3D Thursday – Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse-1

Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Bodie Island.

Off the coast of North Carolina, a collection of islands hug the United States mainland coastline. Collectively, these islands are known as the Outer Banks. Connected by bridges, three major islands attract summer vacationers by the thousands. To protect navigation along the coast, a battery of lighthouses warn ships of the island hazards to navigation. The lighthouse most commonly featured in stories and photos is arguably the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. However, the Bodie Island Lighthouse has probably a more interesting location. You can read more about Bowdie Island and the lighthouse in my post from January 2016 here.

About the photograph:  As usual, these 3D popouts are created in Adobe Photoshop Elements. A sharp eye may notice the precisely square corners on the border around the background perspective. Previous 3D Thursday images had rounded corners. This week I upgraded from Elements 12 to Elements 14. The Style function used to create the white frame has more options, one of which allows squared rather than rounded corners. In this image, I used a Lightroom trick to “illuminate” the light. By using a selective brush in the glass area on top of the lighthouse, I adjusted the exposure in the selected area to overexpose and wash out the detail. That trick gives the appearance the light is operating. Finally, I used a radial gradient layer to give the appearance that the light is generating a white beam toward the back of the image.

John Steiner



  1. Wow you’re getting good at these! Our version of photoshop is antiquated, it still suits our purposes but I’ve thought about getting elements since our operating system is so much newer than our software… Mmmm food for thought. Recently bought Intuous digital drawing tablet, but have yet to install it. We got a new laptop & installing the software is so slow with our current internet speeds. Had a lot of fun visiting this light house, thanks for the reminder!

    • I am sure you will appreciate the new laptop. I would recommend Elements. It does much of the things its big brother does at a fraction of the cost. For the hobbyist like me, it does all I need and much more.

  2. Well done. Thank you for explaining how you achieved this. I have been playing around with PicMonkey, and just having so much fun making abstractions from my photos. Summer play. Bodie Lighthouse a favorite place of mine.

    • Thank you for reading. I have fun making these, but it’s been awhile since I made one. I should review my recent photos for another likely candidate for the 3-D popout effect.

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