Authorized Personnel Only: A Senior Surreal Photo by Cayley Ho (2015)
Using HDR photography, I took a picture of a knot in a tree to use as my background. I also added an infrared filter to emphasize the darks and lights in the photo. In Photoshop, I placed a photo of a shoreline inside the knot. I also edited in clouds and a sign that said "Authorized Personnel Only", using layer masks and changing the perspective to make it seem like there was another world inside the tree's knot. While most of my composition was black and white, I I decided to leave the water in color because it was the focus of my piece, altering the hue and saturation so that the color would be subtle and stand out at the same time.
I decided to reverse the way a knot in a tree is small while the ocean is very large to create either a very large tree knot or a tiny ocean. I edited the tree knot to have jagged edges at the top, dropping down like stalactites in caves and added in the "Authorized Personnel Only" sign to contrast the warm, inviting feeling that beaches represent. The sky inside the knot is dark so my color scheme is grayscale to reflect the eerie feeling. However, the water remains blue to balance out the mysterious with a peaceful vibe.