While I was sitting the meditation course this summer, I spent a lot of time enjoying the beauty of nature that surrounded me. It’s amazing what you’ll see when you allow yourself to take the time to just sit and witness. I especially loved watching the trees, I would spend hours just laying in the grass and staring up at the tall, incredibly strong trees swaying in the wind. I was quite infatuated with this, and during those 10 days I envisioned a lot of neat photography ideas related to what I saw. I plan to build upon this first photo and continue with the One with Nature theme during this Project 52, and I’m really excited about it!!
On to the details…
First off, I’m introducing a new stage of BTS, and that is the sketch. Let me warn you ahead of time (although your eyes probably went straight to it) that I am awful at sketching. I will probably get better over time, but honestly, I don’t really need to. The point of sketching is to get a ROUGH idea down of the picture you have in your head, and this was my idea –
There it is, the simple idea of my body and the tree bark molded in to one. As I’ve mentioned before, I love the way the sun pokes through the trees in the mornings and evenings, so I decided to do this shoot all natural. Lighting (ambient) is as follows –
That big circle behind me is the tree (there was no icon for that) and the sun was coming from camera left (my right side).
It doesn’t get easier than that. The main idea was to take a photo of the tree by itself, and then to take a photo of me pressed up against the tree (the awkward stance was unintentional), and to make some magic happen in Photoshop. You have to be quick this early in the morning, because the sun moves really fast!
Originally, I thought it would be cool to have the tree bark creeping up my stomach/chest (like my illustration) while my arms, shoulders, and head were out, but then it looked a bit like a tube top which I wasn’t crazy about. I played around with a few variations until I finally settled on this version which gave it a Tarzan-like feel.
In photoshop, I layered the bark photo on top, created a layer mask to have the bark appear only where I wanted, added some shadows in certain places to make it look like I was actually coming out of the tree, liquified some areas of the bark to give it some depth (like it was wrapping around me), and added a dark bark area on the ends to make it look like the bark was chipped off.
I also cropped it in quite a bit to give the focus more to the tree (and myself) rather than it’s surroundings. As much as I liked seeing the ground and the bottom of the tree trunk, it was a bit distracting to the eye (which I’m becoming more aware of when editing photos).
Not quite what I first envisioned, or the route I thought I’d take editing-wise, but I definitely learned a ton and had a lot of fun creating this one!!