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Thanks again fellows!
I love the light, and the way you've processed it. Would you mind to say a few words about the way you made this image? It would be most appreciated.
Hi Twisty, there's really not that much to say. IMO if you want nice landscape images the real secret is that you get out before sunrise, which is usually impossible for me. For this shot I drove out to Cathedral Valley the day before, broke trail through the snow and camped up at the Cathedral Valley campground in the back of my Jeep. Then got up at 5:00 am and headed over to the location in the dark (got lost temporarily also when hiking).
I was fortunate that the camera captured those colors during that time of day. I shot with my D800e, always in raw mode, with the Nikon 24mm pc-e tilt-shift lens in manual mode, f11, ISO 100. I think I had a GND filter on but am not 100% sure as I was adding and removing it during the shoot. I always use a RRS leveling base and rail in case I decide to shoot a pano, and it's a habit but I always make sure it's perfectly level and the internal camera level agree. That way I can just spin the lens around 360 degrees, it stays level throughout, and I adjust the shift for the composition. It's very fast. I prefer always using this system now as it keeps the camera level forward and backward, and side to side.
But processing was nothing special - no secret tricks, I shoot Nikon, and use Capture NX2 for raw processing, have the camera set on default "standard" or "landscape" settings. When I bring it into NX2 I do the following (kind of in order of Nikon steps):
1. check white balance, adjust if it's too blue or too hot.
2. adjust exposure
3. turn off the Nikon default sharpening (not necessary if brought into ACR)
4. Turn on D-Lighting and adjust to bring back universal shadow detail.
5. Use Nikon control points to spot adjust individual exposure details as needed.
6. Used an auto-retouch brush to remove a small contrail.
7. Applied sharpening.
That's it. I'm not very sophisticated with processing.