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Photograph with a plan, part four — final tweaks to complete the vision

Artistic vision and execution is what separates us as photographers. Here are my final renditions of the images I made when my plans went awry. Learn about the steps to get here by checking out my previous photograph with a plan articles; here’s part one, part two and part three.

Photoshop blend modes

I’m a big fan of blend modes and layers in Adobe Photoshop. When you add a texture utilizing different blend modes the feel of a scene can change drastically. It takes practice and lots of experimentation, and the use of opacity, layers and masks to make this technique work well.


Capturing the panorama was one of the first things that decided on as I was originally looking to capture a pano of the Milky Way. This is a long way from the Milky Way but it has its interesting pieces. I added some texture from a painting from the Phoenix Museum of Art. See the original capture sequence and build here.

sedona arizona panorama image
An artistic rendition of the Sedona, AZ panorama using textures and Photoshop blend modes.
layers palette for sedona arizona panorama
The layers build for the panoramic image

Juniper and Cathedral Rock

Blended images from small sections of paintings along with masking, dodging and burning bring this photo to a new realm. You can see where this image started in this article.

Final image of the Juniper with Cathedral Rock in the distance.
Layers palette showing textures, layers, adjustment layers, blend modes and masks.

Cathedral Rock sunset silhouette

At the time I was concentrating on the capture of the panoramic image. I felt, rather than saw, that I should look behind me. The sky was coloring up beautifully behind the silhouette of the back side of Cathedral Rock. I processed for the natural shot then it was playtime with other images, textures, blend modes, layers and masks.

It’s easy to go too far when working with this technique. It’s a good idea to keep layered PSD versions along the way so you can fall back to where you haven’t gone beyond.

End game

To call this series to an end, this is a reminder to make a plan but be flexible and keep your head on a swivel. you never know what will be happening behind you. Once you get back to your computer don’t forget to play!

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob

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Rafael Jones

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