Upload & Sell: Off
Looking at the rice fields shot again and trying different crops I find myself contradicting my previous advice on cropping, liking it cropped to make it more panoramic, but from the top rather than the bottom as shown below:
I changed my mind for a couple of reasons. The first time I looked at it I didn't notice the leaves near the bottom that make cropping from the bottom difficult and the more I looked at it the more I realized the least interesting element in it was the plain cloudless sky.
I toned down the saturation and tweeked the overall tonal range a bit with Levels, as the highlights were a tad underexposed and the shadows too light (no clipping 0 and 255 file values in any channels). A full tonal range image should have some 0 black values in the shadow voids and 255 specular highliights in few places to "anchor" the tonal range perceptually.
To pull the detail out of the niipa hut I duped the background layer and slide the middle Levels slider left, which opens the shadows, blending the lighter layer in selectively with a mask. Pulling the hut out of the shadows reveals an "Easter Egg" surprise — what appear to be a national flag hidden in the shadows.
The next iteration of tweeks was done with adjustment layers. I have an action that creates screen, multiply and soft light layers and masks which I applied selectively to darken and boost contrast in the sky and background.
The last step was flattening the adjustment layers, duping again and applying lens blur to the copy and adding it around the edges with a mask. That simulates how the center 2° of our visual field where the color sensing cones are on the retina is all we really focus on at any moment in time with "tunnel vision" with the rest of the 140° field of view mentally tuned out by the brain. It sends a subliminal message to the viewer that the sharper content in the photo is more important when they wander out to the edges.
My goal was the create the feeling of hiding out low in the rice field and spying on the hut.