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Winter Storm in the Mountain: Technical and Esthetic Advice

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by Markb, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. I'd like some advice/critique on this panorama. The two shots were taken on our last run down the mountain just before Christmas, about 4:30 when a winter storm was moving in. The light just grabbed me...

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    The image as it stands has been blended in Photoshop, and the two corners have been retouched to hide areas that did not have data. I copied one area of the forest into a blank area, then obscured that area with cloned clouds. The other corner just has cloned clouds.

    Other than that, no further processing.

    So I'm looking for some advice/critiques on the processing technique, how to make it pop, and the picture for that matter.

    Thank you.
  2. Sorry Mark but too many foreground clouds for me. It makes me feel like "hurried to take the shot but maybe if I'd waited a few more minutes, the clouds would have passed and I'd have a great photo". I know you were working under conditions which weren't perfect, and with time constraints, but that's what this picture says to me. The foreground clouds just stop me cold, rather than providing a natural framing, just too much of them. A vertical crop just to show the lit peak might work better??
    All in all, I love the lighting on the mountain, the crispness of the shot, the composition of the mountain(s)... just the foreground clouds which are bothering me from calling this a stunner.... Hope this helps.
  3. It is basically the lack of drama within the situation that lets this down.

    It is a nice enough picture but there is nothing that gives it the 'shabang' that takes it out of the average picture catagory into something else. Nor do I know what would do it. Most of the really good pictures I have seen of this type have very dramatic lighting, someting that this does not have. It could quite easily be mistaken as a shot out of an areoplane window. Having said that you do not see many really good pictures of mountain scenery at this level.

    Best wishes. Bob F.
  4. Good feedback so far, giving me some ideas. I do thank you. I'm thinking along the lines of a much tighter crop, and some PP to punch out the starkness of the mountain.

    Yes Sandy, it was a quick grab and go shot. With a storm moving in, being near the top of the mountain in failing light at that time of day is not a good thing.

    So we'll keep looking for some feedback and try some more. Worst (best?) case I may just have to go back and shoot again.

  5. RayGuselli


    Oct 18, 2005
    Hi Mark would you consider....................

    Some processing?

    Hope this works and that you like it.

    All the best


    ps if you prefer I will of course remove immediately

  6. RayGuselli


    Oct 18, 2005
    Quick amendment to hide the obvious

    All the best

  7. Ray,

    I like the touch. That's definitely turning something average to some pop. Now I'm going to take some time, and the advice and see what I can come up with.
  8. Mark:

    First, let me say that I do like this image. I think the peaks and the clouds add character to it. I would like to suggest that you try one with only the two tall peaks (crop out everything to the right of the second peak.) This way the clouds on the left act as a framing devise. Just my thoughts.

  9. sfoxjohn


    May 1, 2005
    Marlton, NJ

    I have to say that the large reflection on the left just doesn't work for me. The dramatic coloring seems to help with the rest.
  10. Folks,

    Great advice, and I'm part way there. Real world stuff unfortunately has got in the way. I think I should have some alternatives tomorrow (Sunday). Then we can go around again. Thank you.

  11. I really want to like this image it has elements that grab my eye but then it lets go. While I am not expert with Photoshop I did do a little work on the image that I think helps it. I croped, used several layers, the dodge tool and some sharpening with Mirandas CS Pro. The dodge tool work could be done more carefully on the original for a cleaner look. Here it is, if you prefer I will remove it.
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  12. Ray

    Very dramatic effect almost evil looking, I like it.
  13. RayGuselli


    Oct 18, 2005
    Hi John

    Thanks for the feedback John.

    I had tired to get an alternative image to match but it was vert hard because of lighting.

    I suppose it would b epossible to construct something from this image as all I was tring to do was a quick removal of foreground cloud as suggested.

    Do you think the cloud shoud stay john - does it look better with cloudfill?

    All the best

  14. jfriend


    Nov 11, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Added some pop

    Added some pop - nothing fancy. I didn't mess with the crop or composition.

    • Shadow/highlight to bring out a little more detail in the dark trees and give us a little headroom on the snow to later add contrast.
    • S-curve to add contrast and add pop
    • Paint with light to further add contrast (used blend-if to protect shadows from plugging and highlights from blowing)
    • Converted to sRGB (you posted in aRGB, though there is so little color in this that it doesn't matter much)
    • Smart sharpen

    Here's my retouch:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  15. I couldn't resist joining the fun. Here's a couple more. First in color.
    Black and White
  16. sfoxjohn


    May 1, 2005
    Marlton, NJ

    Unless you have a large collection of similar images I guess it won't be possible to find a convincing substitute for the clouds. My own gut reaction is to just crop as much as reasonable from the left.
  17. RayGuselli


    Oct 18, 2005
    Thanks John

    After your post I had a good search in Google but couldn't get anything that I could make near enough.

    I think you are right that a large collection of images is needed and perhaps even then depends on matching the lighting.

    Anyway - thanks again for the help and advice - as always appreciated.

    Best wishes

  18. Mark...nice job on the retouch. Awesome. Beautiful panarama.
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