Today’s image is the centerpiece of this week’s episode (#15) of Perfect Inspiration with– and I think the messaging behind it is important for us as photographers to keep in mind when we’re shooting frenetically. If you want, feel free to read the text below first and then come back to click through and watch the workflow video.
This was my very first time ever seeing hot air balloons in person, much less aglow at night. I was joined by some of my favorite people –, , and… yeah… even [shudder]. We got together to shoot the Tigard Festival of Balloons, something that I’d been looking forward to for many months.
The event went off without a hitch but what was surprising was the lack of coordination between the hot air balloon operators to glow their balloons at the same time. Not to worry, I thought. I’ll just take separate exposures of each balloon as it glows and mask it in post.
That’s all well and good until you find out later that night that you forgot to get an exposure of the largest balloon in your frame aglow.
As a photographer, your skills are truly put to the test in situations like this one – poop has hit the fan. That is a fact. Now, how do you respond to this fact? That is where your mettle is truly put on display.
For me, it just so happened that I had a test shot from a slightly different vantage point that had this balloon aglow. As far as I was concerned, this was my proverbial needle in the haystack. I felt confident in my masking abilities to be able to replace the dim balloon with the glowing one – at least to the point where it would salvage the overall concept of my shot.
In the end, I walked away with a shot that I’m really happy with and it’s really all because of some dumb luck and crafty masking. Of course, had I paid closer attention when I was in the field, this whole freaking post would be moot… but who’s counting? ;)
In terms of processing
Normally, this space is reserved for me to share the step-by-step process of how I got the final image shared here. However, if you click on the URL above, I recorded a video that walks you through the entire process – so check it out!
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