Photo Discussion

Sort most recent comments first

To discuss a photo, sign up as a BetterPhoto member or log in.

Study in Bonsai

BetterPhoto.com Editor's Pick   Study in Bonsai
Study in Bonsai
I'm entering this image to illustrate a techique I just learned from Diana Day. It allows one to replace backgrounds on very complex images without the need for selection techniques. Thanks Diana.

Shutter Speed: 1/500.00 F-stop: f/9.0
Focal Length: 35.00

© Dale Hardin
Sony A77 SLT

 
 
 
Elaine Hessler
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/10/2011
    Really nice with the background! I like the flow of the plant and the background is perfect. How did you do that? Would you ind posting the original picture of the bonsai?


To love this question, log in above
8/31/2012 12:05:06 PM

 
Kristin Duff
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/23/2012
Contact Kristin
Kristin's Gallery
 

I like this photo too Dale. I am also curious to see the original...


To love this comment, log in above
8/31/2012 12:39:14 PM

 
Peter W. Marks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/5/2006
Contact Peter
Peter's Gallery
 

OK Dale, unless you were sworn to secrecy will you share the technique with us please. It certainly is effective.


To love this comment, log in above
8/31/2012 2:50:59 PM

 
Jeff E Jensen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/8/2008
Contact Jeff E
Jeff E's Gallery
 

Yup, what gives?


To love this comment, log in above
8/31/2012 2:59:14 PM

 
Kay E. Mahoney
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/23/2003
Contact Kay
Kay's Gallery
 

Nice work, Dale. Beautiful bonsai. Love the background. Would also love to know how it was done.


To love this comment, log in above
8/31/2012 3:33:05 PM

 
Carol Flisak
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2009
Contact Carol
Carol's Gallery
carolflisakphoto.com
 

This is lovely, Dale... wonderful composition, beautiful body language in the bonsai, and well-executed treatment! I would also be interested in knowing your process... if you're willling to share.


To love this comment, log in above
8/31/2012 4:31:23 PM

 
Teresa H. Hunt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2008
Contact Teresa
Teresa's Gallery
 

Love this Dale!! It's really not right you tell us you learned this cool new technique . . . but don't share the technique. :)


To love this comment, log in above
8/31/2012 7:15:44 PM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

 
You're all very kind. Thanks for the take on this image. This technique is one used for changing out skies when there are trees with lots of open leaves and limbs that would be next to impossible to select.

The trick is to change the image of the trees to a mask and use that mask when replacing the back ground. Diana showcased the procedure in this months issue of Elements User.

Here are the basics:
Duplicate image. Change to grayscale. Use hue/saturation layer and adjust each color individually. Blue and cyan, saturation slider all the way left, lightness slider all the way right.

All the rest of the colors saturation slider all the way left and lightness slider all the way left also. Say OK.

Add levels layer, move right slider to the center untill background solid white. Move left slider to the right untill image of tree is black. (you may have to use a black/white brush to clean up some problem areas.

Highlight layer and control A to select and control C to copy. Hide layer.

Make another copy of background layer and add mask. Alt click on the mask to make the mask the main image. Your screen image will turn white. Paste the copied selection into the mask. Invert the mask.

Place blank layer under the masked layer and paste in your desired background.

Here are some more samples. Some used this technique and some did not.


To love this comment, log in above
8/31/2012 8:44:44 PM

 
Peter W. Marks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/5/2006
Contact Peter
Peter's Gallery
 

Thank you so much Dale and of course Diana. Now I am wondering if I will live long enough to grow a bonsai tree so that I can try my hand at this technique.


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 4:03:36 AM

 
Aimee c. Eisaman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/13/2007
 

What a great image! :~) Very artistic...would look great in an office. I do see an area where the selection didn't do as well. Along the left side of the trunk of the tree. Is that due to the color of the trunk? Now you can have Bonsai trees all around you and you don't have to worry about killing them!


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 5:55:53 AM

 
Carol Flisak
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2009
Contact Carol
Carol's Gallery
carolflisakphoto.com
 

Thanks for sharing your technique!


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 6:11:30 AM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

Thanks Peter, and not to worry, you've already lived long enough to grow one of these. Here's a tip. Use a juniper bush and you can make one right away with no waiting.

Thanks so much Aimee. You're right about the left side. There can be some cleanup needed, as I noted in the instructions. Got in a hurry and missed that one.

Thanks Carol, but it's Diane that needs the praise. I'd used this before but she filled in areas I was having difficutly solving. After you do it a couple times it doesn't feel so complicated. In many cases if the background is solid, using a simple threshold layer will do the same thing.

I've had mixed success with the threshold though and this is more consistent.


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 8:42:55 AM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

 
A few more from the DC trip.


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 9:06:27 AM

 
Aimee c. Eisaman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/13/2007
 

I really like the tree in image 9...not sure why, but I like it's personality!


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 9:37:53 AM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

Thanks Aimee. I have a fuller version. I think I cropped too much off the bottom on this. Also wish I'd taken an image of each of the trees on display. Will no better next time. :o)


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 11:55:16 AM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

Duh! Will "know" better next time .....


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 12:02:06 PM

 
Stephen Shoff
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/23/2008
 

Well, I certainly think you greatly improved the composition and interest in the picture with your background replacement. Nice job.


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 8:24:52 PM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

Thank you Stephen.


To love this comment, log in above
9/1/2012 9:29:17 PM

 
Aimee c. Eisaman
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/13/2007
 

:)


To love this comment, log in above
9/2/2012 4:17:55 AM

 
lisa anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/4/2011
Contact lisa
lisa's Gallery
 

Wow, Dale! What a nice series! I really enjoy image 4 and 5 especially.


To love this comment, log in above
9/2/2012 6:12:49 AM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

Thank you Lisa. It's fun to play around with images like this. Wish I had a better sense of color though. Never seem to know what kind of texture works well with a particular scene.

You should see all those I rejected befor finally saying "this one looks OK, I guess."


To love this comment, log in above
9/2/2012 9:10:32 AM

 
Beth Spencer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/7/2006
Contact Beth
Beth's Gallery
 

These are all awesome Dale!!! I really like Edit 5!! Thanks so much for sharing! I really hope I can try this in the near future.


To love this comment, log in above
9/2/2012 8:42:07 PM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

Thanks Beth. The technique works very well for images like this and for sky replacement where trees are involved and there is a fairly solid background.

On images 1,2,6,9,and 10 I did not use the technique. Those were done in a different way.


To love this comment, log in above
9/2/2012 9:31:21 PM

 
Debbie E. Payne
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/21/2006
Contact Debbie
Debbie's Gallery
 

I would love to try this technique, Dale. I have some bonsai trees from the Chicago Botanical Gardens that it might work with nicely. One of these days.


To love this comment, log in above
9/3/2012 10:11:49 AM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

give it a go Debbie. I forgot to mention that in some cases you end up with a slight white glow outlining part of the image, but by blending with the darken blend, they go away. You may have to do a bit of touchup on the main image that the blend effects.


To love this comment, log in above
9/3/2012 5:36:19 PM

 
Debbra L. Bailey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/9/2007
Contact Debbra
Debbra's Gallery
phosterimages.com
 

Goodness Dale, these are gorgeous!!! LOVE them!


To love this comment, log in above
9/4/2012 7:05:27 PM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

Thanks so much Deb. You've made my day.


To love this comment, log in above
9/4/2012 8:44:30 PM

 
Katherine Kuhn
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2005
Contact Katherine
Katherine's Gallery
 

Really great work, Dale! I love these!! And thanks for the step-by-step explanation. A beautiful collection of bonsai for sure!


To love this comment, log in above
9/13/2012 12:05:32 PM

 
Dale Hardin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/12/2006
Contact Dale
Dale's Gallery
 

thanks Katherine. I'm ready to come back to Oregon and check out some more gardens. See you there? :o)


To love this comment, log in above
9/13/2012 2:45:56 PM

 
Log in or sign up to respond | Contest | Gallery | Discussions