Creating Pictures: A Storm at Sea
walking down a trail along the Marin shore of San Francisco bay I chanced upon a
sailboat that had loosened from its mooring and was aground at low tide on the
rocky waterfront. I had no immediate use for such a picture, but realizing that
the photograph might come in handy for a composite image at some later point. I
shot the boat from a number of different angles.
later I was shooting the rough seas off the coast of Marin County (at Rodeo
Beach) when it occurred to me I could composite the sailboat into the seas and
create a conceptual stock photo with themes such as danger, risk, challenge, and
over coming obstacles. As it turned out, the sea didn’t look stormy enough, so
I used the waves I had photographed to create a more impressive storm at sea. I
used a darkly cloudy sky I had photographed years earlier in Santa Fe, New
Mexico. I stripped out the sailboat, including all the various lines (ropes and
wires) using clipping paths in Photoshop. Next I pasted the boat into the
fictional storm and used a layer mask to make it look like the boat was actually
in the waves. With a layer mask I was able to “paint” the hull in and out in
different areas to create the illusion of some of the waves washing up against
Collecting images for future use
Recently I have created a number of stock photographs from photos that I have
taken just to have on hand for future use. In one such case I set about
creating a stock picture from one of a series of road photos I have taken over
the years. After opening the shot in Photoshop I used Bridge to peruse through
a folder of possible images I keep on hand. A brick wall picture I had shot
some months earlier in a Berkeley neighborhood stood out for me. I copied and
pasted the brick wall into the road picture. The process took about
half-an-hour and cost me nothing. Again, a layer mask was all that was needed to
reveal some of the weeds and rocks “in front” of the wall. The result was a
stock photo accepted by Getty into The Image Bank brand.
Need for Interiors
trying to add to my collection of interior spaces. I cringe when I think of all
the office and other interiors that I have shot in over the years, and failed to
take sufficient advantage of them. I make it a rule now to photograph any office
space, or other interior, that I am working in for possible use in a future
Another case of the success of having an interior space on hand can be seen in a
stock photo of a woman relaxing on a commercial jet. In this case the picture I
shot of an empty seat across the aisle from me on a flight back from Asia was
the key. I started with that photo and used a model to pose for me in my
Sausalito studio. I stripped her into the airplane seat and put a picture of a
blue sky from my files into the jet’s window. The result: A stock photo which
has been licensed numerous times as a Rights Managed image.
just never knows what image is going to be right…or how it is going to be used.
In yet another example an image shot of the ceiling of the Bangkok airport
became a great background for a picture of a child astronaut. Turned on its
side, the ceiling photo became an excellent high-tech background for a space
Creating a collection of composite parts is a key part of my stock strategy.
When I find a place or thing that catches my eye I try to shoot a variety of
angles, elevations, and lighting treatments. To create convincing composites
all those little details have to be right.
creating a library of composite parts I can make the rainy days amazingly