How I Got the Shot: "Shadow Mate"


I took the original shot of the Yellow-billed stork in Mana Pools in mid-October 2017.  I had been sitting next to Long Pool for quite some time, watching the pair as they walked and waded together in the shallows often rubbing up against each other and scraping their bills together in a playful manner. They were fascinating in the way they moved together, often in unison and I managed to take quite a number of interesting shots of them.  
For the monthly Mashonaland Photographic Society (MPS) competition I decided to scour the internet for inspiration of examples of “Altered Reality” and watched a couple of basic tutorials on photo manipulation using software such as Photoshop. I must admit that I was left feeling a little overwhelmed at what other photographers have successfully achieved, so based on this I decided to attempt something as simple as possible.  I chose this photograph in particular simply due to my limited design skills.  I looked through a number of photos and as soon as I glanced at this one I felt that I could “double-up” the beaks to make an interesting new species of bird.  
I used a programme called Coral Photo Paint.  Firstly, I selected the image of the Yellow Bills before creating a copy of the photo.  I imported the original photo into Coral and then moments later I imported the exact copy of the photo so that it lay over the original.  I then ensured I had selected the copy and went to the “Image” function on the task bar and selected “Cutout Lab”. Using the “Highlight Colour Nib” I drew along the line that I wanted to keep as the head and beak double and carefully selected a good amount of the white feathered area, ensuring I wasn’t too close to the coloured part of the face. Once done, I filled the area with the “Fill Colour” option and checked to see if it had selected the precise areas I required.  I then clicked on “OK” and Coral automatically threw away the rest of the photo leaving me with the two heads and beaks.   
I moved this solid overlay over the original photo, and re-angled it, making sure that the white feathers matched up as best as possible to give it a seamless effect.  Once I was happy I saved the image as a JPG.

Camera settings: Camera Nikon D7100.  F-stop f/8. Exposure 1/800 sec. ISO-500 Focal Length 370mm.

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