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Should I just put this photo out of it's misery?

JCJC Registered Users Posts: 768 Major grins
edited September 13, 2012 in Finishing School
I wanted to recover something from this photo- taken during a brief clearing in some low level clouds, and totally screwed up the exposure.

1) SOOC
i-PtmjcmB-XL.jpg

2) working on it, a reshoot isn't exactly easy
i-qMr6K3z-XL.jpg

3) woooah, way over cooked I think.
i-qQ2FM7p-XL.jpg

4) Just go for black and white?
i-pVfHPTZ-XL.jpg

Converted to black and white from the second image using value channel, then added a blue layer at 10% color blending to simulate a cold filter. Selenium is just purple toning, right? Black and white shows up a lot more dust bunnies I'll have to fix.
Yeah, if you recognize the avatar, new user name.

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    TybradTybrad Registered Users Posts: 46 Big grins
    edited September 10, 2012
    Hey,
    I'm with you- #3 looks too artificial. The B&W works best for me. Perhaps a bit more contrast via a red bump?

    Best,
    Tyler
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    PeanoPeano Registered Users Posts: 268 Major grins
    edited September 10, 2012
    It might not win any prizes, but it doesn't strike me as a total loss. Some interesting textures and colors in the foreground.
    If you show raw, there should be lots you can do with this.

    mountains4.jpg
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    angevin1angevin1 Registered Users Posts: 3,403 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    When I first saw your photo I thought you were using my pic style: Cinestyle. So I dragged a screen capture over into my workstation and behold, yes, just like my cinestyle (for video) this photo hasn't got a lot of DR, it sits in the middle of the histogram too. Looking at it on a wave-form I'd say it's hugely salvageable, but it'll take some layers to make it work better.
    tom wise
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    JCJC Registered Users Posts: 768 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    angevin1 wrote: »
    When I first saw your photo I thought you were using my pic style: Cinestyle. So I dragged a screen capture over into my workstation and behold, yes, just like my cinestyle (for video) this photo hasn't got a lot of DR, it sits in the middle of the histogram too. Looking at it on a wave-form I'd say it's hugely salvageable, but it'll take some layers to make it work better.

    I've been trying layers, one for the foreground cliffs, one for the midground, and one for the distant hills and sky and I just can't seem to make it work. Mostly manual stacking, some automatic pseudo HDR, and I can't seem to come up with anything I like, it's all too garish, and stretching the limited color out over the whole gamut just makes the results I'm getting look fake. I think I need to not try to 'stretch the color out over the whole gamut'.

    Peano wrote: »
    It might not win any prizes, but it doesn't strike me as a total loss. Some interesting textures and colors in the foreground.
    If you show raw, there should be lots you can do with this.
    I did shoot RAW, but I haven't been able to get anything as natural looking as your result, what did you do? I've tried S curves, multichannel curves on the levels, adjusting the levels in LAB color space, nothing is giving me what I would consider a great result.
    Tybrad wrote: »
    Hey,
    I'm with you- #3 looks too artificial. The B&W works best for me. Perhaps a bit more contrast via a red bump?

    Best,
    Tyler
    Right now, I think I'm sticking with the black and white, I intentionally separated myself from my editing computer today so I'd get some 'real' work done, though. I'll look back at it tomorrow.

    Thanks!
    Yeah, if you recognize the avatar, new user name.
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    dbddbd Registered Users Posts: 216 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    kolibri wrote: »
    I wanted to recover something from this photo- taken during a brief clearing in some low level clouds, and totally screwed up the exposure.
    ...
    Converted to black and white from the second image using value channel, then added a blue layer at 10% color blending to simulate a cold filter. Selenium is just purple toning, right? Black and white shows up a lot more dust bunnies I'll have to fix.

    The problem with the image is not exposure, but dirty air and diffuse lighting that destroy highlights and shadows limiting dynamic range and obscuring distant peaks. It's been a smokey summer in the interior western US. inciweb.org has been active this summer.

    I like the B&W treatments. It's hard to avoid a haloed appearance on the dark ridges.

    For comparison to a direct light clear air day in that area check against:
    http://www.dbdimages.com/photos/82879143_F6T8j-O.jpg

    Dale B. Dalrymple
    "Give me a lens long enough and a place to stand and I can image the earth."
    ...with apology to Archimedies
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    PeanoPeano Registered Users Posts: 268 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    kolibri wrote: »
    I did shoot RAW, but I haven't been able to get anything as natural looking as your result, what did you do?

    Lots of layers and masks to selectively edit different parts of the image. A few examples:


    This layer applies the shadows/highlights filter (Photoshop) to the foreground:
    mountains1.gif


    This layer increases midtone contrast in the middle region:
    mountains2.gif


    This one darkens the clouds with a gradient:
    mountains3.gif


    This brightens and colors the lake.
    mountains4.gif

    And so on, bit by bit.
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    JCJC Registered Users Posts: 768 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    dbd wrote: »
    The problem with the image is not exposure, but dirty air and diffuse lighting that destroy highlights and shadows limiting dynamic range and obscuring distant peaks. It's been a smokey summer in the interior western US. inciweb.org has been active this summer.

    I like the B&W treatments. It's hard to avoid a haloed appearance on the dark ridges.

    For comparison to a direct light clear air day in that area check against:
    http://www.dbdimages.com/photos/82879143_F6T8j-O.jpg

    Dale B. Dalrymple

    Nice image, what time of year was that? My image was actually 100% monsoon moisture. I think this was before the fire north of Sacramento broke out. I stood on top of Whitney in the middle of a damn cloud, couldn't see a thing to the east at all, nada, zip, zilch. Couldn't see the valley at all. Had some intermittent clearing to the west as we came down, this was one of the times when the clouds lifted a bit. But, we had no nice snow fields anywhere for contrast. The remnant glacier/snowfield under the Hitchcock saddle is almost all gone, have to redraw the USGS quads for that. All night by upper Hitchcock lake we could hear some really impressive rock falls through the chutes onto the talus slopes under Hitchcock. Widow makers if you'd have been over there. Probably heard a fall every half hour or so (since I wasn't really sleeping) I think if I'd have exposed to the right more, I'd have captured more color information. Shoot, now I wish I had my other images with me here to post, I did get a couple of interesting ones for the day. I've got one with just a bank of clouds rising over keeler needle from the east. And a sunset shot of lightening over either Saline valley or Death Valley in the distance.
    Peano wrote: »
    Lots of layers and masks to selectively edit different parts of the image. A few examples:


    This layer applies the shadows/highlights filter (Photoshop) to the foreground:
    Is this just a histogram stretch?

    This layer increases midtone contrast in the middle region:
    There is a midtone contrast plugin in GIMP I haven't played around with much, I'll give that a try.

    This one darkens the clouds with a gradient:
    Did that, you used a lighter hand (ended the gradient higher) that I thinks works better than mine.

    This brightens and colors the lake.
    I didn't think to work on the lake separately.

    And so on, bit by bit.

    Wow! thanks for taking the time to do that, that was really clear and informative. Thank you.
    Yeah, if you recognize the avatar, new user name.
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    PeanoPeano Registered Users Posts: 268 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    kolibri wrote: »
    This layer applies the shadows/highlights filter (Photoshop) to the foreground:
    Is this just a histogram stretch?

    It's a separate filter in Photoshop, but you can get pretty much the same result by stretching the histogram with curves or levels.
    This layer increases midtone contrast in the middle region:
    There is a midtone contrast plugin in GIMP I haven't played around with much, I'll give that a try.
    I used a curves adjustment layer for this, with the blend mode changed to soft light.
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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,891 moderator
    edited September 11, 2012
    Very nice work, Peano. thumb.gif

    Thanks so much for taking the time to demonstrate and to explain what you did to achieve the improvements. clap.gif
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    lifeinfocuslifeinfocus Registered Users Posts: 1,461 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    Peano wrote: »
    Lots of layers and masks to selectively edit different parts of the image. A few examples:
    And so on, bit by bit.

    Nice work! How did you do before and after for each photo in your post? Cool trick!

    PHil
    http://www.PhilsImaging.com
    "You don't take a photograph, you make it." ~Ansel Adams
    Phil
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    PeanoPeano Registered Users Posts: 268 Major grins
    edited September 11, 2012
    Nice work! How did you do before and after for each photo in your post? Cool trick!

    PHil

    Thanks. They're animated gifs. You can create them in Photoshop. Google for tutorials.
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    BinaryFxBinaryFx Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    I hope to have more time later to reply in more detail, until then - let me introduce the Photoshop "Picture Postcard Workflow" from Dan Margulis:

    http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=184713
    http://kelbytraining.com/author/danmargulis/

    Today, the "PPW" is a little different from when Dan first made the videos for the Kelby site.

    http://binaryfx.customer.netspace.net.au/downloads.html
    http://binaryfx.customer.netspace.net.au/BFX-Picture-Postcard-Tools.zip

    The action above was made after watching the video series, it may be of limited use without watching the videos. The action set is just a collection of techniques, one has to know when/how to string together the separate techniques to make an image editing workflow.

    A whole lot of info and action or panel downloads on the "PPW" are available at Dan's Applied Color Theory group page:

    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/colortheory/
    http://www.ledet.com/margulis/ppw


    Regards,

    Stephen Marsh
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    BinaryFxBinaryFx Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    For those wondering about the Photoshop Image - Adjustments - Shadow/Highlight command, under the hood it is not just a simple "histogram stretch" (I am not implying that Peano said it was such). When used correctly, one should have a better visual result and the shadow/highlights command will not "comb" the underlying histogram data as a similar move with levels or curves would do.

    http://www.photoshopsupport.com/tutorials/tt-cs2/shadow-highlight-tutorial.html


    Regards,

    Stephen Marsh
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    BinaryFxBinaryFx Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    Attached is sample of a Dan Margulis technique called "Man from Mars" (the original was used on a portrait photo that lacked colour variation).

    The intent is to blend this exagerated colour variation enhancement into an original at a reduced % value in order to introduce some colour variation into a flat coloured original (one may also need to use masks to limit the colour variation to only the areas that need it).

    Rotate the image back 90 degrees in Photoshop and layer it over the SOOC version (I had to cheat by rotating the image so that it could be uploaded at the original size).

    The full strength version below looks garish on purpose, it can be amazing how blending a small opacity into the original can really help lift a poor original.

    This image has only had the colour component altered, the luminosity component has not been boosted.


    Regards,

    Stephen Marsh
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    BinaryFxBinaryFx Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    Years after introducing the original technique, Dan reinvented the method to introduce even more colour variation. Attached is an example of the "Modern Man from Mars" technique.

    The intent is to blend this exagerated colour variation enhancement into an original at a reduced % value in order to introduce some colour variation into a flat coloured original (one may also need to use masks to limit the colour variation to only the areas that need it).

    Rotate the image back 90 degrees in Photoshop and layer it over the SOOC version (I had to cheat by rotating the image so that it could be uploaded at the original size).

    The full strength version below looks garish on purpose, it can be amazing how blending a small opacity into the original can really help lift a poor original.

    This image has only had the colour component altered, the luminosity component has not been boosted.



    Stephen Marsh
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    BinaryFxBinaryFx Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    Attached is a reduced size combo, showing a 50% blend in color blend mode of the Modern Man from Mars method into the Straight Out of the Camera version (SOOC on left, MMFM on the right).

    Regards,

    Stephen Marsh
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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,891 moderator
    edited September 12, 2012
    Good stuff Stephen. Awfully glad to have an additional take on the image to show how to "bring out" and enhance the base image. clap.gif
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    BinaryFxBinaryFx Registered Users Posts: 707 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Good stuff Stephen. Awfully glad to have an additional take on the image to show how to "bring out" and enhance the base image. clap.gif

    Thanks ziggy, the Man from Mars technique is usually performed towards the end of the workflow, after the basic colour and or tonal moves have been performed (if done too early, the MFM or MMFM techniques would be amplified by basic colour and tonal moves).

    Compare the results of the Modern Man from Mars technique with the Photoshop/ACR/Lightroom "Vibrance" command (vibrance does not deliver the same sort of colour variation as the MMfM method).


    Regards,

    Stephen Marsh
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    JCJC Registered Users Posts: 768 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    Peano wrote: »
    Thanks. They're animated gifs. You can create them in Photoshop. Google for tutorials.
    Or in GIMP!

    i-d7FD5PV-X3.gif

    I appreciate everyone's input. I just couldn't make a color version I was happy with, but I learned several new techniques here, so thank you all.

    Now I just have to decide which black and white version I like better. Anyone hate the toning on either one?
    Yeah, if you recognize the avatar, new user name.
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    angevin1angevin1 Registered Users Posts: 3,403 Major grins
    edited September 12, 2012
    kolibri wrote: »
    Or in GIMP!


    Now I just have to decide which black and white version I like better. Anyone hate the toning on either one?


    YAY for GIMP.

    Yeah. I like the B&W with the most contrast; the first one after the color version. Thing is since you shoot RAW, You can just do what many folks do and keep this photo, work on it here and there. When you learn a new technique, come back to it and give it another go. When I looked at it in my fav editing program it had tons of info there, and plenty of room to grow.
    tom wise
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    dbddbd Registered Users Posts: 216 Major grins
    edited September 13, 2012
    kolibri wrote: »
    Nice image, what time of year was that? My image was actually 100% monsoon moisture. I think this was before the fire north of Sacramento broke out. I stood on top of Whitney in the middle of a damn cloud, couldn't see a thing to the east at all, nada, zip, zilch. Couldn't see the valley at all. Had some intermittent clearing to the west as we came down, this was one of the times when the clouds lifted a bit. But, we had no nice snow fields anywhere for contrast. .
    That image was mid-July after a greater snowfall winter.

    Your haze was smoke and monsoon moisture. Neither the smoke nor the monsoon came from Sacramento. Heavy moisture is usually brought to the Sierra in summer by cyclonic flow around low pressure systems. This summer the eastern Sierra hasn't been without at least a light smoke haze except immediately after local rains. Doug Sr who runs the Whitney Portal Store calls what he's seen this year "milky air". To see the number of fires that have been burning this summer (or any time you want to plan big views in the west), check out the inciweb.org site. The information there, combines with current weather system information to let you know how to expect smoke to move. In the eastern Sierra in spring and fall you should also check the national forest web sites to learn about prescribed burns if you want to travel there to shoot long vistas.

    Dale B. Dalrymple
    http://dbdimages.com
    "Give me a lens long enough and a place to stand and I can image the earth."
    ...with apology to Archimedies
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