Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Combining Images with Photoshop

©Bert Gildart: Several years ago, just about this time, Janie and I were in Nova Scotia, gathering material for a story on the tragic expulsion by the English of the French Acadians. The group was immortalized in an epic poem by Longfellow, entitled Evangeline, and that’s recounted at Grand Pre National Park.  My story and posting of this tragedy have been well received, and Janie and I were invited to attend a reunion in Nova Scotia by an Acadian family whose expelled ancestors eventually settled in New Orleans.  We wish we could have joined.

Because of the immense tragedy, Nova Scotia has developed what they call an Acadian Trail, and one night we found ourselves in Annapolis Royal at Fort Anne on the site’s very popular Graveyard Walk. The informative talk was conducted by Alan Melanson, himself a descendant of Acadians. Melanson had the perfect features to be conducting the walk all off set by his garb, which was that of a craggy-faced undertaker. This historian understood I was gathering material for a story about the Acadians and became a cooperative photographic subject.


We all carried lanterns and it was an ideal night for a stroll in a graveyard. There was even a moon – and that’s what this posting is really about. The only problem was getting the moon in the right location for composition. Exposure, too, was a problem, so my only solution was to take a separate picture of the moon, go to PhotoShop and import it into the main image.


As you’ll see if you compare my efforts of several years ago with this image, my first efforts weren’t all that good. The moon was too bright and there were no eerie clouds to add drama. What’s more, there’s a real art to combining images – and I don’t think I  came close with my first efforts.

Those thoughts have remained in my subconscious and the other night here in Montana, the clouds engulfed the moon, so I rushed to the porch with my tripod and Nikon D300. I took about a dozen moon/cloud photos and am now using them to create what I consider a better version of the scene in Nova Scotia. Though I’ve been collecting images of moons since that time several years ago – and have experimented with them – this one seems to work best.


Here’s the PhotoShop technique. Because the moon was too large to complement the image of Melanson, I reduced it to a quarter of the size. To get the proper fit, this takes a bit of trail and error.  The moon was still too bright so I darkened it, using brightness/contrast. After that I used the Move Tool and then positioned the moon with clouds where I wanted. Though I’m still not sure that this is the perfect combination, I believe it is much better.

I’ve used Photoshop to improve images before and here’s a link to another, this one of a bald eagle.

Some may say that photography should remain a documentary art, but I’m reminded of  Ansel Adams who said “it is the print,” implying he’d do whatever he wanted to create the feeling he wished to convey. To this end, he dodged and burned, added filters to create his incredible black and white images, which, is, of course, an abstract form of expression by virtue of its very nature.

I like experimenting when something stirs me and think it takes the art of photography to another level.

And now, although I am a day late, I want to give thanks to all the men in the military now serving our country.  Here’s a posting I made last year on Veterans’ Day about Memorial Day, but the message that the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has been great is similar. It also provides a armchair tour of some of our Capitol Parks — and takes you to the grave of one of my relatives.




*Bewitched By Shenandoah’s Late Autumn Season





One Response to “Combining Images with Photoshop”

  1. Rich Charpentier Says:

    Hey Bert! Nice combo! Matt Kloskowski has a great blending tutorial in his book “Layers” where he does a similar thing with the moon. Blend just right and you can get the clouds and trees to overlap the moon.

    I still haven’t produced a moon shot combination that I’ve really liked yet. You did a great job with this one!