Winter Still Life: Sea of Life

*A guest post by David Hayes.

A Different Approach

This winter I have been partaking of an online workshop by Kim Klassen called “Be Still 52.” What I like about this workshop is that it is making me focus on what makes a still life tick. A recent lesson had us exploring the use of backlighting and camera settings that I did with my Nikon DSLR. After I finished shooting with the Nikon, I picked up my iPhone6 and took a different approach. I’d like to share my workflow with you on how I created Sea of Light.

winter still life
Here’s the “taken from above shot” straight from my iPhone. Already I can see lots of potential!

winter still life
First thing I did was to open the app PS Express to do some basic editing and polishing. Cropping was the first order of business!

winter still life
Picking the “Square” preset, I moved the crop lines in close to the vase top.

winter still life
Liking what I saw here, I put this into place.

winter still life
Crop in place, I then moved to the “Adjustment” tool bar to work with such things as exposure, contrast, and clarity.

winter still life
With the cropping and basic adjustments in place, I saved the image and moved to the next app, Paint FX.

winter still life
I wanted to use the “Blur” tool in this app to give the background a soft focus look, knocking it back a bit. I clicked on the “FX” tool to bring this menu up.

winter still life
Going to the “Enhance” toolbar, I clicked on the “Blur” tool.

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I then painted a nice blur around the vase edge, which did exactly what I wanted…bringing the light bulbs more to the foreground and keeping the vase top edge.

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I saved this version and moved to the third and final app in this workflow, Stackables.

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Once the image loaded in Stackables, for my first layer I used the “Deep Ocean” filter with a blend mode of “Overlay”.

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I felt that Layer 1 needed a bit of tweaking, so for Layer 2, I went to the “Color Adjust” tool bar and adjusted for contrast, saturation, and exposure.

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To finish things up, I returned to the first set of filters and chose “Summer Glow” with a blend mode of “Overlay”. I also used the slider bar just below the image screen to tweak this setting a bit before saving this final version to my camera roll.

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Here’s the final version, Sea of Light. If you’d like to see more of this series, visit my blog: www.clearerreflections.com

For some great photography tips, check out:
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