Debunking myths on genetics and DNA

Monday, October 6, 2014

Golden fall colors and a little experimentation

Gold © EEG
The aspen leaves are turning again and I feel lucky I live in an area where I can witness their splendor. As with most things when it comes to landscape photography, fall colors too are best rendered either at sunrise or at sunset. Sadly, the forest closest to where I live burnt in 2011, and the next closest one is 1 hour drive away. Did I mention I'm not much of a morning person?

Last Friday I got there at 10 am. The colors were stunning, but I knew the light wasn't the best one could get. Still, I decided to make the best out of it. I came back home with 150 shots, of which this one was my favorite:


It's pretty, gives an idea of the gorgeous colors, but it's not a biting picture. I wanted something more, so I tried a little experiment (the result is the picture at the top). It turned out a lot more work than I had anticipated, and since many asked me how I achieved the final result, I decided to document it step by step.

First, copy the original picture into PS as a new layer, then make a duplicate layer. Mute the top layer and on the visible copy select Blur -> Motion Blur. Set the angle to 90 degrees. The pixel field will give the amount of blur you desire. I set it at 790 and got this:

The above has the foreground leaves blurred too, resulting in the yellow smears toward the bottom. I wanted the foreground leaves to be surrounded by dark colors, like in the original picture, so I duplicated this layer, took the bottom part only and then extended it so it now looked like this:

Next, I used the magic wand to select (from the original picture, which you can see as the hidden "Layer 1 copy" on the right) the dark colors for the branches I wanted in the foreground. When you do that, you get all browns in the picture, not just the ones you want, so you have to go back and erase the extra stuff you don't want in the background. This is what I got after that tedious process:

Same thing with the yellows this time:

And since neither the yellows or the browns got everything I wanted, I went back and manually selected everything I wanted in the next two steps:

It's tedious and it requires a lot of patience (and I'm sure the experts know of better and easier ways of doing this especially in CCS6 -- I'm only using elements here), but I really like the end result. :-)

If you're interested, I made a poster: $45, shipping included (within the US), email me at eegiorgi(at)


  1. Replies
    1. thanks Hollis, are the cottonwoods changing color already where you are? they still have about a week to go over here ...

    2. Indeed, the cottonwoods along the Laramie River are a great mix of colors -- I caught some of them and put them in a post this morning. But I'm having problems with my UV filter -- it leaves "streaks" or lines in the sky sometimes. You can see this in some of the photos. Any ideas as to what's going on?

    3. I'll come over to take a look...

  2. Wow! That is amazing!! I love the trees in the finished product.


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