Nature Photography Post Processing
Time of day:Morning
Comment:I tried to play with the group of rocks in the foreground and the prevailing mist to create a special mysterious effect.
Post processing improvements
First step with any image for me is to inspect it at 100% (ctrl, Alt, 0) then with the mouse button clicked hold the space bar and drag the image around. This revealed 2 things to me firstly that the image was nice and clean with no dust spots to clone out (thank you I really dont enjoy cloning out dust, so it makes my job easier :)) and secondly that the image was slightly soft, particularly in the distant trees. This I believe is sure to your aperture, I would have liked to have seen this shot at f/11 to give a greater depth of field, but we wont notice it for small web use like this.
Next step is to make a copy of the background layer (Ctrl J) so we don´t damage the original and can always refer back to it if needs be. I normally hide this layer and forget about it.
The one thing this image was in need off was a big boost of contrast, so I added a contrast adjustment layer and pulled the left slider to meet the bottom left of the histogram and the bottom right slider to meet the bottom right of the histogram. This bumped up the contrast no end, but I thought it needed a little more so I added a very slight s-curve too.
With the contrast sorted I next went to work on the colours. What I thought this image was really missing was a cool wintery feeling so I added a photo filter adjustment (found in the adjustments tab) and set it to a Cooling Filter (80). I reduced the density to 15% as any more seemed too powerful.
Having done this the colours in the sky became a somewhat nasty turquoise colour. I fixed this by adding a new exposure layer and setting it to minus 1. Obviously this effects the entire image and I only wanted it to effect the top, to achieve this I clicked on the layer mask (the white square next to the exposure layer in the layers tab) then using the gradient tool, with the foreground set to black and the background set to white, I dragged it on the image to add a graduated filter. Anything black on a layer mask will not show though, anything white on a layer mask will. Therefore I have blocked the exposure layer from the bottom of the image and blended it in to the sky. I hope that makes sense.
Next step was to sharpen the image up by creating a new copy of layer 1 (Ctrl J) and then under the filter menu select other > High Pass. This will open up a dialog box and turn your image a funny grey colour. You´ll want to set the radius so that you can just about see the edges of you image through the grey, I chose 5 pixels and clicked enter. Then with your image still grey, I selected the blending mode (top left of the layers tab) and changed it from normal to overlay. With the image now back in full colour you can adjust the opacity to suit your needs I selected 70%.
Final step was to flatten the image (Ctrl, shift, E) and save as a jpg. Normally I would save it as a .psd so I can return and make further adjustments depending on my needs.
Hi Howard, this is a really nice shot, you obviously have good knowledge of composition and light. The exposure is excellent none of the whites are burnt out and none of the blacks are true blacks, this gives me (and you) more space to play with when we´re processing the image. I love the mist/fog, I don´t shoot enough in fog myself but when I do am am always happy with the results, it really does add another dimension to the image. At first I was tempted to process this image into a high contrast black and white image, but you didn´t mention that you thought it should be black and white, so I stuck with the colour.
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