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January 7, 2008

Study of a Agave at the Hungtington Gardens #1

Agave Plant
(c) John Corney 2008
 This first study of an agave comes from my recent visit to the Huntington Library botanical gardens. You can see the original photo from which I created this and the other two versions in the following posts by scrolling down to the bottom of this post.

In creating this image you'll see that I first of all cropped out a lot of the distracting background so as to focus just on the agave.

I then selected the remaining background and darkened it. I found that the new Quick Selection Tool that comes with Photoshop CS3 worked perfectly in this case since there was a nicely defined border along the edge of the agave; the tool was able to find this edge easily.

I saved off the selection of the agave(Select>Save Selection) in case I needed to work with the selection again and also for what I was going to do in the following images. I wanted to essentially make the remaining pieces of background between the agave "leaves" black, but if I were to just simply fill those areas with black it could look unnatural, so first of all I actually blurred these areas using Lens Blur and then filled them with black and lowered the opacity down to something like 80%. This way these parts of the photo don't just look like they were cut out and blend into the background.

I did some adjustments to levels and layers as I always do, and then I made a copy of the merged layers and in this case changed its blending mode to Luminosity, also adjusting the opacity and fill levels a little. Essentially they are the steps I used in the "digital darkroom" in creating this photo.

Original photo of this agave at the Huntington Library gardensThe original photo of the agave.

Agave Study #2

Agave Study #3

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