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Protector of the Portal

- Protector of the Portal -

I had been carrying around this lovely red lantern in my backpack for ages and was just itching for the right setting to use it in an image. I love the symbolism that is represented by a lantern and the light it creates. Leading the way forward towards the future and pushing aside the surrounding darkness, always holds a powerful message for me.

There is a hidden pathway that leads to a portal through the clouds, into an older and more magical world. The pathway can only be seen for a brief few moments every day by the soft light of a lantern, just as the sun drops past the horizon. As with all powerful magic, it is constantly under threat by those that wish to use it for evil. A woman stands guard moving between worlds, choosing a life of solitary and protecting the portal to this magical world...

A large part of creating this image was about various challenges I had set for myself. One of my goals for this year was to up my Photoshop game. Now this is not something you will really notice just by looking at the end image, but I made some massive changes to my Photoshop workflow and learnt many new techniques.

- Protector of the Portal Returns -

I am self-taught, both with photography and with Photoshop. This is the part of my journey that I really love, as it has kept me challenged and excited by always researching, learning and experimenting with new techniques. One of the fun things about Photoshop is that there are usually several ways to get the same result. Admittedly, when I started to use Photoshop more seriously, I did not use it in the most efficient way. I was getting the correct end result, but the workflow felt very clumsy.

My workflow over the years has certainly improved by leaps and bounds as I started to get more familiar with the tools. Yet even though I knew of many better techniques, some bad habits just stuck. It was time to kick my own butt! Creating these two images in tandem really helped to solidify my new workflow and techniques, getting rid of my old bad habits in such a way that I cannot even remember them anymore! Yay :)

- Before & after processing video -

I also rearranged my Photoshop Workspace and created my own customised Workspace. I love how well it works with my new Photoshop workflow. Again, this is not something you will notice just by looking at my images, but has certainly simplified and improved so much for me.

I feel so refreshed and excited all over again about Photoshop! I have started working on a very personal series that will rely heavily on the power of Photoshop to be become a reality. These new skills and improved workflow are going to give me so much more control and power. I cannot wait to get started!

Yep, sometimes I have to share my shooting location with various wild animals. This time it was a couple of ostriches strolling about :)

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