As I cruise around WordPress blogs, I notice that most of the photography blogs are titled something like “John Doe Photography.” You’ll notice that I’m not. I’m Russel Ray Photos. There’s a reason for that.
Although I try to take the best photos I can, I have never been about photography perfection even though I’ve always had a nice 35mm SLR camera (Canon A-1) or digital SLR (Canon Rebel XSi and Canon 550D). You might occasionally find me using an old picture that can basically be called a snapshot because that’s what it was then, and is now.
Many full moons ago (about 240 of them) I had a need for things like scanners, Photoshop (I bought the first version and upgraded religiously through version 8), Paint Shop, Corel Photo-Paint, etc. I sold that business in 1993 when I moved from College Station, Texas, to San Diego.
Now that my energy is slowing down — i.e., I can’t play tennis, basketball, or volleyball anymore — I’m trying to get back to digital photo editing because it is a lot of fun. Until I get to layers and masks. The result of layers and masks is fun, but the technical part can be quite tedious. Don’t tell me to check out the YouTube tutorials because they pretty well…. I’ll just leave it at that since this is a family blog.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a local seminar — cost me $16 for 90 minutes — that was all about Photoshop layers and masks. It was the most useful seminar I’ve been to. I’m still having trouble with layers and masks, but that will be resolved with practice.
Of course, my first (successful) attempt at using Photoshop layers and masks obviously starred Zoey the Cool Cat. Here’s the result:
That seminar did show me the secrets to working with Photoshop layers and masks, and the secrets are the lasso tool, the brush tool, the magic wand tool, and knowing when to use Alt + left mouse click. I’m using Photoshop CS6 Beta, but they also work in Photoshop CS5 (which I also have) and, according to the seminar leader, Photoshop CS4. Beyond that I don’t know. As I get more experienced with this really complicated stuff, I’ll do some static tutorials for those who, like me, despise video tutorials.