Looking Down

I took this photograph about six weeks ago, but it wasn’t until this evening that I returned to this set of shots.   The challenge this week in Kim Klassen’s Beyond Beyond course was to shoot from above.  Ahhhh!   This is  a favorite angle of mine.   Just for kicks and grins, I reviewed all of my posts since Jan 1.   In 34 posts, I used images shot from above 17 times.   Yes; I think it is a favorite!

So, instead of taking another photo, I thought I would post this one.  I think items on a beach made perfect sense to shoot this way, although I’ve taken some shots of shells that I really like from other angles too.   I’m curious what you think:  Do you think a particular subject suits itself well to shooting from above? What is your favorite “go-to” angle to shoot? Does it vary with your subject?

Two Shells and a Sea Fan

Two Shells and a Sea Fan

Cool bonus feature of this photo:   As I was shooting, the Florida Fighting Conch began to move.   It’s Alive!   The gastropod moved out of its shell enough to get a bit of leverage to roll over, away from the sea fan and out of the frame. I think he was tired of the hot sun — and maybe he wasn’t ready for closeups! If you look to the left of the shell, you can see lines in the sand that he had made.  The critter isn’t easy to detect from his shell, but it’s the lighter brown area just to the left of the bright orange.   If you find these creatures on the beach, especially at low tide, do NOT throw them back into the surf.   They’re snails and they work their way out of the sand daily.   They aren’t in any danger.  Look at them, don’t throw them in the water, and always leave live sea animals on the beach where you found them!


(*Detail Which Might Be Boring To Some)

Taken with Canon REBEL xSI, Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4 IS lens, @ ISO 100, f/11, 1/200

My processing recipe in case you’re interested:

Minor color adjustment & sharpening in ACR,

In Elements:

1.  Isolated shells and made copy.
2. added kk_chase, Blending mode screen, Opacity 42%.  This added some beige to counterbalance the grey sand (which is white IRL), added a Gaussian blur, erased texture over the shells.
3.   Added kk_1402magic, Color Burn, 58%, removed over shells.
4.  Moved the layer containing only the shells to the top, then merged all layers.
5.  Made a copy of the layer, added a Gaussian blur 15 pixels, Soft Light, 20% opacity & merged with background layer.
6.  Made a copy of the layer, Multiply, 25%.   Used Marquee tool to select a large portion of the image.   Used Refined Edge feathered to 200.   Removed this area from the layer, and merged down, creating a slightly darker “frame” around the image.
7. Added kk_1612 create a border, with a slight blur to make the tones a little bit more subtle.
8.   Added a solid color screen using a color I selected from the sand.   Using rectangular marquee tool, removed all of the screen except for the outer border.   Didn’t like the color, so adjusted it to a brown tone.
9.   Added signature and ready to post (….and wondering what steps I’ve already forgotten!)

18 responses to “Looking Down

  1. The moving was really a bonus 🙂 great for from above shooting, not that i do much of that !
    Great processing

  2. What a beautiful picture. I’ve never seen a conch with that kind of vibrant color.
    Very educational post. Thanks!

  3. Your shot from above is wonderful.. The only time I usually get a shot from about is when I taking a photo of my shoes.. 🙂


    • I’ve hated every photo I’ve ever taken of my feet! 🙂 I’m not sure that I don’t have some sort of unrecognized antagonism towards them.

  4. I love collections from the seashore. And shooting these from above works really well. This was a good reminder to me to try that angle more…Lovely image and too funny that the shell started to move in the process..;-)

  5. SO cool that he began to move! Lovely shot. Thanks for the details.

  6. Wonderful! I love this! ~ I usually take every angle and then some more (I have a very patient family). Isn’t digital photography the most wonderful thing since sliced bread?

    • Thanks, Jody. I have advanced in my photography so much in ways that I don’t think I could have with film due to limited resources, namely time & money. For that, I’m grateful for the digital age of photography, although I’m thinking that I now want to experiment with film again after not touching a film camera for about 20 years.

  7. Wonderful work! I love the story! I may need to try to shoot from above more often…I never think of it!

  8. How funny that the shell began to move, guess you are right he didn’t want a self portrait. lovely image and processing

  9. Very nice! I thought it was a painting at first. I like how you explain how you achieved the look too .