My Adventures In Photography

A while back I started a photography column for my hometown's local newspaper — you'll find all of my columns from those pages here as well as new ones that I write.

To see all of my blog posts to date, click here.

Downtown Big Rapids on the river

In my college years I used to play around in Adobe Photoshop frequently. In past columns I’ve touched on photo manipulation, but many of the topics focused mostly on manipulating a single subject in a photograph rather than the entire frame.

This week’s column goes the extra mile and fuses part of the downtown Big Rapids area with the Muskegon River as it runs through Hemlock Park.

Why?

You’ve never wondered what downtown would look like with the river running through it (without a flood)?

Well, I have. Not often, granted, but enough for at least this column.

I mean, who doesn’t want to walk out of Kilwin’s and jump right into a tube to head on down to Highland Park?

Yes, please.

All joking aside, this was a really fun photo manipulation to create and, as is typical, I really wasn’t 100 percent sure it would look very good when I was done putting the two images
together ... 

I’m just being honest here.

That’s usually how these projects start out: Me with a wacky idea and trying to see if I can pull it off.

The two base images are clearly of downtown and of the river. I had to make sure these two images had the same leading line as the other. The road needed to be headed in the same direction as the river.

That was the easy part, however. I said I took two images, but I did take a few more than that to help fuse things together.

For instance, the curb right next to the river with the cars parked actually comes from part of the street further down the road (so as to not be the exact same curb just duplicated).

So, other than some basic “doctoring” I really did only take two images ... ish.

For the Photoshop aficionados out there, I’m sure you can already deduce how I stitched this together, but it was primarily a lot (A LOT) of masking.

Thankfully I was met with a mostly blank sky, so using Color Range to select the blue in the sky for the river shot made blending all of those leaves and branches into the downtown shot a cinch.

If it had been a cloudier day I might have had to go in with the brush tool and weave my way through branches and I’m really glad I didn’t have to do that this time around.

One last challenge this image had in store for me was that I made a boo boo during the first shot. It was crooked.

Yes. I know better. My bad.

Thankfully, I caught it on my way down to Hemlock and made my second image crooked to match and straightening the photo in post was simple.

See? I told you this stuff kinda just happens on the fly.

Hope you enjoyed this one. I’m hoping to do more of these kinds of photo manipulations in future columns.

They’re an editing adventure.