The Winskill Thorn

Over My Shoulder

Winskill Thorn

This is an 'Over My Shoulder' demonstration taken from my Creativity Beyond the Camera Club which I hope you enjoy.

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The Pep Ventosa style

This can be something of a challenge! Shooting in the style of Pep Ventosa requires the implementation of various photographic disciplines, not least a fair knowledge of your processing software.

In the first video I have you accompany me as I shoot my way around a small Hawthorn tree that grows in limestone pavement above Settle in the Yorkshire Dales.

And it the two videos below I show you my processes, first of all in Lightroom as I process the images and prepare them for layering. Then I walk you through my method in Photoshop using layer blend modes and layer masks to create the effect I want.

I didn't want to copy Ventosa's technique here, I don't need to do that. Rather it was my intention to draw on him for inspiration as I create something that is wholly mine from my experience. Hence the final image pays homage to him but is not a duplication.

As you'll see from the exploration of his website below, he uses up to 200 images to create one of his 'Trees in the Round' series and spends perhaps days tweaking and revisiting the work in software. In my image I combined about 8 layers from the shots I took to craft a personal vision of my time with the Winskill Thorn.

View this as more of a demonstration than a pure tutorial as some of the techniques are quite in depth and need their own lesson! And the good news is these will be coming very soon to Creativity Beyond the Camera Club as I commence an image processing course into the mix early in September.

In this second video I invite you to have a look at the images that Pep Ventosa is most famous for. I invite you to have a browse around his website too. Here's the link.

Preparing the images in Lightroom.

This is the next stage of my process. After evaluating the files I choose the ones I will most likely be working with and apply blanket changes before drilling down and working on the individual images. This needn't take long.

I choose to then export the images as photoshop files at my chosen file size however it is usual to export your chosen shots as layers in photoshop as this will mean you can skip a step or two. As my camera produces massive files I don't normally opt for this approach and would rather fine tune my images and cherry pick the ones I intend to use.

Compositing and completing the final piece

Finally, once the images are in Photoshop I begin work on them. Demonstrated here is my own particular approach which need not be yours. Perhaps it's easier to simply add the images as layers, select overlay, darken or lighten as the blend mode and then reduce the opacity to somewhere between 30% and 50% to allow the different layers to play nicely together.

My approach of using layer masks to show or hide chosen areas of each layer, and of using adjustment layers to alter the contrast and vibrance is rather advanced and perhaps not something for a beginner to be too worried about.

I will be adding detailed step-by-step lessons on all of the techniques I use to the new 'Image Processing' course in coming weeks. This will be a resource of my favourite techniques that will grow constantly over the coming months.

My Final Image

And here's my final image and I must say it looks good when printed out on A3 paper. As you can see it's not a copy of Pep Ventosa's stye. I've not used many images of the tree as I decided to make the most of it's interesting shape rather than make it symmetrical. My attention was focused as much on the foreground and adding Pen-Y-Ghent into the mix along with a subtle nod to Ingleborough on the left (which could be worked up to be more apparent).