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Suggestions for Mountains/Sky

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by lchrismunos, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. lchrismunos


    Jun 28, 2006
    I took my son to Colorado this week to visit schools and took along my new D200. I moved up from a D50 and have some work to do! I'd appreciate advice on improving the sky in the first image. I'd like a deeper blue and for it to be a bit more dramatic. I've changed the blue a bit with color replacement in CS2. There is also a it of haze in the distant mountains. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    I'd also like to know if you feel the angled board on the second image is too distracting. My resident critic (my lovely wife) hates it. I'm pretty fond of it but wondered if I lightened the frame (Bridge supports) it might help.

    Comments appreciated and as always, feel free to play away. Thanks!


  2. bubz


    Jul 5, 2006
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Hey Chris Im kind of new to photography as well, but only thing I can suggest is a Circular Polarizer Filter on your Lens to get that Deeper Blue and it should help w/ the Haze. I'd take one and then Adjust the CP filter until you get the right picture/tone you want.

    Sorry I couldnt not be of anymore help.
  3. Chris, nice to see you back here.

    I really like your first image. What a beautiful sight that must have been in person!
    My only recommendation would be to apply the PS shadows and highlight adjustment to lighten up the foreground and perhaps darken the clouds.

    As for the second, listen to your wife. She sounds like a pretty smart cookie!
    (Yes, you should have pointed the camera out beyond the bridge!)

    aka beaucamera
  4. The first one is beautiful. I even like the second one as well. What schools were you looking at in Colorado? My son goes off to the Colorado School of Mines in a few weeks.
  5. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    First one has some potential. Try duplicating the background layer, and setting the blend mode for the duplicate layer to "multiply". Then add a layer mask and use a gradient to blend the multiply layer. Getting the blend to look natural can be a bit tricky sometimes. You'll probably also want to back off the opacity since the effect of the multiply blend mode can be pretty strong.
  6. lchrismunos


    Jun 28, 2006
    bubz-I'm pretty sure I had the CP filter. I may not have had it set correctly.

    beaucamera-good to be back. I started a new job several months ago and haven't had time for much else. I'll give the shadow/highlights adjustment a shot

    nuccifamily-Colorado and Colorado State. He loved both.

    Jeff-I'll give your suggestion a shot today. I always enjoy your landscape work. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
  7. lchrismunos


    Jun 28, 2006
    Edited Version

    I used the feedback to make this attempt. The sky looks better as well as the foreground. However, I'm not sure I didn't harm some of the mountains in the center of the photo. Improvement?


    Prior Image:
    Shot at 2007-07-26
  8. Chris

    I like your edited verserion better at least as far as the sky goes. Not sure what software you are using but I would try to hold everytning else in the image as it was in your initial version.

    This is fairly easily done in Capture NX and I'm sure with many other software programs. Isn't photography great; you get the chance to learn so many different things at the same time. :biggrin:

    One thing I try to do is find a scene I like and keep taking different versions, over and over (not all at the same time), till I have one I really like. I usually end up learning quite a bit by doing this!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2007
  9. lchrismunos


    Jun 28, 2006
    Thanks Dan

    I'll give it a go tonight.
  10. What a beautiful scene. I like to do mountain shots, too. What time of day did you take this? I bet if you could take it at either sunrise or sunset you would see a dramatic difference. It you get back there, you might try the same scene under some different conditions. It's a bummer that landscape photographers can't get any sleep!!
  11. lchrismunos


    Jun 28, 2006
    Peano-Thanks for the tutorial. I had something I was pretty pleased with last night until I saw yours. I'll make some additional adjustments today. Thanks!

    Terri-This was at the top of the Ski Lift in Vail. My son had gone down to rent a bike and I had a couple of minutes to shoot. The lift closed at 4:30! I considered waiting until sunset and walking down the mountain. It would have been a long walk......
  12. Darn. There are places that just don't have easy access at the right time of day. That aside, this really is a beautiful photo. I love your composition.
  13. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Greetings. Thought I'd take a crack at it for grins:


    Attempted to reduce haze in distant hills and mountains, increase contrast in clouds, color correct for depth and emphasis, and focus bright areas to emphasize depth. I tried to accentuate the lines entering from right middle and left middle (the lines formed by the ridge on the right and the cloud shadow on the left), which meet somewhere near the center top third, making a vague vanishing point for the great depth of this image. Also adding contrast to the far mountain range and a little pop to the central valey (where there is a small s curve further accentuating depth in this image). I find brightening the foreground actually flattens the image (your mileage may vary).

    Hope you find this interesting (a slightly different take than some others have proposed)... this was done with 4 masked adjustment layers:

    1. curves adjustment (luminosity blended) to bring out contrast of far hills and mountain range, and some of the contrast in the clouds
    2. color balance adjustment +3 -12 +6 midtones and -4 -4 0 highlights to bring out more blue in the sky (less cyan) and a slight magenta cast to the clouds to play off the magenta features in trees and forground
    3. +25 brightness +4 contrast to middle hills to the left of valley
    4. 2.0 high pass filter and 22% opacity color burn blend to clouds and far mountains (backed off a bit in the blue sky sections by painting grey in mask).

    Foreground to diagonal ridgeline was untouched (nice diagonal by the way).

    This is a great shot and fun to work with, lots of possible variations. Thanks for posting it...


  14. lchrismunos


    Jun 28, 2006
    Sent to Print!

    Thanks for all of the feedback. I finally ended up with something I was somewhat happy with. I believe I used advice from everyone! I'm still a bit uncertain about the foreground. I may have lightened it too much. We will see when the print shows up. I can always modify it and print again. Digital has its advantages!!

  15. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Looks good and should print very nicely
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