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Thread: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

  1. #1

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    Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Hi everyone

    I'd like to improve the hue/saturation/luminance of the sky in several photos I recently took in Africa (example attached). I've tried using the HSL and Colour tools in the Develop panel to no avail. Is this simply because there was so little colour in the actual sky that the software can't detect blue/aqua etc to change it? If it helps I tended to use auto WB, though I did vary this occasionally to include daylight and cloudy settings.

    Cheers

    Adrian

    [IMG]http://i46.tinypic.com/152hjix.jpg[/IM

  2. #2

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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Oops the first insert didnt work

  3. #3
    Sonic4Spuds's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Hello, The sky is so uniform that you can select it by color and totally replace it. That is the sum of what I did, totalling about 45 seconds in GIMP.

    152hjix.jpg
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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Adrian - you have come up against the age old problem in photography; your camera does not see what your eyes see, and unless you are willing to get into some full scale surgery in Photoshop (by putting in a sky), you are somewhat stuck with what you have.

    Let me explain; you were out during the African day and there was the beautiful blue sky. You saw the bird in the tree and took the picture, and what you got is not what you remembered seeing, and this is related to the way human vision works. What we remember seeing is really a composite image that our brain stitches together for us; our eyes continuously dart around and our irises open and close down based on what we are looking. The camera dosen't work that way and it records everything in one go, based on an average exposure from your light meter.

    My guess is that the shot is a bit overexposed; as the sky seems a bit dark and this typically happens when you shoot scenes that are predominantly sky, and the image seems to have a slight red colour cast. If you adjust your colours by removing red (or introducing cyan), you will be moving in the right direction at least, but probably not enough to get the image to the way you remember the scene. That will unfortunatley require grafting in a sky scene from another image; something you would have to do in Photoshop, rather than Lightroom.

    I ran into exactly the same issue with a number of my bird pictures that were taken in Namibia, I have exactly the same issue with this shot of a Tawny Eagle.

    Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

  5. #5
    Sonic4Spuds's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Hi again Adrian,

    I forgot that you are using LR, so I did another edit with just the curves and HSV dialogues in GIMP. This one took me about 5 minutes.

    152hjixom.jpg

    -Sonic
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  6. #6
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Adrian:

    Manfred has explained the problem - and there may be a solution (for future images) if your camera will take bracketed shots (works provided the bird doesn't move).

    I have my camera set up to take three consecutive shots (one underexposed, one exposed the way the meter reads the scene, and one overexposed), and it's also set up to take multiple shots with one shutter press.

    The shots can then be combined:

    http://enblend.sourceforge.net/

    Enblend stitches a series of images together into a pano.

    Enfuse combines different exposed/focused images into one image.

    The blue sky and the bird can be combined using Enfuse.

    I have used it, but not for a while, but it did work quite well.

    There is also Tufuse (which I have not used).

    http://www.tawbaware.com/imgstack.htm

    If anyone really wants to challenge themselves (not for the faint of heart I think):

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...ogram+contrast

    The author of the software (Guillermo Lujjk) is very knowledgeable about sensors and digital photography. He is also very helpful.

    Glenn

  7. #7

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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Thanks Manfred. To be honest the sky was very rarely a beautiful blue in my two weeks over there this year.
    Glenn - I'm afraid I am faint hearted so will be sticking to what LR4 and possibly PSE10 can do :-)
    Will - I'm confused by your second post. Are you saying that, as a result of realising I was working in LR4, that you did those adjustments in LR4 (you say GIMP in the post)?

  8. #8
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Fake hdr may help. Develop 2 exposure from raw. One for the sky and one for the bird and merge them. This is often quicker than other methods and you will know if the sky was too over exposed as soon as you try to set the exposure to a suitable level.

    On white balance I find it's best to leave a camera on auto. It's often more accurate than guessing. Then choose camera white balance for raw development. If adjustment is needed well it's needed but I find that much less likely when auto is used.

    One other option which I suspect wont work in this case is to use the camera curve feature in your software. I use ufraw most of the time and the underlying software is the same as used by adobe. It has auto white and black setting options. The result on a shot like that will be a sort of tilted S like curve. The software will attempt to cram all of the raw resolution into the screens colour space. This is a starting point for playing around for the final curve. The results can be further modified with the usual curves control. Only problem is that there will usually be some clipping so that has to be limited to an acceptable level. In my case if the curve only needs minor changes auto black is ok but the auto white often produces crazy results.

    -

  9. #9
    Sonic4Spuds's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Adrian,

    No, all of my edits are done in GIMP, though I have used LR and PS to some extent. The second edit was confined to tools that should be easily accessible in LR, that is all that I was trying to say. Sorry for the confusion.

    -Will

  10. #10
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Have you tried using LRs adjustment brush? Select the brush then select colour from the drop down list and then select the shade you want to use. Now you liteally paint yourself a new sky. It needs care and attention but a few minutes work should get you a good result.

  11. #11

    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    If the sky is blue, but too pale, in Lightroom develop module, go to "HSL / Luminance / All" panel (RH side), select "Luminance" tab, and try dragging "Blue" down (left) 10 or 20. It won't help much unless the sky is at least slightly blue, but it will darken blue skies markedly.

  12. #12

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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Hi John, I'll try the adjustment brush though haven't used it yet so will need to read up on it.

    Simon - thanks for your thoughts but the sky has so little blue in it that the HSL panel doesnt change anything

  13. #13

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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    An alternative approach is to darken the sky with an adjustment layer using curves. Then paint it out where the scene is too dark. But for that to work you need to have some detail there in the first place. It can help to have the camera set to perhaps minus one stop if using semi-automatic modes such as Av or TV. Having a 'stock shot' folder with nice skies or clouds is useful too, so long as the lighting matches that of the basic photo.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 7th October 2012 at 08:29 PM.

  14. #14

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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Don't think I can do that in LR4 jcuknz?

  15. #15

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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Solution ... get yourself a good editor

  16. #16

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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Solution? nope...just more money. :-)

  17. #17
    Sonic4Spuds's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Adrian,

    If you are at all interested in having a 'standard' image manipulation program available for tasks such as this, you could try GIMP. It is free and quite easy to use, especially after the recent update to version 2.8. http://www.gimp.org

  18. #18
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Adrian:



    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...ogram+contrast

    The author of the software (Guillermo Lujjk) is very knowledgeable about sensors and digital photography. He is also very helpful.

    Glenn
    Great link - Thanks

  19. #19
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    Hi Adrian,
    I use both Gimp 2.8 and LR 4. I find it much easier in LR 4. In this edit I did not worry so much about getting the color correct as I wanted to show you can go as far as you might want. I kept it somewhere in the over done middle.

    Use the adjustment brush. Put feathering around 80+ and select temperature {temp because the sky looks way to warm to have blue in it}. Also select auto mask.
    Paint a stripe on the sky and then use the slider to drop the temp way down until you see blue. Paint it in.
    Once painted in you can go use the brushes sliders. Up the exposure to taste.
    Then if you wish more adjustment use the blue slider as you wish as there is plenty of blue there now. I spent longer loading this to photobucket.

    Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve
    Last edited by jeeperman; 9th October 2012 at 05:40 AM.

  20. #20
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Washed out sky - using LR4 to resolve

    BTW Adrian, thanks for prompting me to get more familiar with the tools. I have only had LR4 for about 10 days and this was my second attempt at useing the brush.

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