Shooting for the moon
As I was coming back from my walk with the dog I noticed that the moon was looking quite large on the horizon. If you want to get a good picture of the moon with it as big as possible this is the best time to take your moon photo. So I ran inside the house and went to the upstairs terrace and shot some handheld photos of the moon. I didn’t have time to go and find the tripod, but what I did do was to steady the shots by holding the camera next to something solid. Also during the process there was a point where I could put the camera steady on the wall and that kept it good enough for a slightly longer shutter speed setting. I got a number of shots so that I could get the exposure correct for the moon and it could have been a good idea for me to shoot it as a HDR with the three exposures each of them 2 stops apart. What I did instead was to alter the exposure settings manually setting it at -3EV stops. This was the one that gave me the best image for the moon although the background was completely dark. As I was working with a camera RAW image I was able to pull back some detail from the shadow area.
Getting the moon photo to work
First of all I used the application Intensify Pro and although the application is helpful, it wasn’t so good for doing some masking on just the moon. Even though I set the edge of the brush for the masking as a hard edge it wasn’t working quite quite as I thought it should. So it was time for me to get into the bitmap editing application for the Mac called Pixelmator. This is a really good application which I should use more for all sorts of reasons. There are a huge number of tools for making adjustments to photos and plenty of tools which are good when you want to make some digital art. It doesn’t have some of the very specialised photo editing tools that you get in Intensify Pro, although it does offer more of a creative process for editing any sort of bitmap, digital art.
Using Pixelmator for photo editing
What I needed to do was to isolate the moon so that I could get the exposure setting correct and to get the contrast as required. This is easily done in Pixelmator by using the magic wand type selector. All you have to do is to click and drag until you have all of the area you want selected. With a light object on a dark background this is very easy to do. Once I had the moon just the way that I wanted it, I was able to invert the selection and then to start work on the background with the controls for the levels. I was able to get this so that the outline of the trees showed up really well.
The next problem that I wanted to sort out was that the colour was not really as I wanted it to be. I needed to get more of a blue sort of background and within Pixelmator there is a tool which allows me to alter the colour as I see fit. You can easily put in the hue and then decide how dark or light you want the colour to be.
Copying and pasting
I think it is in a Star Wars movie where there is a planet that has two moons. I can’t remember what that planet is called, but it came to mind as I was editing this photo. I thought it would be interesting and a little bit of fun just to add an extra moon to my photo so that there were two. All I had to do was to use a copy of my selection of the moon and to paste back in on a new layer. Just so that it looked a little bit different I made it a bit smaller and added some colour to it. Just a bit of fun with Pixelmator and I ended up with a photo that was edging more towards digital art.
One photo on top of another.
It can be quite fun and handy to use one photo on top of another using layers in Pixelmator. You can take a photo that will give you a textural effect as I did in this photo. I wanted to make it so that I had a grungy sort of texture on top of a floral photo. There is nothing wrong with pictures of flowers, but sometimes I think that there are just too many of them and I would rather do something a little bit more interesting. The thing to do is to alter the opacity of the top layer and also to change the blend mode and with some experimentation you can come up with some interesting and exciting effects.