PE Layer Blending


The descriptions and sequence of screen captures are intended as an extension for the Feb 13, 2018 winter course session. The following sequence is the same as the demonstration done at the meeting on Feb 13, 2018.

This page is a demonstration example of blending two images together. One image over exposed and one under exposed. I will take source file 1 and 7 from the page. Click on the link and scroll to the bottom of the page for the source files, if you have not downloaded the images to your hard drive yet.

Load Photoshop Elements in Expert mode and open source file 1, the over exposed image first. Go to “File” – “Open” and select “01-ElbowFallsWall-Left-JPG”


Click on any of the images to open the full size image in a separate window.
Use the browser back button to return here

Now place the second image “07-ElbowFallsWall-Left-JPG” on top of the image you have just opened. You do this by clicking on “File” then “Place” which will open the file dialogue box.



Below my final result compared with the original underexposed image. If you click on the image to look at it closer, you will see some “fuzzyness” on the tree trunks in the cave in the doctored right image. This is because I was unable to line the images up exactly. So what went wrong during my picture taking session last year. I must have bumped the tripod when I was taking multiple “bracketed” exposures. One of the reasons I want to go back to re-do this sequence of pictures. These unprofessional images are for practice and learning. And I obviously have a lot to learn to properly prepare the camera at the site, and not let other people crowd me. (One of my excuses !)

A final note on this exercise. You could have achieved similar results with a simple “dodge and burn” technique on source file 7 alone. However, for a discerning eye there is often a significant difference. On the single source image (in this case file 7) , you cannot compensate for the dynamic range that source file 1 was exposed for. Which was taken to correctly expose for the detail inside the cave. A dodge and burn approach on source file 7 alone becomes just as complicated when you start playing with saturation and exposure at the same time. In different lighting conditions where there is more contrast between light and dark areas this becomes even more apparent. Give dodge and burn a try on source file 7 alone and compare.

When doing landscape photography I try to look at the problem areas and take detail pictures with a zoom lens. In this case I looked in the cave and tried to remember the detail and dynamic range my eye actually saw when focusing on just the cave. Then look at the bright areas and all the detail and subtleties. Use a spot meter for these areas and capture them with a big zoom factor. You can then later use them for comparison when you complete the final post processing of the full scene.

Ultimately the final image has to please you, and sometimes it is just not worth going through the “hassle”. But I find enjoyment in this kind of analysis and post processing. For me there is something special about contemplating a landscape and thinking about beauty and why that is so for me.