Recently I went for a walk on a beautiful mild February day (as we have here in the southern U.S.) and shot an image of a line of trees at the edge of a field. The grass was green, the sky was blue, and there was one tree that stood out as the “star” in the line of fairly uniform trees. The image was pleasant enough, but not terribly interesting (see the original image below). I decided I would add a bit of drama by transforming the daylight scene to a dusky scene (the image above).
For the first step, I applied the Topaz ReStyle “Smoke Gray Veil” filter, which, as you might guess from the name, softened and grayed down the image. Next I added the Photoshop Cooling Filter (80) at 10% opacity to add a blue tint. I also bumped up the contrast a bit, which made the trees and ground a bit darker, and the sky just above the tree line a bit brighter, as if the sun nearing the horizon were adding a slight glow. I then added just a tad of reddish tint to the ground and tree line by using the Topaz ReStyle “Scarlet and Schist” filter. For this filter, I used the soft light blend mode at 32% and limited the filter to the ground and tree line only by using a layer mask.
The next part of the transformation was probably the most fun … adding the dusky sunset clouds to the sky. I love cloudscapes, and anytime I see interesting clouds, I try to capture them. Some of the cloud images stand on their own, and others I keep in a folder for just this purpose … compositing them into other images. So, first I inserted a sky photo with the darker wispy clouds, using the multiply blend mode at 85%. Next, I inserted a sunset sky photo with the pink wispy clouds, using the vivid light blend mode at 66%.
The last item I added was the “Difference Maker” texture from Shadowhouse Creations, using the soft light blend mode at 45%. This texture is basically a subtle brownish overlay that, well, makes a difference, by just giving the image a richer look. (If you use textures, I urge you to check out Shadowhouse Creations, by Jerry Jones, at shadowhousecreations.blogspot.com. Jones is a very talented artist who generously provides textures and actions free of charge. He does welcome donations to keep his website going.)
Finally, a few brightness and contrast tweaks here and there and voila! The image was complete.
I hope you enjoy the image as much as I enjoyed transforming it. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment. As always, I wish you happy shooting and a satisfying photographic journey!