on its nest INSIDE the framework! We guessed this was the first day that the ride had been opened this year – and we wondered how long it would be before the nest was abandoned?

04-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen

But at the other end of the pier things were a little more peaceful – but we were a couple of hours early for the anticipated ‘Folk Music & Beer’ event. ( Not its official title – and we didn’t stop for it.)

But we did spot the young Turnstone on the end of the pier. He (?) seemed a little distraught and kept calling but seemed to be completely alone. Lost or abandoned, I wasn’t sure – but I managed to get quite close to him and get these two shots. My favourite is the second one. Just a bit more movement!

02-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen01-SOUTHEND SUNDAY by John Allen

Dinosaur – 15

This week I’ve been playing with Chroma Key effects. ( If that is the wrong expression, I apologise!! ) To most of us we know this as green-screening, but my attempt this week was actually using a blue background because, in an earlier shot, I had something green that I wanted to retain in the final image – but I later dropped that idea, but stayed with the blue backdrop.

So this is how the dinosaur ended up in Epping Forest. First of all I photographed the animal against a blue background. The objective here is to get the background as evenly illuminated as possible. Not that I succeeded here, but I was able to rectify this later in Photoshop CC.

01-DINASOUR by John Allen

Then, using the ‘Select > Colour Range’ in Photoshop I selected all of the blue and using Select > Select and Mask ( again in Photoshop ) tidied up the selection and created a new layer with a mask of the inverted selection. ( Colour Range selects the background and, of course, that’s not the bit we want in our final image. ) This was the result.

03-DINASOUR by John Allen

Because this is a JPEG copy of that result, all of the pixels I masked out have now been replaced by white. If you save the image as a tiff or psd file those transparent areas ( where there are ’empty’ pixels ) will be preserved.

Next I hunted through my Lightroom library for a suitable new background. This one happens to be Epping Forest, just down the road from me. I copied the images into my working image of the dinosaur and dragged the ‘forest’ layer so that it was positioned underneath the beast.

A few tiny adjustments and ….

02-DINASOUR by John Allen

Success, I would say!!