Due to overwhelming emails, comments and response we got on our “How Was This Picture Made #6” post, which went viral and got us over 25 million hits (funds from which we are planning to use for the next team retreat on the beaches of Mongolia), we decided to publish the answer to the last post today and not put our readers through the pain of having to wait.
As you can see from the EXIF information, our team has been heavily testing the Nikon D850, which is supposed to be announced tonight by 10 PM MST. Before our departure from the Nikon world, Nikon Japan wanted our team to be lured by the new offering and each of our team members got a prototype of the upcoming camera, the specs of which we cannot reveal due to the signed NDAs. Anyway, this particular photograph was something our team has been dreaming of executing for a long time, specifically: John Sherman and Bob Vishneski. John laid out the plan to execute this photo-shoot last year during our fall retreat in the mountains and his initial plan was to incorporate the endangered California condor into the shot. Unfortunately, while transporting the lucky #54, the poor fellow died from sea sickness – turns out that condors are allergic to saltwater and Puerto Rican grass:
Sad, but we had to move on with our shoot and find other options.
After scouting for an ultimate location, we found an uninhabited beach at the remote part of the island – free from light pollution and iguanas, which it turns out John Sherman is scared to death of. Next, we had to figure out a way how to use the beautiful beach setting at high noon to take our group photo. Spencer Cox brought two giant Octabanks from Broncolor, but forgot to bring the flash heads, so our solution was to start a campfire and diffuse the large amounts of light with Spencer’s expensive Broncolor Octabanks. Once we got them to emit a perfect amount of light to give us that soft, diffused light look, we knew it was time to set up the shot. Gladly, Bob Vishneski brought his infrared-converted Nikon D850 (which he got serviced by our friends at Kolari Vision, who are now carrying brand new IR AR coatings on filters), which we used as the primary camera.
Since this had to be a multiple exposure shot (just because), we had to use another camera to photograph John Sherman, who finally got into his comfortable Canon-sponsored sweater. Canon promised him the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS II lens in exchange for not seeing him in his birthday suit. Gladly, it all worked out perfectly, because the next thing we knew – there was another shot taken with a secret, yet unreleased Canon hybrid DSLR. Unfortunately, our team signed another NDA with Canon, so we cannot discuss the details (please don’t ask!).
The resulting two photographs were taken into Photoshop CC for editing. To be able to beautifully blend the two exposures together, we had to involve the most talented post-processing wizards in our team – Sharif and Tom. While the two were showing their amazing techniques, our team sat back on chairs and observed every hand movement of the two Photoshop masters. To make it easier to post-process the image and create a very natural blend, Tom was using a Wacom pen for dodging and burning, while Sharif was busy masking the layers with his Razer gaming mouse – all on one, extremely powerful desktop machine with the latest Core i7 CPU and 64 GB of RAM from Compaq.
We were extremely lucky to experience a beautiful double rainbow at the exact time the photo was taken, so we did not have to worry about boosting its colors or making any adjustments to it. As you can see, it turned out to be absolutely stunning!
Here is all the Photoshop work that went into making this picture work:
As you can see, a lot of time was spent putting this image together. Although we would love to provide a step by step tutorial on how to achieve this unique look, we decided to release a video tutorial instead, which we will offer for sale within the next 2 weeks. Here is the short summary of all the changes in the photo:
- Imported two layers into Photoshop
- Blended the layers using Luminosity Masks
- Used dodging and burning techniques to bring out the detail
- Used the infrared version of the image to pull out the details of the PL team
- Applied selective coloring on John Sherman from another photo
- Applied a High Pass filter for proper sharpening (used in Overlay blend mode)
This limited edition work of art is available for sale for our readers and fans. We will only release a total of 500 prints, which will be sold at 18×41′ print size. Finally, you can beautify your living room wall with this impressive, high-resolution print.
P.S. From the Entire PL Team: Happy April’s Fools Day!