Author: David Halgrimson
On a not too recent trip to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico on an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop I gathered many images of birds and landscapes over a weeks time and I wanted to create an image depicting the great experience and the wonderful birds. But…now what? Well I had been taking an online class in Grunge Photography, if you have not heard of it, Google it; you will see some cool stuff.
After looking through my many images I put on my creative hat, it’s not very big but growing, and decided to use a number of the images from the Bosque del Apache shoot. I decided on 5 Bosque images and a couple grunge images I had taken of some weird wall and rusted metal. BTW, part of doing grunge is seeing and taking pictures of crazy things like cracked cement, rusted metal, and broken glass, anything to use as a background or overlay all to blend with other images.
I created my image in Photoshop but it can also be done in Elements and maybe other software that I don’t know about. The technique uses extensive use of Layers, Blend modes, Masks and Brushes. The idea is to layer one image onto another, selecting a blend mode that combines the two followed by using masks and brushes to hide or reveal parts of the two images followed by layering in another image and doing the same thing, followed by another layer and another and so on.
My final image is a combination of seven images, twelve layers (some adjustment layers) and seven masks. Preprocessing of each image also needs to be done as each image should be ready to go into and fit the composition. For example I flipped a couple of the bird images so they would be flying into the image not out of the image. I also added three text layers for “The Birds of Bosque del Apache” as I wanted different effects for parts of the text.
This is not an overnight process; it takes time, thought, trial and error, doing, and undoing. I probably have fifteen hours or more on this image not counting the hours put into taking the class. I found it to be well worth the effort and if interested check out Photoshop Artistry at https://fineartgrunge.com/grungecanvas/.
All the images used and the final image are here to see.
David Halgrimson is a Trip Leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.