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Archive 2012 · help with sky color
  
 
ben egbert
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p.2 #1 · help with sky color


Hi Kent.

What I would like to know is how you got so much contrast. I kept losing detail in the rocks.

The idea about shooting predawn or even moonlight is that the DR is actually flatter than in direct sun. It is dark to the naked eye, but long exposures are possible without blowing anything out. But contrast is low by nature.

The final image can be dark as seen, or process to appear like sunlight, or softish but brighter than as seen. My original was such an effort but getting WB to look right is the trick.

Here is a link that shows the entire morning. Note the shadow on the cliff when the sun gets involved. But after that last image, the light is so strong as to wash out everything and all the photographers pack up and leave.

http://ben-egbert-photo.com/?page_id=1119





Dec 21, 2012 at 04:15 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #2 · help with sky color


+1 @ lighting contrast variance
I really didn't do much with the sooc image.

Mostly I set the WB by using the R, G & B levels clipping approach ... by eye, this time (unlike my usual "by numbers" @ known neutral)

This in combination with a layer for sharpening, a layer for shadows (lighter color blending mode) and a layer for gamma. Then I topped it off with a layer to pull back the contrast somewhat. Opacities variable.

NOTE:
Background is referring to a copy of the original background layer ... not to be confused with addressing the background portion of the image. As you can see ... no masks this time, but one certainly could take it wherever they wanted accordingly.

As always, S&P to taste.







Dec 21, 2012 at 06:11 PM
ben egbert
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p.2 #3 · help with sky color


Ok, I gave it a try and have questions.

The RGB step is first before creating layers.

I assume the shadows layer is made from the usm layer, otherwise you would lose the USM when flattened, the shadows layer if made from the background will remaim unsharpened.

So far as I know, levels, exposure and brightness all do the same thing in different ways. I understand contrast is different, but I don't have a clue how to use gamma. I generally use levels to lighten of darken an image I seldom use exposure or brightness. I do use contrast sometimes with a brush to add contrast to areas that need it.

By the way, I used my own home brewed shadows/highlight action for the shadows layer.




Dec 21, 2012 at 06:36 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #4 · help with sky color


Gamma (iirc) is essentially a logarithm (maybe only multiplier) calculation whereas levels is an additive/subtractive calculation (from the endpoints). Someone else feel free to correct me on this.

We often hear about having our monitors set to Gamma 2.2 for sRGB, etc. Starting from your RAW, I simply set the Gamma slider over to .45 (i.e. 1/2.2) as a starting point. In this case, I just left it there. Sometimes I'll ratchet it up more (i.e. .38) or less (i.e. .50). To me, I use Gamma kinda like the difference between shooting Velvia vs. Ektachrome. Film had it's inherent profile, most notably Kodachrome that found its "sweet spot" for so many.

Personally, I would shoot FujiChrome 50 @ -1/3 ... as you can probably relate that to how I typically process. An Ektachrome shooter would likely "puke & gag" at how I process, citing how "unnatural" it looks, while the inverse would say Ektachrome looks "flat". We used to choose our "S&P to taste" by virtue of what we would load into our camera (predetermined by the OEM film engineers) ... now, it comes after we get the shot (infinitely variable by us). I use Gamma kinda like I would choose film ... as if that makes any sense.


ben egbert wrote:
The RGB step is first before creating layers.


My first order of business is always to duplicate the image to use as a sharpening layer.

I perform the WB adjust (in the Levels layer or Color Balance layer) before I work on the others, but it still resides "above" my sharpening layer. I do my sharpening layer this way for a very specific reason. Because everything @ levels, contrast, gamma, sharpening, etc. is so interrelated as to final output, I keep my sharpening on it's own layer. No biggie there.

But, in addition to being able to adjust opacity or mask adjust etc. ... I can also throw it away and replace it with another duplicate from the original in the event that my subsequent iterative process reveal that I want a different level of sharpening to work with the other calculations. Also, I can simply "insert" a second sharpening layer and mask them accordingly if I desire to do so.

Probably not anything you'll find anyone else suggesting, but I basically do WB first, and keep my sharpening "under" all other adjustments. A zillion ways to skin this cat ... but it is how my workflow evolved.



Dec 21, 2012 at 06:53 PM
ben egbert
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p.2 #5 · help with sky color


Hi Kent, excellent way to describe gamma. I could have figured it out had I associated it with monitor gamma. This info alone is worth the post.

I sharpen and add clarity, saturation and vibrance as well as a camera profile in raw. This is sort of a film profile.

I am still confused on the USM layer. It sounds like it is just there to see its effect on the later work because if it is under it, it gets lost when you flatten. So I assume you need to do it again at the end.

I am surprised you do WB in levels or col bal. I used curves. I never considered levels for that and for strictly RGB, seems like col bal is overkill.

The way I do it in curves is to hold down the alt key and slide until clipping from both ends on each channel. I am not sure that trick is available in the others. I also tend to keep the center point of the curve at the center. IE I pull it up or down to cross center which tends to keep the brightness neutral.



Dec 21, 2012 at 07:45 PM
ben egbert
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p.2 #6 · help with sky color


Ok, I tried col bal but this seems to require an eyeball sort of way to get the WB. I also tried Levels and it sort of works like curves, but it seems to me that curves has a bit better feedback.

I followed your recipe and got a very dark image with a ton of exposure lightening at the end. I am missing something.

I think I need to start posting stuff just for post processing so I can catch up to the skill level of the regulars here. You all have tricks that I never considered.



Dec 21, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.2 #7 · help with sky color


Ben, imagine how I feel; you have tricks that I not only never considered, but never even knew were available for consideration!


Dec 22, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Mister Bean
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p.2 #8 · help with sky color


I went the opposite direction and put more purple into the sky.








Dec 22, 2012 at 12:17 AM
ben egbert
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p.2 #9 · help with sky color


Ernie Aubert wrote:
Ben, imagine how I feel; you have tricks that I not only never considered, but never even knew were available for consideration!


This inspired a thought. This is not officially a retouching forum, but it has many forum members with the talent for one.

There are at least two components of critique. One is the raw capture itself which cannot be changed until next time out. The other is how to post process it for maximum effect.

If others are like me, one or two good raw captures a year is a good year. So what to do with the rest? They could be used to learn more about post processing.


Edited on Dec 22, 2012 at 03:46 PM · View previous versions



Dec 22, 2012 at 03:25 PM
ben egbert
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p.2 #10 · help with sky color


Mister Bean wrote:
I went the opposite direction and put more purple into the sky.

http://www.myrealnameismatt.com/Misc/Miranda/Cliffs.jpg


Thanks, this works as a stand alone but perhaps not in my intended usage which I failed to state . My original intent which I did not make clear was for a three shot presentation showing the progression of dawn. I did not intend to present all three here, as I consider this more of a workshop to fix stuff and this image needed fixing.



Dec 22, 2012 at 03:29 PM
 

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alatoo60
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p.2 #11 · help with sky color


Ben, while looking at the original image, I do not see anything wrong with the sky color. The only problem I see with it is lack of foreground, so sky pulls attention and all of a sudden becomes an important issue. May be try to crop about 2/3 of it.
If you want to increase contrast and details without affecting colors, there is a simple way to do so - convert to Lab, duplicate layer, and apply Highlights and Shadows to L channel of the top layer only.
Color-wise, you can try to change the slope of a and b curves (make them steeper) but preserve white balance by not moving them off center.
Fall color of the trees can be emphasized by selective highlight dodging and saturation without going overboard by saturating the whole scene.



Dec 30, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Camperjim
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p.2 #12 · help with sky color


alatoo60 wrote:
Ben, while looking at the original image, I do not see anything wrong with the sky color. The only problem I see with it is lack of foreground, so sky pulls attention and all of a sudden becomes an important issue. May be try to crop about 2/3 of it.
.

1+. I agree that much of your sky issue is due to your rigid style. If you stop levelling the camera, and include some interesting foreground elements, and then crop out some of the sky, I think your images would be much better and you could still retain much of your basic style of shooting.



Dec 30, 2012 at 02:20 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #13 · help with sky color


Aleksandra & Jim bring up the salient point @ the "mass" and "balance" involved with your sky. It's dominance is an issue that could use some assistance with other tenets (refer to other post) at your disposal.


Dec 30, 2012 at 05:53 PM
ben egbert
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p.2 #14 · help with sky color


Well that requires a shift lens to prevent the mountains falling over backwards which is just butt ugly. Besides, if I had included more foreground, I would have had tripod legs in the scene.

The choice of focal length here is to get the entire face of the cliff and stop it just at the edge of the interesting or shadowed edge. It is a self composing scene.

My dark sky shot allowed a wider lens, so I used a 15mm. Here is what that looks like from the same place. But then I had no shadows to deal with.

I will go ahead and show the sunrise shot here since I have decided this series is not presentation worthy.

The idea about not centering an image is sort of like religion. Some believe others don't.

Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:21 PM · View previous versions



Dec 30, 2012 at 06:22 PM
ben egbert
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p.2 #15 · help with sky color


This is what I had in mind, somebody beat me too it.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1177736



Dec 30, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Camperjim
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p.2 #16 · help with sky color


I had noticed that post. I guess this is an iconic area but the images don't seem that interesting.


Dec 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM
RustyBug
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p.2 #17 · help with sky color


ben egbert wrote:
if I had included more foreground, I would have had tripod legs in the scene.


Ben,

I think that we've been remiss to explain "more foreground" very well. I think it would be better stated if we had said something like a stronger foreground element to offset / balance / lead the other areas of the image. More (of the same) foreground can change the balance, but it can help to include a foreground element. Just a point of clarification @ "more foreground" ... i.e. more interest in the foreground ... if that makes any sense ... although I may have been "clear as mud" here as well.



Dec 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM
ben egbert
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p.2 #18 · help with sky color


as you can see by that other post, this is about all there is. Not the best location, but still there are at least 20 people lined up for it each morning.


Dec 30, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Camperjim
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p.2 #19 · help with sky color


ben egbert wrote:
as you can see by that other post, this is about all there is. Not the best location, but still there are at least 20 people lined up for it each morning.

This does nothing for my overal impressions of Zion. It is my least favorite national park - well maybe not, Acadia was a major disappointment. I rolled into Zion last March and decided to stay for 10 days with the idea that I would start to enjoy and appreciate the park after an unfavorable impression from years before. After 3 or 4 days in the valley, I gave up and spent the rest of my time between the tunnel and checkerboard. That area I liked. I also like the Kolob area but that was still snowed in. I guess I should return again. I never got a single decent image from the Zion river valley area.



Dec 31, 2012 at 03:52 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #20 · help with sky color


I never made it into Zion valley ... but I really enjoyed the tunnel - checkerboard area.


Dec 31, 2012 at 04:24 AM
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