ISO 50 | 90mm | f 2.8 | 1/250 sec

It’s funny how a change in perspective can make all the world’s problems seem so small.  Sitting here today watching the tempest in my coffee cup, I was struck by the realization that often I’m guilty of making mountains out of mole hills, of over-exaggerating the difficulties of a task I’m faced with, or of complaining about the complexities of life and business.  To the average by-stander, it probably sounds like I’m turning the everyday bumps and jolts of normal existence into the crashing waves and torrential rains of one of life’s worst storms.

Granted, I know what it’s like to be on that ship in the middle of the ocean, tossed to-and-fro, drenched and seasick, rapidly bailing water in a desperate attempt to stay afloat.  The reality is that life is hard, and times can be tough, and we can find ourselves on the verge of discouragement, wondering if the skies will ever clear or the incessant rains ever cease.  But if we were to analyze our situation and approach our circumstances with the attitude of an objective observer, how often would we discover that the size and scale of the storms we currently reside in are no larger than a paltry tempest in a coffee cup?

Yes, more often than not, our perception of how difficult life can be is relative to our position and point of observation in relation to a given situation.  To those of us on the ship, life can seem like a living nightmare, while to those of us on the outside looking on from a distance, that pitiful black cloud seems an insignificant blot on the beauty of life’s landscape.  Sometimes a change in perspective can make all the difference in the world…

Went back to using Blender this week.  I liked the results I got for making clouds last time, so I thought I’d try it again.  I also used the wave generator to create the surface of the water in the cup, there’s a lot more to learn about this tool than I even bothered to explore in this image, but it got me the results I was looking for!
I shot this with two strobes, both setup with umbrellas, one on camera left, and one just to the right of center.  I wanted kind of a soft slightly-early morning look, nothing terribly dynamic.  The ship was shot using the same lighting setup and composited in along with my other elements from Blender.
The rain was an interesting experiment.  I created a new layer, filled it with black and added a monochromatic noise filter.  I then adjusted that layer using a levels adjustment to eliminate most of the noise and bring out the really bright spots.  I then applied a crystalize filter which enlarges and adds jagged faces to each spot, giving it shape and dimension (I’ve used this technique to create digital snow before).  I then added a motion blur filter to give the impression of a torrential downpour.  By using a blending mode of “Screen”, Photoshop hides the black background and only shows the blurred crystalized spots descending into the cup, creating an interesting visual effect.
Well, that’s it for this week.  More images coming soon!

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