Snow Angel

This is my fun image of the day. I actually have been waiting for a fresh snow followed by a cold day so I could get a shot like this. (If it’s too warm, then the snow melts right off the tree. If it’s too cold, the snow is icy, not fluffy.) Even though I’ve had this shot in my head for about a month now (we haven’t had a good snow since Christmas), it didn’t turn out as I envisioned. Oh well. It’s my own fault. But I still like this shot, and I still like the concept, so it’s something I can work on as we get more snow & Olivia is willing to participate.

Part of my poor planning was that I didn’t have the proper clothes. I wanted a really long green scarf, dark pants, and a wool coat. Oliva owns none of these things. This morning when I realized conditions were perfect, I scrambled! I went to Savers (which apparently is THE place to be on Monday mornings at 9:30 am). No green scarves. No dark pants. No wool coats. I settled for this pink scarf, figuring it was about the saturation of the green I envisioned. Then I dug out a coat I bought for Cal last fall, that is for next winter (size 2T). It seemed to fit Olivia okay. The other major problem with this picture (when one compares it to my original idea) is the horizontal nature, and the distance of the trees. I had in mind a vertical image, with the trees towering over O. But Cal was with us on this photo shoot, and I didn’t want to go farther than 20 yards from the car (where he waited, unhappily). Ergo the trees were a bit farther off. It gives me opportunity to improve.

First thing I did was crop the image, clone out the footsteps in the snow, and change the scarf and pants green. I ended up changing and playing with the colors on the scarf and pants about 4 times each before I got it right. (The sample above was not right.).

Then I fixed my contrast & saturation curves and ran a slight sharpen filter on it.

Next I added some slight color to the snow, using aqua greens and blues with a brush on color dodge & color burn mode between 10-3% opacity.

Finally I merge copied all layers into one layer and ran a lens blur on it. I then used a layer mask to paint back in the areas that I wanted to be in focus. Because it’s not a true lens blur, I actually think it adds a bit of “magic” to the image . . . like looking through a frosted window pane in winter. Cool.

And the last thing I did was brighten up the scarf (yet again) so that it really pops. Click on the image above to see a larger version.

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