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Behind the lens

Sweet Embrace

This warm image by Elena Paraskeva won the crowd vote in our Summer Portraits contest. Here's how Elena captured the moment.

"My daughter is at an age that I consider to be very tender and I'm simply obsessed with creating as many images that show the sweet and innocent side of her as I possibly can.

We live about 15 minutes from a rural area filled with farms, so I asked a friend to give me a call when a local farmer had a few newborn sheep or goats. As soon as we got there, my daughter started playing with this adorable two-day-old baby goat. I spotted a bunch of hay bales a hundred metres away, so I persuaded her to take a walk with her new friend and placed her in front of them. When she picked up the little one, closed her eyes and started singing 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' to him, it was time to start snapping away.

The sky behind us was divine, with rays coming down almost apocalyptically, so I knew I couldn’t let that go untapped. I switched to bracketing and with my fast D810 (and my trusty nifty fifty) started shooting, trying to be as steady as possible so I could merge the exposures later on.

As I mentioned, processing was a bit tricky. I brought the three exposures into Photoshop CC as layers, and using masks and a few other tools like the refine edge and the color range I managed to properly capture the foreground, background and my daughter with the baby goat. At the end, I used curves and layers to boost contrast and bring out the nice golden colour I was seeing through my viewfinder that day."

You can see more of Elena's photography here.


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