Lets go Flying - Building a Still Life Image
Home on the Range

Home on the Range

Originally this Still Life image, 'Home on the Range', was just with a single eagle owl on the rock, with the sun behind it.
 

Alone....

Alone....

However, after I processed the image with the current tones that you see, I sat there looking at the finished photo and came to a realisation.

The bird is looking at something. There is an expression on its face. (I think that the owl is sporting a look of triumph). Because of this and feeling that I could create a more interesting composition, overall, I decided to add some birds flying around in the frame.

The flying birds were first shot with a 12-degree gridspot, shining from camera right, at 45 degrees, and a bounce card on the left. However, when I was compositing the shot I noticed that the highlights from the gridspot were on the right of the bird's wings, bodies and faces. Yet in the photo, the sun is shining from the left. Therefore any highlights need to be on the left side of the owls. A slightly irritating, yet fairly easy mistake to make.

I recreated the lighting setup with the grid spot shining at 130 degrees from camera left and the bounce cards on the right.

With the TS-E 90mm lens, I shot from different angles, slightly above, almost overhead and level. I turned the mode to face the front, sideways and back and took about 30 images.


The white background is essential for cutting objects out of the shot with the quick selection tool. The only problems I had using that cutting tool was where the highlights lay on the model as the tool had just minimal trouble at differentiating the brightness of the highlight from the background.

Once they were all cut out I selected the very best ones and used the Transform tool to resize and position them to where I thought created an interesting and balanced composition.

Depending on how distant each eagle owl was in the photo, I lowered the opacity accordingly, i.e. the smaller the bird, the further away it appears, therefore that bird had the lowest opacity of around 50 - 60%. The nearest bird had the highest, 80%

Overall I am glad that with this Still Life image I am glad that I took further steps to give the image more 'life' so to speak.