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Foggy Valley

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#1 Roderick


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Posted 20 January 2018 - 06:13 AM

Settings are all over the place but I like the scene.

1/250th, f5.6, ISO 1600, 260mm

All CC welcomed

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#2 TknoGeek


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Posted 20 January 2018 - 07:48 AM

This is a great capture and gives you a very good starting point for post-processing. It has a nice mood to it that I think can be enhanced even more with just a bit of brush work in post and I would be tempted to explore this scene with just a bit more "punch".

I offer for consideration:
1. Undo the apparent gradient mask at the top. We'll deal the sky later, but I want the tree line to be consistent with the rest of the photo for the moment.
2. Use an adjustment brush in Lightroom (or similar) and brush along the brighter color on the hillside.
...a. Move the white balance a bit to the warmer side to make the yellows pop a bit more.
...b. Raise the exposure by about .25 stops. Not too much, but just enough to make these colors more noticeable
3. Add an adjustment brush on the treetops just poking out of the mist in the middle-right of the frame.
...a. Lower exposure by maybe .25 stops. This will add just a bit more drama to the main area of interest.
4. Clone out the pine trees in the foreground at the bottom edge. These are the ones with just the tips of them visible at the bottom of the frame and they're capturing enough light from the sun to be distracting. Cloning them out in Lightroom is rather easy with the spot removal tool - even easier in Photoshop with the clone stamp.
5. Add a bit more noise reduction. The noise in the trees is noticeable and adding some luminance noise reduction would smooth it out nicely.
6. Add another adjustment brush in Lightroom to cover all the mist in the middle of the scene.
...a. Raise Clarity a significant amount - say, +75 - to pull out the detail in the mist. I freely admit this step in particular is dependent on the mood you want in the scene. If you're looking for more of a "sleepy" or "dreamy" mood, lower the Clarity by -30 to smooth out the mist even more. My opinion is adding detail to the mist here is more dramatic.
...b. Raise Exposure by about .25 stops.
7. Add a post-crop vignette of -25. This should handle the brightness of the sky sufficiently - especially after the crop below.
8. Double-check the exposure in the "yellow" bands in the trees. Add an additional adjustment brush in the areas covered by the vignette to balance the brightness (exposure). I'd want these areas to keep the viewer's interest and not get lost in the vignette.
9. Crop closer to the main area of interest (the band of mist in the middle of the frame). My opinion is there is too much cloud on the top and right sides of the frame. I would bring the top edge much closer to the top of the trees in the middle of the top ridge line and sacrifice the trees in the upper left corner. I would then pull the right edge much closer to the trees poking up through the mist in the middle of the frame - but not too close. I'd want just a little breathing room between that patch of tree tops and the right edge.
10. Double-check the brightness of the sky. If still bright enough to throw off the balance and pull the viewer's attention away from the center, add a gradient mask to lower the exposure in the sky to balance it with the rest of the frame.

I'm envious of your capture here and my editorial ideas are not intended to convey any fault in your image. I just wish I'd been there with you to capture it myself. :D

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#3 David_MC


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Posted 20 January 2018 - 07:58 AM

It’s a beautiful scene with the interaction of the mist and the hills. I don’t think I have any constructive criticism too add after TknoGeek’s very thorough post. Well done.
Where you shooting handheld?

#4 MarkM


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Posted 20 January 2018 - 09:48 AM

Really beautiful and moody scene, Rod. I agree that the yellow-ish pine trees along the bottom of the frame are a little out of place This might also look nice in B&W with added contrast?? Very pretty scene!

#5 geedee


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Posted 20 January 2018 - 10:46 AM

Yup, a very nice scene indeed Rod, I have hopes of capturing the mist in a local valley myself.. Thanks for posting.

#6 Kerry Gordon

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 11:42 AM

This is a wonderful image, Rod.  Beautifully captured.  I do agree with TknoGeek that the image could be enhanced in post.  I would approach it somewhat differently than T-G because, as you know, I'm a Ps kind of guy.  The challenge for me with a foggy image like this is to bring out the contrast in the shadows without losing the dreamy quality that is inherent with the fog.  I am just now working on an image with morning mist so I'm working with some of the same challenges in my image.  One thing I've been experimenting with is the Orton effect.  I feel that it is way over used these days but it does have its place especially in these kind of misty, foggy, dreamy scenes.  But to use it effectively it needs to be handled judiciously, for example, by using a midtone mask so that the effect only impacts the midtones without touching the highlights or shadow.  Similarly, adding contrast to your scene but restricting it to the shadows would really bring out the depth in the forest areas but leave the mist alone.  Another technique that I've been using is luminosity painting and this would be a great image to apply it.  This kind of painting technique is basically a form of dodging but with colour taken, say, from the yellow light hitting those pines in the foreground and just adding hints of it into the mist.  But even if you aren't ready to get into all of that you might try a bit of dodging and burning on the mist just to give it a bit more contrast and depth.  Again, not too much.  Anyway, this is me mostly thinking out loud because this is such a wonderful image to think about.  And, indeed, you are very lucky to have had the experience of being there.

PS.  You might give this shot a try in B&W, it could be amazing.

#7 John W

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 01:03 PM

It is a beautiful image Rod. Can't add to the wealth of good advice given above.

#8 Roderick


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Posted 20 January 2018 - 03:45 PM

Thanks for the positive feedback and for all the PP and development ideas.


TknoGeek, I can't thank you enough for your suggestions and for taking the time and trouble to produce such a detailed work-flow.

I think the best thing for me to do is to reset all my previous LR and PS and attempt your recipe from from a clean slate. Watch this space B) .


Kerry,  I'm always keen to hear your thoughts and analyses and to try and follow your processes when you develop your images.

I know you're a man for the luminosity masks and maybe its time for me to roll my sleeves up and learn how to use 'em. :unsure:


Dave, Mark, Geedee, John, as ever, thanks for the support :)

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