January One Photo Focus

Highlighting the creative magic behind post-processed photos

Happy One-Year Anniversary to One Photo Focus! It’s been such a fun year, seeing all the amazing, fun, and wonderfully crazy post-processing from all who have taken part in this forum. I can’t thank you enough for your support, your enthusiasm, and your friendship, as well as for sharing the “magic” behind your creations. I can’t think of a better way to begin 2016 than with a One Photo Focus post. And many thanks to Laura Macky of Laura Macky Photography for submitting our anniversary image.

So, 25 photographers found enough time in December to share their post-processing interpretations of Laura’s image. We begin with Laura’s “before” image, followed by the “afters,” and at the end, a gallery of all so you can watch the changes as you scroll through. Be sure to click the links to each participant’s blog as many have written posts “uncovering the magic” behind their “after” images. And if you would like to participate in February’s One Photo Focus, you’ll find all the details on the After-Before Friday Forum page.

Don’t forget to check out After-Before Friday, hosted by Benjamin Rowe on Aperture 64. There you can share the magic “after” of your own “before” image, every Friday except the first Friday of each month (when One Photo Focus runs)!


January One Photo Focus

Submitted by Laura Macky — Laura Macky Photography

Laura Macky, Laura Macky Photography

Submitted by Stacy Fischer — Visual Venturing

Stacy Fischer, Visual Venturing

Given that Laura photographed a ship run aground, I knew I wanted to create a scene with a lighthouse. Of course, that idea quickly morphed into a lighthouse on a stormy night. So I searched the internet for a lighthouse scene and brought both images into photoshop.

lighthouse at night

In PS, I selected the boat, copied and pasted it onto the lighthouse image, and used the move tool to change its size. From there, through trial and error, I added rain, using a noise filter and motion blur and I truly can’t remember what else. I had a hard time getting the colors the way I thought they should be, playing around a bit more with levels and saturation (and, yes, masks – yay for me!), and then bringing it back into LR and playing a bit more. In the end, I finally had to stop and walk away from it for a few days. Upon revisit, I ended up making the entire image much darker and bluer to better reflect a stormy night, added “fog” by using a number of radial filters in tandem with the dehaze slider, and then went back and forth with adjustments to the white/highlight level so the image wouldn’t be too muddy. Lots of trial and error on this image, and I’m still not sure I’m entirely happy with the result.

Laura’s image has, by far, been the biggest challenge for me. But, like Julie’s flower last month, working on it has added to my Photoshop knowledge, which definitely is a good thing. Thanks, Laura, for contributing to my post-processing education AND for submitting a wonderful image for the 1PF anniversary!

Submitted by Raewyn — decocraftsdigicrafts

Raewyn, decocraftsdigicrafts

Raewyn says: There are just so many edits in this that I won’t bore you. Photoshop, Nik Collection and Lightroom. Hope you like it.

Submitted by Ritva Sillanmäki — Ritva’s Art Photography

Ritva Sillanmäki, Ritva's Art Photography

Submitted by Sherry Felix – Port4u

Sherry Felix, Port4u

Sherry says: Laura Macky’s photo is lovely as is. For this challenge I wanted to enhance the mood created by the old boat and bring that into the background. Here’s Photoshop recipe:

  1. Original image with some slight adjustment in Lightroom
  2. Curve adjustment layer: negative RGB, opacity 30%
  3. Grunge layer applied in on1 to a copy of original, blend mode: difference
  4. My cloud image. Blende mode: Hard Light, opacity 70% 
  5. B&W adjustment layer default, opacity 70%
  6. Copy of original layer masked to show the boat, opacity 80% 
  7. Smoke brushed, blend mode: Soft Light, opacity 89%

My version has an old postcard look and is also somewhat ominous.

Submitted by Ted Griffith — Ted Griffith’s Photo Art Studio

Ted Griffith, Ted Griffith's Photo Art Studio

Submitted by Reinhold Staden — Reinhold Staden Photography

Reinhold Stagen, Reinhold Stagen Photography

Submitted by Amy — The World Is a Book

Amy, The World Is a Book

Submitted by Yan Balczewski — From Hiding to Blogging

Yan Balczewski, From Hiding to Blogging

Submitted by Chris — sv-takeiteasy

Chris, sv-takeiteasy

Chris says: Nautical theme, a wreck, a sandbank, this is right up my alley! 

Submitted by Luis O. Gutierrez — luisogutierrez.com

Luis O. Gutierrez, Luis O. Gutierrez

Luis says: My process is very simple. I downloaded the image on my iPhone. I processed the file using snapped (basic editing, cropping and converting it to black and white). I then moved the image to photoshop touch where I adjusted the curves and resized the image. 

Submitted by Katie Prior — Drawing with Light

Katie Prior, Drawing with Light

Submitted by Robin Kent — PhotographybyKent

Robin Kent, PhotographybyKent

Robin says: Many thanks to Laura Mackey for her evocative image of the abandoned boat.  It offers many possibilities, and I will be eager to see what others have done.  Because  I currently am working on a presentation about night photography, I was inspired to attempt a transformation of this daytime image into a night shot.  I don’t know that I fully succeeded, I’ll be curious to see the comments from the readers.  The technique was fairly simple. I created an Exposure Adjustment layer and reduced the exposure of Laura’s image to make it appear more like a night image.  I created a third layer using my own image from a starlight workshop with Michael Frye. Finally, I created a layer mask on my image and masked out the portions of the stars everywhere except in the sky of Laura’s image.

Submitted by Nancy Merrill – nancy merrill photography

Nancy Merrill, Nancy Merrill Photography

Submitted by Stacey/Lensaddiction — Learning to See Light

Stacey/Lensaddiction, Learning to See Light

Stacey says: I decided to embrace the monochrome love for this image to work on the great textures on the peeling paint and grass.

Submitted by Emilio Pasquale — Photos by Emilio

Emilio Pasquale, Photos by Emilio

Emilio says: There wasn’t much to do with Laura’s great shot – so I didn’t do very much. In fact, I don’t remember much of what I did…

Submitted by George McCane — Photoman401

George McCane, Photoman401

Submitted by Nancy / dogear6— Living the Seasons

Nancy/dogear6, Living the Seasons

Nancy says: What a great way to start the New Year with this lovely photo by Laura Macky. After some minor adjustments in Lightroom to slightly straighten the horizon and enhance the colors, I started my experimentations. As you can see, I did a hard crop to make this into a panoramic to bring focus to the bow of the boat. I tried a square as well, but didn’t like very much. Most of my experiments used the rich colors in this image, which I loved. I was surprised when I tried the Milk Memories preset in Topaz Black and White, that the desaturated colors was my favorite. It might not be your favorite though! My blog has the other attempts and as always, feel free to let me know which one you liked the best. You can find it at http://wp.me/pow9k-2uK

Submitted by Robin Estargo — Injeenyuhs

Robin Estargo, Injeenyuhs

Robin says: Inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road’s visual color, only a little bit darker and intense.

Submitted by Michelle Lunato — Michelle Lunato Photography

Michelle Lunato, Michelle Lunato Photography

Submitted by Marie — The Syllabub Sea

Marie, The Syllabub Sea

Submitted by Julie Powell — Julie Powell Photography

Julie Powell, Julie Powell Photography

Submitted by Cee Neuner — Cee’s Photography

Cee Neuner, Cee's Photography

Cee says: This photo I had absolutely no idea on how to improve upon Laura’s work.  So I did some cropping and color tweaking. 

Submitted by Bryan — theonlyD800inthehameau

Bryan, theonlyD800inthehameau

Submitted by Yvette — In the Zone

Yvette, yblogzone

 Please click on the links of those who contributed this week, to read about their post-processing steps and/or to see what other treasures they have on their blogs. They’d love to have you visit!

So what do you think of the ABFriday forum?

Feel free to leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comment section. And don’t forget to view the guidelines if you want to participate. I’d love to have you onboard!

54 thoughts on “January One Photo Focus

  1. I am amazed at the heightened level of talent this month. What you and Robin and Laura and Marie and Reinhold have done is to show me how important an imagination and creative eye really are. I think it’s time for me to get serious about my photography and stretch a bit. You have helped me to shape my new year’s resolution. I have watched you grow over the past year and, with your processing of this image, you have blown me away.


    • Emilio, you do not at all lack for imagination, my friend. I have just begun to embrace the idea that I can use 1PF as a Photoshop playground. I take post-processing my own photos too seriously and seeing others over the course of 1PF embrace dramatic (and fun!) change finally made me realize that, hey, I could go down that path too 🙂 I’m also hoping that this will spur my always-present desire to really begin to learn the darn program as I should! Without doing that, my creative ideas will end up simply in my head!

      I have no doubt that your imagination paired with PS skills will conjure up amazingly fun images!! So here’s to conquering the beast in 2016! Let’s do it!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Stacy. I needed that. A little slap to get me motivated rather than wallowing! Which I tend to do sometimes. I purchased a photoshop magazine this morning before seeing this comment so maybe I’ll have something by next 1PF! Thanks, again.


  2. Wow Stacy (I know several people started with these two words, but these were the actual words came out of my mouth 😉 I love many of them, particularly yours. I was going to participate, and I thought I would like to do something with the background. Due to lack of skill, I just couldn’t figure out how. Thank you for the lesson. And thanks to all who participated.
    Have a great 2016!


    • Hi, Helen! So glad you liked the submissions. And thanks for your kind words about mine. I know just enough PS to get myself in trouble – when all else fails, I just start going into the menus and selecting! Another item that has moved from my 2015 wishlist to my 2016 – learning to use Photoshop efficiently and much more effectively 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Stacy: Another great collection of creative work! Laura’s image really set the tone because it provided so many possibilities and the participants took full advantage. It’s really hard to pick a favorite, it would be more likely a four-way (or more) tie for first place. Thanks once again for organizing this monthly event.


  4. Wow, what a collection! Great image to start with from Laura and such an array of different edits, good work!
    Stacy, I really like your “boat stuck on the rocks despite the lighthouse” picture, it looks like you had great fun playing in Photoshop!
    Happy new year to you all! 🙂


  5. I feel grateful to be a part of this 1pf. And in hindsight I wish I would have smoothed out some of the missing wood work on the bridge, but I am just grateful to finally join in – anyhow – Robin’s was one of my favs of them all – but I am glad these are. It compared cos there is no better best – it’s all creative expression and our essence! And seeing the lighthouse was like “of course” and Marie’s scuba man felt like her! I have scrolled your collected submissions before (usually coming from Katie prior’s blog) but I have to admit that after actually working with the photo I appreciated the differences even more – the crops – the skies- the tones- and I will forever remember Laura’s parked boat image! Nice way to start the new year and thanks Stacy for being so welcoming – peace and happy new year to all!


    • Hey, Robyn! Thanks for stopping by and for your New Year’s wishes 🙂 Happy New Year to you too. I’m having a difficult time getting back into my blogging routine (as evidenced by my very late reply)!!


  6. Great selection of post processing variations of an awesome template. I like your interpretation so much, Stacy. Bringing the lighthouse into the composition is a splendid idea. (PS: a “g” invaded my last name where a “d” should be). But that’s not really a problem. 🙂 Smiles and greetings. Reinhold


  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one that struggled with how to “improve” on this picture. They all turned out great! It’s so much fun each month to see how everyone changes it.


    • I keep telling myself that one of these days I’m going to take a step-by-step approach to learning photoshop instead of employing my current scattershot approach and hoping for the best 🙂 It was definitely a fun month of edits!

      Liked by 1 person

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