Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Making Peace

"Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice." (Baruch Spinoza)

Our "Peace" image made the cover of a publication that advertises small Montana businesses (like us!) and promotes the benefits of shopping locally. The multi-layer image features myself and Tracy, with our dogs Abbey and Jodie. Tracy and I were on the front page of the local newspaper a few years back, but this is the first time our dogs have been cover girls. Modeling fees were negotiated in terms of dog cookies.

If you've never worked with layered photographs, then the image can look like some sort of magic trick. But it's really more straight-forward than it appears, and the only "trick" is pre-visualizing what you want to achieve in the end.

From a neighbor's deck overlooking our small (frozen) lake, Tracy guided me from above as I carved out the letters with a snow shovel. Then I placed the camera/tripod on the deck and programmed it to take an image every 30 seconds. All we had to do then was run around and have fun on the ice. After several minutes, I had enough images to select four favorites. A short window of time was important so the lighting would be exactly the same for every image selected and assembled.

We minimized footprints in the snow by entering from the bottom of the "P" and jumping between letters. But the dogs didn't follow protocol, and I had to clone out a few dog tracks.
I posted a short time-lapse video here a while back that shows the basic process.

As you can see, Making Peace does not involve magic, and it might be more achievable than it first appears -- and that's a holiday message worth promoting.

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