Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Threes

During her last summer at Southern Utah University, our daughter had the opportunity to do an internship with the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah. She was in two of the stage shows and also part of the Greenshow troupe that performed each night before the evening shows. These three photos are from the Greenshow (photography not being allowed in the stage shows). The first two include some of her fellow troups mates, and the third one is just her, but it made a nice trio of photos.

For more from this challenge, visit Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 3 items or the number three.

One Photo Focus: March 2016

I was asked by Stacy Fischer at Visual Venturing to provide an image for the March 2016 One Photo Focus challenge. The image I picked is this one of the north stairs of the Adams Memorial Theatre at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.


The theatre sits on the Southern Utah University campus in Cedar City, Utah, and opened in 1977. It is one of the most accurate replicas of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the world (at least the back and main stage areas). This last summer (2015) was the last year that plays will be staged at this theatre. The festival is building a new theater to replace this one, so this last summer was a bit nostalgic for festival goers.

For my edit, I first opened the RAW image in Photoshop’s RAW converter and used the following settings:

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 10.23.16 PM Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 10.23.38 PM

With these settings, I got this image:


Next, I added the following two duplicate background layers, each with a layer mask:

  • Soft Light blending mode
  • Multiply blending mode

On the Multiply layer, I added a Gaussian Blur at 15.0%. All of this created this image:


Next, I used a soft brush set at 100% opacity and in the layer mask of the Multiply layer mask, erased the theatre sign. I then set the Opacity of the SoftLight layer to 55%.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 10.27.04 PM

Here is what I had so far:


A quick crop to tighten up the image gave me my final image:


For more from this challenge, visit One Photo Focus: March.

After-Before logo

Click the image above for rules on joining the fun!

A Photo a Week Challenge: Soft


Most photographers work hard to make sure that every shot is perfectly in focus. We love seeing every little detail pop from an image. For some shots, a softer, almost blurry feeling works better. It all depends on what ambiance you are trying to create. For this image, I didn’t do anything to the sharpness (or lack thereof) in the post-processing. I thought, given the intimate moment, that a softer feeling worked just great.


Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography. Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ and “Photo a Week” tags.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.