Thursday, 23 October 2014


I shot this self-portrait in the exquisite palace where Bella Kotak and I lived for three blissful, sun-soaked days in Nusa Lembongan. This was taken the evening before we departed. I had been meaning to photograph there ever since we arrived, but kept putting it off and off until finally, I stopped procrastinating, borrowed Bella's tripod, and started creating. I was inspired by the symmetry of the palm fronds that extended skywards like the jewel of some Earthly crown and, of course, the rich emerald hues. Because I photographed just before dusk, the light was soft and the sky was still bright.

Here's how I used Photoshop to create my vision.

The tripod didn't have a rotating head, so I could only take horizontal images. Because of this, I had to shoot my body in two different shots and then merge them in Photoshop.

I knew that I would have to expand the image in Photoshop if I wanted to include the entire palm fronds and surrounding bushes. This required taking a lot of plates! I actually used more than shown here.

I opened the images in Photoshop and began to merge them using mostly layer masks and the clone tool.

I colour-graded the picture using Selective Colour (to dim the yellow tones), Curves (for contrast and colour), and Hue/Saturation (to increase the saturation).

At this stage, I used dodge/burn to help direct the viewer's eyes to the subject and removed distracting elements such as the hut in the background, brown bits on the leaves, gaps in the foliage, etc. This "tidying up" is the last thing I do to an image.

And it's done!


  1. wow! this is quite a lot of work, but definitely worth it! :) great shot!

    1. Thanks Julia! It was a lot of fun too. :)