We were very lucky to have beautiful, clear beach skies on several days, with less humidity and those white clouds that have you laying on a beach towel trying to figure out what they look like. I also got very lucky and met an enthusiastic dog owner who had three wonderful Australian Shepherds. They came to the dog beach every day. The dog beach was right next to the beach where I was located. How fortunate was that?
On the day I took this photo, the skies were beyond great. This was my first "get-in-the-surf" experience and it was nerve wracking to do with my camera because I was pretty sure I would get rolled by a wave, but I wanted a more upward angle on both the dog and the beach, so I found a little gully to put myself in and asked the owner to keep the frolicking pooch in a certain limited location.
I then also took separate photos of the sky. I usually always take a few separate shots of the surroundings and natural backdrop of the area I am in. You never know when they will help piece a photo together..
The original sky and dog photos were taken in NEF Raw. I use Nikon software to start the edit, then move the photos to Lightroom and process in a like manner: adjusting contrast, color, brightness and sharpness. I then transfered the images to Photo Shop Elements where I created a new file with a vertical orientation, and brought in both photos--first the dog, then the sky--creating a reveal layer to blend both at the horizon line. I wanted the sky to seem endless and look like it was coming out of the horizon in order to give the photo a more dramatic effect. I then did one more filter addition on the completed photo to enhance the full image a bit more.
This may very well be one of my favorite images. As a photographer, I find that you never stop learning or experimenting, and when an idea works like you planned, it's pretty darned exciting! I took this image with a 50mm 1.8 lens in bright sunlight at around 2:15 in the afternoon (ISO 200, f/9, 1/400). Luckily, the dog beach isn't as inhabited as the rest of the beaches, so I did not have to crop or clone out any people.