I thought about the photo I wanted to shoot of hot air balloons before I went to the Hudson, WI balloon fest on February 2, 2019.
I had a plan: I would arrive early, stand on the bluff overlooking the river and bridge, and wait for the balloons to enter the scene.
I was there before the sun came up. The sky was hazy and had soft pink and blue tones. I took photos and waited and waited. No balloons. Someone told me that the balloons launched and were heading in the opposite direction from where I was.
I drove around and saw many balloons. By now the sun was up and the sky had lost the soft, pink tones. I took photos of individual balloons against a plain blue-gray sky. I knew these photos by themselves wouldn't be impressive. Maybe I could use them in a composite.
I was driving home and an idea occurred to me to use one of the photos I took in the early morning as a background for the individual balloons. I knew it would be hard to make them blend into the sky.
I opened the background photo in photoshop and make adjustments until I was happy. I then took each individual balloon photo and composited them on the background photo. I used photoshop's blend-if function to do this. I adjusted the color, brightness and clarity of the balloons. Each balloon was resized and positioned where I wanted it in the background.
Lastly, I adjusted the contrast of the overall image. It worked! I created the photo I dreamed about.