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two turtles on a fallen tree, retouched in Photoshop


One day in March 2005 a friend persuaded me tag along to one of his favorite fishing haunts to take pictures of the turtles.

When we got to the river we split up so as not to get in each other’s way, he told me that the turtles like to sunbathe on fallen branches.

I headed off down river to a likely looking spot and, sure enough, the place was teaming with turtles.

As I approached, of course, they all jumped in the water and disappeared but I found that, if I waited a few minutes, the brave ones would soon return to their sunbathing.

Frustrated that I could not get close enough without getting wet, I waded into the water soaking my shoes, socks and trousers. Well sometimes you have to suffer for your art. I managed to get quite a few shots of the turtles and this one was my favorite of the day.

I did a little bit of after-work on this picture in Photoshop. The turtles blended into the background a bit too much for my liking so I wanted to blur the background to make them stand out more.

First I made a duplicate layer so I now had the entire photo on two layers. On the top layer I carefully drew a mask covering the turtles, the tree trunk and the lower half of the picture, then I deleted the background on the top layer.

On the bottom layer I made a mask using the quick mask and the gradient tool so the top of the picture was unmasked and the mask gradually got denser towards the middle.

Then I applied the gaussian blur filter so the background appears to get more blurred as the background recedes. It took a few attempts to get it right but I think you'll agree it looks quite natural.

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