Fran McFadzen, QPSA  

Starlight by Fran McFadzen, QPSA

November 2021 - Starlight

November 2021 - Fran McFadzen, QPSA


November 2021 - Fran McFadzen, QPSA

Original 2

November 2021 - Fran McFadzen, QPSA

Original 3

About the Image(s)

I wanted to try night lighting on a daylight image. I chose the horse in the paddock because it had interesting lighting giving lovely muscle definition on its flanks. Using the Pen Tool, I selected the horse in Photoshop, copied the horse, pasted to a new layer. Then put a black layer under the cut out horse. The I copied one of my milky way images above the black layer, and used the mask tool to selectively show only those parts at the top left. I also used Filter/Blur/Camera Blur to make it look as if only the horse was within the image's depth of field. I rotated the milky way layer so that it was pointing towards the horse. Because the horse was standing on grass and had a very hairy tail, I added a Gradient from the bottom to move the feet and tail out of the "light". To finish, I made a copy of all of the layers to the top using Ctl/Option/Shift/E. Then saved as a JPG.

8 comments posted

Steve Estill   Steve Estill
You've succeeded in creating the night lighting. This is a superb result. Thanks for showing the layer stack - it explains things a lot.
Have you tried Topaz Mask AI? It's an excellent tool for selecting complicated outlines (particularly hair).
Also, holding the Alt (Opt) key while you click 'Merge Visible' (From the dropdown at the top right of the layers palette) does the same as Ctrl/Opt/Shift/E. I find it much easier.   Posted: 11/08/2021 17:20:25

Fran McFadzen   Fran McFadzen
Thank you Steve. Appreciate your feedback.
I don't have Topaz Mask AI. And thanks for the shortcut. I tried it - it just merged everything without preserving any layers. Maybe I didn't hold my mouth right...   Posted: 11/08/2021 21:34:21

Candy Childrey   Candy Childrey
Beautiful image, Fran. You did a fabulous job of going from day to night. The lighting on the horse is beautiful. He seems to glow. Anchoring the horse to the ground with the gradient works well. It looks natural. The addition of stars from the milky way was the perfect finishing touch.   Posted: 11/13/2021 14:56:22

Jan Handman   Jan Handman
I agree with all of the previous comments. I'm not usually a fan of horse images, but you did such a great job of giving this one beautiful moody lighting that you gave him a certain je ne sais quoi. The catch light in his eye gives him a nice spark. Well done.   Posted: 11/15/2021 15:49:13

Alan Kaplan   Alan Kaplan
Great looking horse! a caveat: no judge who comes to my camera club gives high points for animal photographs in which the back of the animal is dominant.   Posted: 11/18/2021 08:18:13
Fran McFadzen   Fran McFadzen
Hahahaha, your judges must see themselves in those images then. Such conventions are fine for novices taking baby steps starting out, but really?

Anyway, the image took a Gold in my club comp. So not a recommendation here.   Posted: 11/18/2021 16:01:25

Brian Menzies   Brian Menzies
Hi Fran.
I enjoy photographing the milky way and when I first saw your image I wanted to get more of that into the shot. I had fun playing around and had your beautiful horse standing in a night lit field, more milky way etc. I then came back to your image and decided it blew mine away. The simplicity of the image makes it powerful. Well done.   Posted: 11/25/2021 16:04:43
Fran McFadzen   Fran McFadzen
Thanks Brian. Appreciate your comments.   Posted: 11/25/2021 16:16:17


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