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Archive 2012 · How would you work this?
  
 
ben egbert
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p.1 #1 · How would you work this?


I got this image a week ago Sunday morning at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands. The under arch glow was very faint but there was some. I started with a 3 image blend per this process. I will include the three SOOC images here for you to work with.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?p=164

Then I darkened the sky and foreground some more and painted in some shadow- highlight to the under arch to brighten it some. Faded back to 70%.

Then I applied Topaz Photo Pop per :

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=344

Next I applied my labsoft action per this.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=320

I painted this only to the under arch to enhance the glow effect and faded to 80%.

Next I brushed on Topaz Bold Sky to the sky per this.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=347

I finished with Topaz Color Pop at 20% per this.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=342






My 3 image blend

  Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III    TS-E17mm f/4L lens    17mm    f/8.0    1/10s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  







middle exposure SOOC







dark exposure SOOC







bright exposure SOOC ( I boosetd it a bit before blending)




Oct 02, 2012 at 02:20 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · How would you work this?


This is looking too griitty to me, I added no sharpening after blending but I am not happy with it. I tried another from a single image, the bright one which only had a few blown areas that were correctable. I used some of the tricks in the first, but left out bold sky.






single image

  Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III    TS-E17mm f/4L lens    17mm    f/8.0    1/8s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Oct 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #3 · How would you work this?


Your first looks over processed to me. I like the second much better.

Here are two options I arrived at.

















Oct 02, 2012 at 05:55 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #4 · How would you work this?


Thanks I really like your first redo. You got it much lighter but retained contrast and natural colors.

I am trying to figure out what I did to the first one to get the gritty look. Even the second is a bit more that I usually get. I think it may be when I add a curve that is too contrasty, or the Photo Pop step. I usually fade Photo Pop to 70% but left it at 100% here.



Oct 02, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #5 · How would you work this?


Here are my steps in LR starting with the bright exposure:
- Increased clarity
- Increased vibrance
- Decreased saturation
- Custom white balance using one of the white clouds as neutral
- Graduated filter on the sky
- Brush strokes to increase clarity and saturation a bit more on the rocks in the foreground

It's a nice shot, by the way.



Oct 02, 2012 at 06:36 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #6 · How would you work this?


Thanks for the recipe. I applied it, how is this?




  Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III    TS-E17mm f/4L lens    17mm    f/8.0    1/8s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Oct 02, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #7 · How would you work this?


Looks good. I like this the best of the three you've posted. Yours is slightly cooler than mine, but that's kind of a preference thing, and yours is probably more natural looking. I tend toward warmer colors so that's reflected in mine.


Oct 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #8 · How would you work this?


I am poor at color judgement. Note the first two? You decided to change WB. You probably choose a slightly different place in the clouds or did something to warm it up in post processing that I missed. The color temp was not something I choose, just something I accepted because I did no know better.


Oct 02, 2012 at 08:09 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #9 · How would you work this?


Does have the usual centered composition issue. Compare it to Matt K's version :

http://www.mattk.com/category/story-behind-the-photo/



Oct 02, 2012 at 10:19 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #10 · How would you work this?


Took a stab at it.

Missed on some masking areas, but you get the gist.







Oct 02, 2012 at 10:56 PM
 

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ben egbert
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p.1 #11 · How would you work this?


AuntiPode wrote:
Does have the usual centered composition issue. Compare it to Matt K's version :

http://www.mattk.com/category/story-behind-the-photo/



I never even thought this could have a centeredness,

But the facts are, I was third one there and still missed the good spot, so I got 3rd best:-) You have to line up, and there is no standing back unless you want the back of another photographer. Too low and you don't get the washer women arch. In fact you need to get pretty high to get enough clearance under the arch.

I also struggled to include the whole arch. Even 14mm was not wide enough. I did a stitched 17 and a 14. The 17 stitch was too early so not enough light. Here is the 14mm.

I guess the only way to get this one off center is to crop. But first there needs to be some way to define where center is, I am still struggling with that one.






  Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III    1/13s    100 ISO    +0.7 EV  




Oct 03, 2012 at 12:18 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #12 · How would you work this?


RustyBug wrote:
Took a stab at it.

Missed on some masking areas, but you get the gist.


This looks dramatic. Your WB seems closer to my original. I should have used my McBeth, but I am not sure how good that works when shooting into the light as I was here. I guess I could have turned around and taken one of teh McBeth taken the opposite direction.



Oct 03, 2012 at 12:21 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #13 · How would you work this?


I didn't use my typical workflow concerning WB ... I just eyeballed it this time. Guess I should have stuck with my normal workflow, but I kinda got caught up in the challenge of the DR and got lazy at WB study.


Oct 03, 2012 at 02:24 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #14 · How would you work this?


Hi Rusty. mot sure where WB ought to be. The DR is tough because you are shooting into the sun. I did pretty badly on the color study you linked. I am not sure what it should look like now, but think my last two are closer than my first.

This has been an informative post. I had no idea the WB was off until Mister Bean did his version. I had no idea it was centered until Karen mentioned it. And I was very conscience of centeredness on this trip as a result of recent critique of my work.

I seem to recall having my camera slightly tilted down for this shot, and right after the last shot above, I lowered the camera to include all of that lower foreground rock. But that started cutting off Washer Women Arch in the background. I still have no clue where the center is defined here. The horizon such as it is certainly has no claim because it is such a paltry part of the image.

The holy grail for Mesa Arch is:

Get the under-arch glow. (I have one from 2008 but failed here).
Get a starburst. This is my first one with a star.
Include Washer Women Arch.
Include all of Mesa Arch. Nearly impossible without standing well behind the other photographers.
Avoid the weed at the right side. (my 2008 has the weed).
Get some clouds in the sky. (my 2008 shot was cloudless, hence a good glow)
Get it sharp and well exposed.

You are shooting into the sun, and have elements you can touch as well as infinity making DOF tough even for UWA lenses.

I was there once in April and had the place to myself but no sun.

Edit:

Forgot to mention, I really like your version, just a slight change in wb but leave the rest as is and it would be a winner. This image does not have a glow, I should ignore that and not try to create one.



Oct 03, 2012 at 02:52 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · How would you work this?


The main problem I have with my WB is that I've got the arch color in a "mismatch" from the lighting with a backlit source. It is very possible for color to be darn near anything given the varying spectrum of natural lighting. To that point ... I think mine is outside of the realm of "plausible realism" on this occasion.

I should revisit/restudy/rethink the lighting & colors. Like I mentioned before, I just eyeballed this one as I was working on the various portions of the scene ... not giving proper credence to it as a whole. It might only be a slight tweak here vs. there ... but I didn't get it quite where I was trying to take it.



Oct 03, 2012 at 03:14 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #16 · How would you work this?


RustyBug wrote:
The main problem I have with my WB is that I've got the arch color in a "mismatch" from the lighting with a backlit source. It is very possible for color to be darn near anything given the varying spectrum of natural lighting. To that point ... I think mine is outside of the realm of "plausible realism" on this occasion.

I should revisit/restudy/rethink the lighting & colors. Like I mentioned before, I just eyeballed this one as I was working on the various portions of the scene ... not giving proper credence to it as a whole. It might
...Show more

How would you approach WB or color on this subject? You could simple use a white part of a cloud, but it might not be white.

If I used a white card that was getting reflected light from the sky, white ought to have a blue cast, correct? If I make it white, I am cheating the reality.



Oct 03, 2012 at 03:53 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #17 · How would you work this?


Ben, you are right @ the fact that multiple colors of "light" exist ... and depending on how your orient a white card/grey card / color checker will yield different answers for what constitutes WB. That is because the color that gets recorded is a product of the light illuminating it and its own inherent color reflecting qualities.

Shine a red light on white paper, it reflects red light. Shine a white light on a red paper and it reflects red light. Shine a red light on a red paper and it reflects red light. So ... if you have recorded an area of red ... what is the color of the light and what is the color of the object it is reflecting off of? The fact is that we don't know ... until we begin to decipher other clues that will let us know more about the subject vs. the illuminating source.

Direct sunlight is warm, overhead sky is cool. In this limited time frame, the angle of the sun is low enough that it can illuminate the underside of the arch, but the sun itself is not capable of illuminating the face of the arch we are viewing. The illumination of the face of the arch must come largely from the overhead sky.

My error was that I was taking the arch into a "warm" place as if it were illuminated by the warm tones associated by the sunset / golden hour ... but they aren't actually being illuminated by the warm direct sun ... my bad and hence the stretch at "plausible realism" ... unless of course the arches are really THAT color.

You mention the use of the white card as being a possible aid. To me, if you are going to use that or a color checker, you need to be a reference shot (doesn't need to be exact same time ... horseshoes & hand grenades will do) with your reference card/checker oriented such that it is receiving the lighting from BOTH sources ... i.e. TWO SHOTS, one oriented to be illuminated by the warm direct sunlight, and one illuminated by the direct overhead sky (not receiving any of the direct sunlight.)

You could orient the card at 45 degress to split the difference, but you have two faces in play here (the underside and the face) that largely receive illumination from only one of the sources ... not both. Then there are other areas of the scene that do receive mixed illumination from both. As such, there are three "zones" of "correct" WB.

Unless you split the zones and treat them differently, you'll always be pushing/pulling warm/cool into a wrong direction by attempting a global WB setting. Reference cards are great ... but their typical usage is predicated upon a uniform lighting color ... which of course is what we do NOT have in such scenes.

The trick here is to assess what areas you expect would appear "neutral" in nature. and asses which light source they are being illuminated by. The big problem I have with this scene is that while I can surmise that the shadows in the arch face are likely devoid of both direct sunlight and overhead skylight ... I don't see anything that I can associate with highlight neutrals in the rock. Combine that with the fact that I really don't know if the inherent properties of the arches are more red or more yellow, it puts me at a disadvantage.

As to the "are you cheating reality" ...

I ask myself this ... when I stand there and look at it, do I see naturally and normally see the blue cast. If the answer is "No" then I usually adjust it out. If the answer is "Yes" (see Mount McKinley or Blue Ridge Mountains, etc.), then I leave it in. Far too often, when people apply a global WB in mixed lighting ... they actually over enhance the blues by taking the reds/yellows and making them white (i.e. adding blue).

Your point at "Gee, which part of the cloud do I choose to make white?" is valid. For this reason, I subscribe to it is a bit of a "Mastermind" game where you "rule out" implausibles ... until you are left with a deductive plausible. I, of course, am about as overly convoluted in this as one might run into, but I truly don't believe you can get good WB from using only one source when you are dealing with two opposing colors of warm vs. cool. Globally pull one, you push the other ... vice verse.

Most people are accustomed to masking for contending with exposure variance to bring DR into realm of what our eye/brain experience would have been like to be there. I essentially aspire to do the same with WB variance. It becomes a judgment call as to how close/far they should be when you have mixed lighting ... not unlike exposure or contrast.

This one is going to be a "trick" ... I don't think any of us have hit on it very well just yet, but all somewhat addressing various aspects more successfully in some areas than others. BTW, mine was done from only a single image (middle sooc). Getting a masterful rendering of this one will be an effort worthy to be proud of ... not for the faint of heart.



Oct 03, 2012 at 05:26 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #18 · How would you work this?


Rusty, first of all this is a great explanation. I will copy and paste it someplace where I can refer back to it. Maybe at my web page with your permission.

Second, I can see doing two WB references. Sometimes it is hard to do as you are waiting for that split second to grab a sunburst that by the way is changing the wb as it appears or disappears.

Lastly, I hate any mask that must have accurate edges and avoid them like the plague they are. I am ok with painting in areas when the thing I am painting is subtle and can be done with a soft edge brush and if you don't need to to completely fill the target area.

Selected masks work ok for subtle color adjustments and noise, but show halos when and darkness or lightness is changes.

Changing color will be a real challenge. For one thing, figuring out what the color ought to be is the first step for this color challenged guy. Next is how to use the hue saturation tools in PS.

But like learning what is the center of an image, it seems like something I ought to be able to learn with enough time. It took me 20+ years to learn how to focus and I am really still working on that.




Oct 03, 2012 at 06:59 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #19 · How would you work this?


ben egbert wrote:
Selected masks work ok for subtle color adjustments and noise, but show halos when and darkness or lightness is changes.


When you make a selection in Photoshop, learn how to use "Refine Edge" to refine the edge of the selection. I use selections to change specific areas in the majority of serious images I post-process and by properly refining the edges I don't experience ANY edge halo problems. Just be sure to refine the edge before using the selection.

Notice that selections can reveal halo issues that exist but are not as obvious before making selection based changes, so start from halo-free edges for best results.



Oct 03, 2012 at 07:12 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #20 · How would you work this?


I need to read more on this and I have viewed several tutorials. I have used refine edge, but often even one pixel is visible. Not so much as halos but as some sort of discontinuity.

I use magic wand sometimes for clear areas and Topaz Remask for more complex edges. Like I said, it works ok for things that don't change exposure much, but exposure or color changes can be pretty noticeable in my experience.



Oct 03, 2012 at 07:42 PM
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