Merced Camera Club, Getting The Picture
Getting The Picture

This is a monthly (or so) feature of our site, in which Merced Camera Club members provide their thoughts
about the creation of some of our favorite images.

March, 2011

"Wildflower Trail" -- Floyd Hopper

How it’s done:


I enjoy using various techniques in creating artistic images. In landscapes, the technique I like to experiment with is the “Orton Effect”, first developed by Michael Orton. Orton imagery can create surreal, dreamy images with mood. There are many sources on the internet dealing with creating images using this technique. The one I have been using was developed by Darwin Wiggett. Here is his step by step process, using Photoshop Elements 6:

1. Open any image you wish to try the technique on. Make a duplicate of the image (Image>Duplicate). Close the original image.

2. Lighten the image as follows: Image>Apply Image… then in the dialog box that comes up change the blending mode to “Screen” and the Opacity to 100%. This will give you an appropriately overexposed image. (You may want to over expose your image more}

3. Duplicate this overexposed image (Image>Duplicate).

4. Blur this second image (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur… and in the dialog box use a Radius setting of 15 to 50 pixels – the higher the pixel setting the blurrier the photo and the more ‘painterly’ the image… but you can go too far!). Experiment with different settings, for my tastes and for the size of my digital files (50-100 megabytes) a radius of about 25 pixels works perfect.

5. Now select the move tool from the Photoshop tool bar (or just press “v” on your keyboard for quicker access to the move tool). Hold down the “shift” key and use your mouse to drag and drop the blurry image onto the sharp one (don’t let go of the shift key until after you release the mouse button or the images won’t be in perfect alignment).

6. Bring up the layers palette in Photoshop (F7 is the keyboard shortcut). Under the word “Layers” in the layers palette will be a menu box of blending modes. Change the blending mode from “normal” to “multiply”.

7. Now “flatten" the two layers by pressing “CTRL+E” or by clicking on the sideways triangle in the layers palette to select "flatten” (One note: You may have to adjust ligthing levels after you have flattened your image)

This technique may not work with all landscapes. Experimentation is half the fun.

The Birdie

Getting The Picture Archives

"Patriotism," Tom Frazier

"Baby Blue Eyes," Robert Dayton

"Stark Existence," Jim Cunningham

"The Old Barn" -Carlene Cunningham

"Dance" -Sam Shaw

"Snow Geese Flight Pattern" -Lloyd Bever