Sussex scene, Sardinian sky
I recently shared a photo on Instagram of Bosham in West Sussex which was well liked. It worked as a composition thanks to its composition and balance of warm and cool colour.
Yet it didn’t start like this. Straight out of camera as a DNG raw file, the colours were flat and the composition unpromising, with lots of scruffy weeds in the foreground and a largely empty sky:
My first task was to recompose the shot on where the interest lay: the church and surrounding houses on the waterfront. A more cinematic 16:9 crop worked better, too. Then I warmed up the colours, added contrast and sharpening in Lightroom:
Without clouds, however, the top of the frame needed filling. Thus I looked through my image library for an interesting sky to act as the backdrop. The lighting direction needed to match the scene: since the buildings were illuminated by the setting sun, an actual sunset would have looked wrong. An image of Sardinia fitted the bill; it just needed warming up to match the golden hour tones bathing the main subject:
In Photoshop I used the transform tool to enlarge the sky because I needed to use the left side of my Sardinia image to match the low horizon of my Sussex scene. Then I applied a luminosity mask, as popularised by Jimmy Macintyre, to blend the sky with my image. My finishing touch was to darken the water in the foreground using a gradient mask: