DT&G Magazine Photography Department
The Design Center / & Photographic / Mike Berceanu Photographs Sharks  

Photographing Sharks with Mike Berceanu, continued from previous page

shooting sharks

Live Picture: The first step in Live Picture* was to roughly place each of the seed images in position. A watery background was created by selecting some of the colors in the insert images and applying them in one of Live Picture's unique four corner gradients. This was then "built out" to a large Ivue file with four percent noise added to emulate the film grain in the other insert shots. The watery background layer was then incorporated behind the top section of the composite.

Prior to cloning, the end of the girl's leg is erased to allow a perfect fit for the new leg.

cloning the leg
A clone of the left leg is masked and positioned.

A Color Correction layer was used the water above the girl to more realistically match the other water areas. Unfortunately, in the best image of the girl on the roll, I'd cropped off her right leg. I kick myself when I see these things, but a little digital dabbling can solve these problems. To remedy this, the left leg was cloned, masked, repositioned and edges smoothed. Now that you know this, you'll see that she has two left feet, but it probably wouldn't be noticeable otherwise. To disguise this fact somewhat, a layer of bubbles was used to partially cover the foot.

repositioning sharks
A shark profile image, wedged between bubble layers, is positioned

The notion of spatial separation was created by inserting a layer of bubbles between various players in the picture. I used the one set of bubbles over and over, changing the size each time, to make them look different.

To help unify the composite, a streak layer was added to simulate streaks of light passing through the ocean water. Streaks were also incorporated into a section for the bottom of the shot that represent the dark abyss below. This section was built out to an Ivue file with noise and then incorporated into the final comp.

sizing images
In Live Picture's Positioning Mode, a bubble layer is positioned and scaled.

After darkening this with a Color Correction Layer, a Sharpen Layer was applied to the whole comp.. When doing photo manipulation it's always best to sharpen at the very end of the job. There are a couple of reasons for this rule. Firstly, if the ingredients are over sharpened to begin with, there is very little you can do to correct the problem and it's most frustrating. Also image sizes may not be exactly determined until the end of the job as you search for what's aesthetically most appealing, so it would be hard to know just how much sharpness or softness is required.

When all was ready, the final image was built out at 1220 pixels per inches ( res 48) to a Tiff file in RGB color space for output to transparency film on an LVT Saturn high end film recorder at Prolab in Brisbane, Queensland. (click the image below for an enlargement)


A few words about sharks. These are Grey Nurse Sharks which, so far as I'm aware, have never attacked a person.... while millions of sharks are eaten each year by humans. So you see it's not the sharks that are truly dangerous... food for thought.

Thanks for reading...


Mike Berceanu is one of Australia's premier commercial photographers. With more than 20 years behind the lens, he has spent the last five years passionately exploring digital imaging techniques. Using PhotoShop, Live Picture, MetaCreations Painter, and Kai's Power Tools Berceanu has become a master at creating seamless and captivating composite images. He writes for the Australian magazine Digital Camera. Berceanu's online presence includes stunning examples of his work and a library of articles and tutorials on imaging hardware, software, and techniques. His web site is no longer available.