...I'd had an idea for some time to work the old "Sword in the Stone" idea into a watch picture. I had the sword, and so I was halfway there! Where did I get a sword? Well...

I looked around for a suitable watch, particularly one that would fit an idea I had for blending it into the stone. I settled on the Hamilton Pulsar "re-issue' as it had a steel bracelet and the overall shape would likely meld well with the stone. Here you can see the basic setup, with the watch wrapped around a stone, and a plain back background. The image was shot in the portrait format to give room for the sword to fit in later.

Then it was a matter of shooting a separate image of the sword. To do this I stuck the sword in a lump of blu-tack putty to hold it up at the desired angle. Again, a plain black background was used, and the camera perspective was kept much the same as in the watch shot to ensure the shots would fit together OK. Here is my Excalibur to be...

I had the idea of making the watch appear to be growing out of the stone, and to help with this I shot a plain shot of the rock for later use. These three images provided all of the picture elements I would need.

There was nothing high-tech about how I put this image together. I simply carefully selected around the sword image and copied it. I then pasted it into the watch image as desired. I had to deal with the point where the sword blade entered the watch crystal. I chose to copy another small area of the sword image and paste it into the image to simulate the sword being refracted and reflected through the watch crystal, in much the same way a stick appears to bend when placed in water. I desaturated the colour on this portion of blade, and also lowered the brightness a touch, to make it look like the blade is being seen through the crystal. Thus, I ended up with the image at left.

As the sword was of an overall silver colour I wanted to make it more interesting. To this end I selected the cross-guard and pommel and used the Paint Shop Pro "Colourize" filter to change them to a golden colour. I also selected the grip and changed that to a red/bronze color.

The final thing I had wanted to do was to blend the watch with the rock. This is where used the plain rock image I had shot earlier. The watch image was layered over the rock image and the eraser tool was used to gradually remove the watch image, allowing the rock to show through. The intention was to make the watch appear to be part of the rock, emerging from it. As the sword in the stone story revolved around Merlin and magic I thought the transformation of watch from rock was suitable. Not all ideas work out and whilst I did do this blending, as shown here, I wasn't happy with it.

More recently I revisited this image and reverted back to a final image without the blending of the rock and watch. I think it creates a stronger image. The last thing I did was to add a touch more blue to the image to enhance the cool feel of the steel.

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Copyright 2005 Paul Delury