I was the pianist for the early service this morning at church. I searched and searched for a prelude to use this morning, and nothing worked for me yesterday. I simply had no idea what I was going to play until this morning as I was assembling my notebook before going to church. I saw a couple of things that looked “interesting”: “To God Be the Glory,” “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” to name them. I decided to use the latter as the prelude and the former as the postlude.
And that’s a long-winded way to explain my photo. I came home from church and fixed my bagel for breakfast. As I sat down to eat, I looked out the window at the bird feeders, and this house finch was having his breakfast, too! I grabbed the camera found the CF card, and snapped just a couple. Then, I played.
I had ordered Susan Tuttle’s book, Digital Expressions, which is a a collection of tutorials for creating digital art in Photoshop Elements. Last night I began working through a couple of the first ones, the easier ones. Lesson one, as I call it, is how to create a vignette, while the second lesson is about creating a pop of color. Well, my finch is not exactly brilliantly colored, but I did want to isolate him and let him be the focal point in the image. I could have cropped the image closer, but I wanted the context of the feeder. So I combined the two lessons.
First, I used the marquee tool to trace around the bird. After selecting it, I used Shift-Control-I to “inverse” it. I created a Hue-Saturation layer, and desaturated the image. I did have to clean up the image a bit with the clone tool. Then I increased the contrast a bit (36% or so). I merged the layers before creating the vignette.
To create the vignette, I used the elliptical marquee tool to mark the feeder and the bird, “inversed” the selections, and added a new fill layer. I used black as the color to fill. I set the feather setting between 40 and 60 (I forgot the actual setting). I lowered the opacity of the vignette to about 80% so that it would blend a little bit better.
I like the results. The finch is the focal point; desaturating the background puts the emphasis on the bird, which is still in color, and the vignette draws the eye to the bird as well. I think this is a good way to hide a busy background.