A Beach and A Sky Replacement

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Piha Beach - Photo by CMDR Shane
Piha Beach - Photo by CMDR Shane

I took this shot a few years ago at Piha Beach, New Zealand. At first, I thought it was an awesome image because it was dark and eery. Overcast and dull, the mist added that some what forgotten effect to the whole place. Yet it was still clear enough that if I were to tweak the saturation and bring back all the green that I saw that day, I knew that I couldn’t let this image sit in an overcast manor. I had to change it.

Now I had never done a sky replacement before, because I was always afraid of masks. I was never any good at it, as it would always come out fringed and awkward. So I began learning. More and more. Tutvid and Phlearn pretty much saved me from losing my mind as they had tutorials up the wazoo in regards to proper masking techniques. This included the refine mask technique which I ended up using here.

You see on the horizon, the trees would get the mask all screwy. There would be white patches coming through from the overcast white from the original image. But after tweaking the brush size and clicking on smart radius, the refine mask did its job perfectly. It got rid of the white fringing, or ‘matting’ as I came to know about it later. I don’t know what I was afraid of. I just had to get into it and learn how it all worked. And now I think I’ll be able to mask most things out with ease, knowing how it all works now.

I think the sharpening, lighting corrections and saturation corrections were done without over doing it. This is the look I was going for, because the scene I shot deserves the blue sky to go with it. My very first sky replacement was a success.

If you like this image and want to use it for your own purposes, it is available for download from Unsplash for free! Head on over and check out some of my other work on there as well.

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