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Night at the drunken sauna

Night at the drunken sauna

The drunken sauna must be one of the most peculiar and most shot spots in the Southern Finland. The place oozes mystery, especially at a calm and foggy morning such as the one I visited there this time. It is almost as if a witch would crawl out of the door it would only make perfect sense. The spot is surrounded by cities with heavy light pollution, so it is really hard to get a clean shot of the sauna with the stars. This image is a composite, meaning it has been combined out of two separate images. The milky way has been shot in Porkkalanniemi on a whole another shooting trip.

Processing

Creating composite images can be a painful task, but having a foggy base image, such as in this one, often helps out a lot. I started out creating a mask for the milky way and the reflection in photoshop. I did this by using select color range feature in Photoshop and perfecting the selection by hand. Then I placed and rotated the milky way image and decided it looked the best coming out at the top of the sauna. After that I copied and flipped the milky way image and aligned the “reflection” with the actual image of the milky way, creating the X in the middle of the image.

To create an authentic and natural feel I darkened the image of the drunken sauna and masked it appropriately with a relatively opaque brush until I was happy with the result. I darkened the reflection of the milky way as a part of this process, as natural reflections in water tend to be darker than the actual subject. After and along the way of the darkening process I edited the drunken sauna layer more blue to create nightly look, and separately edited the colors of all the layers by hand to match the colors.

I used the picker to select a nice color to add some fog in front of the sauna and on the lake with an opaque brush. To finish it off I played with plenty of contrast and color adjustment layers and added a custom vignette.

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