I was visiting a good friend for a Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian), which in Ontario is just at the peak of the Fall colours. I brought my camera to get some photos of their grandkids playing around and maybe other images of the other guests celebrating the great friendships we have and of course, then sitting down to one of those great feasts that is spread end to end on large dinning room tables.
The photo has a special meaning for me and maybe that is why I have a particular fondness for this image. I do like the stark silhouettes set against the vibrant and brilliant sunlit fall foliage across the pond. There is just a suggestion of detail, the white stripes and the silver belt work and a small hint of skin tones that give them some depth. The 2 people seem to be gazing out over something. Also the red life jacket seems to add another element and its red colour being in the foreground harmonizes well with the fall colors in the background.
There was a third person in the original photo, but for my own reasons I only wanted these two.
It was a reasonably straightforward process to remove the 3rd person, except for the fact I took a slight detour down the path. Like driving a car, some routes are almost automatic. I at first decided I was going to mask out the person and using the same image below move it to another part of the reflection over the opening and using the transform tool to increase size to better fit the opening.
The 3rd person mask was easy, as it only needed to be slightly larger than the person. Objects like foliage with no clear structure blends well, as you can go over the mask edge to pick more or less from one side to suit the natural lines.
It was then I realized that by inverting the image I could use the original foliage and with a little blurring and sizing work make a perfect fit.
I marked 2 cross-hair style grids on the correct version and at a diagonal to each other to determine if there were any angle corrections needed in the inverted alignment.
The bottom part of the image shows the inverted image and how it was compressed vertically to fit the size of the reflected pond.
The inverted image was set to a blur of 5.9 to match the level of blur in the pond surface. Now the new blurred part matched the removed person cutout, but the colour tones were way too smooth.
When I examined another section of the pond I found that the noise was not just speckled but had short vertical patterns also.
The above pattern was created by creating a new layer and adding noise
Add Noise: 200%
Motion Blur: angle 90; distance 26.
Add Noise: 10%
Add Noise: 125% and fade to 8% as I wanted a little more of a building block texture
This layer was set to overlay and reduced to 4%, which seemed the best match the area beside the masked 3rd person.
The above image shows another angle overlooking the pond and a clue as to what the lifejacket was meant for.
A Photographers Adage
The difficulty with color is to go beyond the fact that it's color – to have it be not just a colorful picture but really be a picture about something. It's difficult. So often color gets caught up in color, and it becomes merly decorative. Some photographers use [ it ] brilliantly to make visual statements combining color and content; otherwise it is empty. -. - Mary Ellen Mark,, Mary Ellen Mark : 25 Years by Marianne Fulton , ISBN: 0821218387 , Page: 5