The Queen Is In

We missed being in Windsor for the Queen’s birthday walkabout by a couple of days, but the royal standard was flapping in the breeze, indicating that the Queen ¬†was in residence at the time.

This is one of those otherwise disappointing photos where everything was more or less grey with a washed out sky. After several years of banging my head on Photoshop, I have finally learned a few things that rescue my poor camera skills from total loss. Thanks, Adobe!

Battle Abbey School

Battle Abbey School – Battle, UKMay 2007.

The school, an independent private boarding school, occupies the former abbot’s residence portion of Battle Abbey. It was one of the few parts of the abbey complex that was not devastated as a result of the abolition of monasteries under Henry VIII.

Cloister Area, Battle Abbey Ruins

In 1066 A.D., William of Orange, the Duke of Normandy fought the Battle of Hastings against the English army at this location. During the fight, King Harold took an arrow directly to one of his eyes and died, and William took the throne. The “modern” history of England pretty much starts with that event.

As pennance for the death of Harold, William built an abbey at the battlefield site, and the settlement became the town of Battle. The abbey was destroyed by Henry VIII when he separated the Church of England from Roman Catholic rule.

I’ve always wanted to do something with this picture, but until now, I just couldn’t imagine what to do with it. Over the last couple of years I’ve developed better Photoshop skills and, of course, Photoshop CS5 offers better tools than its predecessors.

Lately I’ve been more willing to try some techniques that wouldn’t have occurred to me before. I think it’s a combination of seeing what others are doing and having a better knowledge base to work from.

FYI, there are no plug-ins used. From raw file to finished product, this is my creation.

Accidental HDR

I call this an accidental HDR. I had three shots taken in the Battle Abbey ruins, Battle, UK. They were handheld, noisy and of wildly differing focal lengths. I’ve always been disappointed by the quality of the shots, but I had a moment of inspiration to try something.

I brought all three photos into Photoshop as layers, auto aligned, then auto blended. After flattening, I ran HDR toning for the basic look. The background layer was duplicated and given a 30 px blur and set to Hard Light blend mode.

The window opening was selected on the background and put on its own layer and set to Multiply. There was some purple aberration around the window, so a Hue/Sat layer was applied just to the window to desaturate the purple.