I took this photo a year ago at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and I’ve been working on it, on and off, since then.
There’s a lovely little pond near the beginning of the trails — you can usually spot green frogs or turtles among the lily pads that line the near edge.
The pond is sheltered from the trails by a thick growth of bushes and trees. Off to the right, some of the trees have given up the usual vertical orientation and taken on a more relaxed attitude.
The curvature of the trunks coupled with their reflection in the water reminded me of nothing so much as a giant eye staring back from the other side of the pond. There was only one problem: a distracting branch in the foreground that I could not avoid. (At least not while standing on the platform provided; I’m guessing that wading into the water counts as leaving the trail, which is frowned on in polite circles.)
Here‘s the “before” version of the shot. Now, how to get rid of the branch? It seemed like too big a job for clone or patch tools — at least in my hands, they left nasty traces. Somewhere I’d read about using layer masks to do this kind of editing. Because of the repeating ripples in the water, I could essentially cut out the branch and plug the hole with a nearby patch of water. If you look closely, you can see a few places where the ripples are repeated a little too exactly, and someday I’ll go back and add some randomness. For now, I’m content seeing that the basic image is strong enough to warrant all the time I’ve spent on it.