Photog Chris's Blog

got a camera and photoshop, fun times

Newfound Gap – Multi-Layered

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Before I get started. I am using RAW images, not jpegs. Your camera may or may not give you RAW. It is harder to work with, way larger on your hard drive (15megs vs 4 megs), and many programs can not handle the format.

But, with canon you get a 14bit image (vs 8bit jpeg) which has a lot more color and luminescent information. You can generally “push” and exposure up or down one stop with out losing any quality. There are other advantages but here I am pushing my exposures.  Seems I rarely get it right in the field. More practice!

The fall colors are great, this is my favorite time of the year, almost. It is still a bit too early for the trees down here in the valley so I have to gain some altitude. One problem with altitude, the sky is usually heavy with bright clouds. So you get nice clouds with a dull valley or nice valley with a blown out sky. Lets start with the two images below.


Okay, so we need to merge the two, but first I need to play with the base of the image. The minus 2 stops needs a bit of tweaking. What did I do. During import through ACR I increased the exposure by one stop. The skies were a little too dark. I also ramped up the “clarity” to give the sky a bit more contrast. Using “clarity” really wasn’t necessary. I could have used curves to add some contrast but “clarity” is a bit easier.

Base image, sky like I like it

Base image, sky like I like it

Now the valley is way too dark so I will import the plus 2 stops pic. Again it needs a little tweaking on import. This time I reduced the exposure by 3/4 of a stop, it was a tad too bright. I also played with the Clarity again along with boosting the Vibrance. Once again Curves could have worked for Clarity and a Hue and Saturation would work for Vibrance. Again it is easier to do these thing on import. But you can not adjust them later if you change your mind. Here  is the image.

Lower Trees

Lower Trees

Now the fun starts, real editing with some Masks. The first step was to place the brighter image on a new layer above the darker one and add a layer mask. With black I painted out the sky and some of the ridge. Here is the mask.

Blocking out the sky

Blocking out the sky

And the results

And the results

Looks pretty good but I still need to do some more work. The valley seems to be a bit dull so I add a curves adjustment layer. Need a mask for that too. Can’t blow out the sky.

Curves with mask

Curves with mask

So, final image? right below. Click on it to find a better quality one at my flickr page.




Written by photogchris

October 23, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Posted in Tutorials

Tagged with ,

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