Retouching “Chiron Of Thessaly” 115 Layers In 57 Hours

Photo Retouching “Chiron Of Thessaly” 115 Layers In 57 Hours

I love classical history & the myths of places like Greece & Turkey.
Since I was 19 I’ve been lucky to have travelled around many of the ancient sites of Greece and have a holiday home in Turkey which enables me to visit the many sites it has to offer too.
So anyway it was only going to be a matter of time before I started my second image inspired by this interest, the first image being “The Last Sacrifice Of Dienekies” which I produced for a video for my Digital Photography Training site a few years ago.


I decided to some Photo Retouching and create a self-promotional image based on one of the many Greek Myths and after several ideas, I decided that I’d create an image of Chiron the wise and gentle Centaur.
I envisaged a scene where he would be stood on the slopes of  Mount Pelion, the residence of the Centaurs with cliffs and a cave in the background.
The horse was not a problem to source as a neighbour had one that was perfect so this was shot first within just a few days of the idea.
The next problem would be finding the high cliffs and a cave if possible. This was actually the easiest part of the image as I live just an hour away from the beautiful and awesome location that is Cheddar Gorge here in Somerset.
The location was perfect and within an hour or so I had all the elements I could possibly want for my Mount Pelion lookalike including some very brave mountain goats high up on the cliffs.
Sourcing a suitable model that suited my vision for the shot I thought may take a little time to cast but once again I was proved wrong. I remembered a model called John who I was talking too about another shoot several weeks before who was very keen to be involved and had the look I was after so a date was set for the shoot at my studio at The Monks Yard.
Before this, though I had to get some suitable props together and I managed to source these once again locally in Somerset at a very reasonable cost.
Bath Theatrical at Frome is an amazing warehouse full of costumes and props and reminded me of the scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark where they store away the Ark in the wooden crate inside that huge warehouse (there goes my imagination again !).
The shoot with John the model went well despite him feeling very under the weather but being the professional he is he just got on with the job and never moaned.
My initial plan was to shoot outside in the grounds of the studio as I needed soft diffused light to match the other elements already shot. I decided against this idea as being October it was pretty cold outside and felt it was unfair to expect John to stand around half-dressed when he was feeling so groggy.
I decided that the light was perfect in the glassed roofed side entrance to the studio and it was just large enough for the shots needed and also heated!
We managed to complete all the angles I wanted plus captured some individual shots of the props for my archives in case I ever need them.

Professional photo retouching can be time-consuming to produce the final detail needed. The final working PSD image for this image consisted of approx 115 layers and took 57 hours to complete.



Graceful Killers

A while ago I was asked by a client if I could shoot some promotional images and video at the Airbus family day in Bristol.Although only open to Airbus employees and their families the event is huge and hosts a variety of great aircrafts.
I love planes probably because they generally take you somewhere nice 🙂 and not being one to miss an opportunity to add some shots to my compositing archive to save for a rainy day I shot till I could shoot no more.
Having some unexpected spare time this week I decided to trawl through my archives and create the image posted here titled “Graceful Killers”.
At the time of writing I’m still researching with help from some kind fellow photographers on Pro Imaging to what these WW1 fighter planes actually are, of course if you know feel free to post below.


The Unamed Life Image


A new year brings a time to look at your work/life and where you want to be heading.However It was in fact last June while while in Turkey that I decided it was time to start shooting more people/life images.

I’d found myself shooting very little life based images over the last couple of years and capturing the landscape alone was no logger challenging me enough and I was getting creatively a little stale.I also needed to produce a new book (Portfolio) for the coming year so new work was needed.

I started my Professional career shooting lifestyle images of models for Clarks Shoes so shooting people whether models,celebrities or cornish fishermen (that’s another blog post !) have always featured in my body of work somewhere and something I enjoyed and felt very comfortable doing.

So last week I started to make calls to various people in the South West from semi pro cyclists to fossil hunters and introducing myself and my work and simply asking if I may photograph them.So far he response has been very good and images from my recently completed shoots will be posted here shortly.


In the meantime here is an image that I have just completed to add to my personal project “Life In A Somerset Landscape” The project features animals in well known Somerset Landscapes and has challenged me both as photographer and retoucher with this particular image taking approx 4 days to complete in post production alone.


The Fox was photographed at Secret World Wildlife Rescue near where I grew up in West Huntspill Somerset. The lovely people at Secret World where very helpful and kindly allowed me to get up close and personal with their rescued foxes and I got some great images despite falling up to my knee in a hole full of ditch water !

For the techies the layered photoshop image was a bit of a monster at well over 1 Gb in size and consisted of 30 layers which is not uncommon for some of my images.

The location in the image is Burrow Mump located on the Somerset Levels and the image is as yet unnamed so if you can think of a great title I’d love you to post your idea in the comments below.


Balearic Dusk

Not many pictures I capture escape through my workflow without entering Photoshop for some (quite often extensive) post production work.I have always manipulated my work even before Digital Imaging became available I would spend a week at a time in the darkroom manipulating cibachrome prints.
Having said all that I never retouch an image for the sake of it but I do see it as a natural extension to my photographic vision same as was years ago in the darkroom.
The image shown here is one (of several) I captured from a recent trip to Menorca Spain which had very little retouching applied to it.
On this particular image all that was required was to adjust tone and a few tricks to bring out some of the wonderful but hidden colours that where evident in the rocks.


Praha “44” Image

Today I finally applied the last finishing touches to my latest image creation Praha “44”
I’ve been working on some new ideas for my book (Portfolio) and decided to produce an image that inspired me several years ago.

In 2006 I went to Prague to shoot some images and 360 HDR Spheres for some CGI images of Trucks that I was collbortating on with CGI Artist Andrew Jackson.


One morning while there I found myself wandering the streets in the dark (Pre Dawn) around the Charles Bridge shooting some of the beautiful buildings and cobbled streets.
While studying the scene below (steps leading down from the bridge) in the slighly damp eerie dark of that particular November morning I could easily envisage a scene from the occupied era of Prague in front of me.
I decided it could at some point make a great backdrop to a composit image complete with a German Officer.

I’m extremely pleased with the final image and it could not be any closer to my original vision all those years ago.

As with all composit images planning was the formula to the final sucess.



Praha “44”

The Lighting setup was pretty simple in terms of equipment used but needed lots of attention to get the look to fit in with the background street lighting while also allowing enough detail in the very dark fabric of the German Officers uniform.





A stunning photography location the Gumbet Windmills

A stunning photography location, the Gumbet Windmills

I travel to Turkey quite a lot and I’m fortunate to have a home there from which to explore the many areas of historical interest and is a fabulous photography location.

On this particular trip, I left my friends to enjoy an evening meal together and borrowed my Turkish friend’s car to travel & capture the Windmills in the beautiful evening light.
The Windmills are located on a headland high above the bays of Gumbet and Bodrum and give a wonderful view over the sea and mountains. I’d been told about this location many times by Turkish friends but unfortunately, on arrival, I found it a little disappointing compared to the vision that I had built up in my mind.

I decided that seeing I was not being commissioned to capture scenery photography and to shoot a faithful representation of the place that I would stay true to my own vision (as I often do) of this beautiful location by moving a few elements around and clean the place up a little with some highend retouching.

My main disappointment at the location was the fact that the stunning view behind the windmills was not clearly visible so I decided to rectify this by raising the sea & mountains.
This was accomplished by capturing the precise images I needed than in post cleaning out a couple of the more derelict windmills so that the view could be seen behind.
This image was also made into an image retouching training Video called “Moving Mountains”




Turkey 2009 Images for Prophotoinsights Video Training, View from Peninsular between Gumbet & Bodrum where windmills are located.




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