Accidents will happen

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Tree Mandala
Tree Mandala

Working on an image I’d taken of some trees, I imported two slightly different Lightroom treatments of that image into Photoshop. My thinking was I might blend them to get something between the two treatments. On a whim I started playing with some different blend combinations and saw one I really liked (a subtractive blend).

But when I blew the image up on my screen, the effect disappeared!  I soon realized that the rendering I liked was a quirky result of a screen optimization process. Usually these optimizations give you a good representation of the image, but under extremes they can sometimes be weird. This was one of those times.

What this meant was the resultant image that I liked and wanted to continue processing didn’t really “exist” – it was a rendering artifact that only existed on the screen.

So to capture it I had to take six enlarged snapshots of the screen image, paste them together, and use the reassembled image as a starting point for more post-processing refinement. Luckily the size was large enough that I could avoid low-res pixelization.

The image you see is the further result of arranging four of the final images symmetrically to create a tapestry.

The following image is the result of a similar sort of accident. Frustrated with my inability to make the image work for me in Lightroom, I sent it over to Photoshop. There I idly experimented with some of Photoshop’s light-mixing modes and suddenly I had something I liked.

It would be misleading, however, to say that for either image I just got lucky. Stumbling upon the accident only happens after many trials and errors. And when the accident is found, the work has just begun.

Just as with normal photos, the “finishing” of post-processing is important, and with the accidents, it can be more arduous.