A small pool of water after the showers used to photography a reflection the Campanile di San Marco.
We had a lot of rain the first couple of days in Venice. Too hard to shoot photos in, from time to time, but in the spells without too much rain, we took out our camera’s. A good thing about the rain is that many people disappear into restaurants, shops and cafes, and you can get a photo of the Piazza San Marco without too many people.
The making of this photo
I literally sat down my Nikon D800 on at the edge of this pool of water and shot my HDR 5 shots. I have got an L-plate on the camera, that makes it very easy to snap on and off my ball head and change from horizontal to vertical. Another advantage is, that it gives a sort of a foot to have the camera on, and I just placed that straight on the ground.
One of the five bracketed shots unedited. As you can see the surface of the water is not perfect.
The surface is of the poodle is not perfect. What I did to compensate for that, was to make a duplicate of the layer, flip it vertically, and blur the flipped layer slightly, using Gaussian Blur. The purpose of the blue is to match the blur the water gives. I don’t like a too perfect reflection.
Then I placed the new flipped layer in the right place and put a black mask on it and painted through with a white brush. In Photoshop it looks like this:
First the layer is duplicated. This is done by pressing CTRL + J or on a Mac CMD + J. The next step is to to blur the newly flipped layer, to match the blur of the tower in the poodle. Pick somewhere, where you like the blur level. It is a part of what makes it balance between the unreal and the believable.
The next step is to place the layers exactly on top of each other. To do this I use the Rotate tool, found under Edit->Transform->Rotate. I will end up using the flipped layer completely in the pool, but it still have to look like a straight tower. To be able to place the tower correctly, I change the opacity of the top layer momentarily. It’s a classic mistake to forget to set it back to 100%, and then you can’t figure out what is wrong.
The last step is to mix the two layers. That is done by using a mask. I prefer to work with a black mask and use a white brush to paint through.
I did some extra clean up in the photo. The person in the very green jacket I removed by using some of the bracketed exposures. The person is moving quite fast and is not in the same location in any of my shots. By blending the layers, changing the exposure to the appropiate level, I could completely remove the person.