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Thread: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    I was out hiking looking for my eagle, who seems to have disappeared for the season.

    The morning light was beautiful, and the surrounding scenery reflected in the water caught my eye so I tried a few shots... (With my Nikon D80 and Sigma 18-50 lens because my new camera was set up and ready for the eagle)

    Manual F10 SS 500 iso 800... I did not have my tripod with me so I used a fence post and a higher SS for stabaliztion... I ended up using an exposure compensation of my -1.3 as it was the only way to make the clipping disappear.

    When I processed in LR I noticed that if the trees were exposed properly the sky was blown, so it seems like the same problem arises in editing as when photographing.

    First photo, exposure close to as photographed.

    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice


    In the second image, I upped the exposure quite a bit (in LR) which over exposed the sky.
    I used the LR brush to decrease the exposure in the sky but I can see a line along the edges of the tree tops.


    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    The image does not seem to be as sharp as it should be. Perhaps the leaves were blowing but I used a fast shutter speed and a high iso.

    I would like to learn a bit more about photographing landscapes from my attempt.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Cantab's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Christina, a very attractive photo. My preference is the first one -- I think that's because the sky and water don't each run to the edge of the image. As well, the first has richer colours (but I'm not looking at this on a profiled monitor, just my iPad).

  3. #3
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Thank you Bruce. Now that I look at them again, I think the colours are richer in the first one but I think I prefer the composition of the 2nd photo. I may have overexposed the 2nd shot while editing in LR.

    Although I do think my landscape is pretty, the scene was pretty. What I do know is that these landscape shots don't look anything like the landscapes I see others post here. Hence my post.

    I noticed that there is a landscape feature on my camera and the manual says it produces richer colours and that it automatically focuses at infinity... I think I focused right on the middle point trying to capture the symmetry of the reflection.

    Thank you.

  4. #4
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Christina

    It looks as if you were dealing with a very large dynamic range here. I presume you were shooting at ISO800 by mistake? The shutter speed is more than fast enough, but decreasing to 400 would give you 1/250th and 200 wound give you 1/125th - still plenty enough for this focal length. An increase in ISO can reduce your camera's ability to deal with the dynamic range, and you won't necessarily be able to recover as much data in Lightroom.

    I prefer the 2nd shot, because of the branches in the top left of shot 1.

    Brushing in an adjustment can be very troublesome with foliage. Maybe another idea would be to use the graduated filter option in Lightroom. Just remember when you have a reflection that the reflection itself should always be darker than the sky, so you'd need to mirror your graduated filter with similar treatment at the bottom of the image.

  5. #5
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Thank you Phil,

    Yes, I either forgot to change my iso or left my camera set to auto iso. I didn't know that a using a high iso affected the dynamic range. Thank you for letting me know that.

    Yes, I noticed those branches after the fact. I also noticed how challenging it was to use the adjustment brush around the foliage. Thank you for advising of filters being in LR and the tip on reflections.

    I think I will return to the spot and try again with a lower iso and a tripod.

  6. #6
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Hi Christina

    I agree with Phil. It's best to use the lowest possible ISO to get best noise and dynamic range performance. I had a quick look at the DXOMark figures for the D80 and it's DR goes from about 11 stops at ISO 100 to about 8 stops at ISO 800.

    It's a nice shot though and I think it would benefit from some different LR processing. I don't know what you've done to shot #1 already but would suggest leaving the exposure slider at zero and increasing the Contrast slider and decreasing the Highlights slider considerably. (assumimg you are using LR4). I'd also increase the Clarity and Vibrance to about 30, and also perhaps a bit more sharpening.

    Or alternatively if you happen to have the Nik plugins for LR, you could use a filter like Detail Extractor or Tonal Contrast to add a bit of "pop" to the image.

    Dave
    Last edited by dje; 3rd August 2013 at 08:54 PM.

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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    I also agree with phil, but this is still a very nice image. With a little editing help.......increasing blacks.....contrast........sharpening.........satu ration......a couple vignettes.


    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

  8. #8
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Phil - Thank you for advising. Yes, I have LR 4. It is likely that I increased the blacks and whites as far as I could, and applied a gentle reverse S curve and set the contrast to zero as the S curve increased the contrast. May I ask why one would decrease the highlights in a photo? I thought we should always preserve highlights?

    I don't have the Nik program, but now that I have seen Steve's edit I will give it another try. I will also visit this place again and give it another try at a lower iso. I think that when fall arrives and the colours of the leaves change it could make for a very pretty photo.

    Steve,
    Indeed now the photo looks very beautiful...except for the few funny bits in the sky on the upper right corner which I suspect is from processing.

    Thank you for taking the time to do this and showing me what can be done with editing. Did you use a white or a black vignette, and why two vignettes?

    I will try and replicate your edit and post it in a day or two.

    Thank you.

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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    If you are going again, try taking a couple of ND grad filters and attaching these. (One upside down for the lake) They could resolve a lot of the PP work, especially in the sky. Definitely use them for the sky portion.

    (In the Fall that shot will be stupendous. I am jealous )

  10. #10
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Hi Ian,

    Thank you. I don't have any filters but I agree and I am going to purchase one, or do I need two? I can see how they could prove to be very useful.

    Yes, I'm very fortunate to live near forests, lakes and mountains that are very scenic. So far I have been focusing on wildlife but it's always good to try new things.

    Thank you for the suggestion.

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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Nice shot Christina, just a few clicks away from being a great shot.

    In Lightroom I would drop a graduation with a bit of negative exposure and highlights over the top half.

    Looking at that, I might give the right hand side a gentler touch of the same.

    In Photoshop I would do the same with a couple of graduations on soft light layers.

  12. #12
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Christina, were these photos shot in RAW?


    Bruce

  13. #13
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by shreds View Post
    If you are going again, try taking a couple of ND grad filters and attaching these. (One upside down for the lake) They could resolve a lot of the PP work, especially in the sky. Definitely use them for the sky portion.

    (In the Fall that shot will be stupendous. I am jealous )
    Christina,

    If you have not used them before, try it with one to start off with, as you will loose some IQ and obviously some exposure too. Get those skies reduced and see how you go. But keep that ISO to a minimum. (I was a bit shocked that you were at 800)

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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Phil - Thank you for advising. Yes, I have LR 4. It is likely that I increased the blacks and whites as far as I could, and applied a gentle reverse S curve and set the contrast to zero as the S curve increased the contrast. May I ask why one would decrease the highlights in a photo? I thought we should always preserve highlights?

    I don't have the Nik program, but now that I have seen Steve's edit I will give it another try. I will also visit this place again and give it another try at a lower iso. I think that when fall arrives and the colours of the leaves change it could make for a very pretty photo.

    Steve,
    Indeed now the photo looks very beautiful...except for the few funny bits in the sky on the upper right corner which I suspect is from processing.

    Thank you for taking the time to do this and showing me what can be done with editing. Did you use a white or a black vignette, and why two vignettes?

    I will try and replicate your edit and post it in a day or two.

    Thank you.


    Those funny little bits on the right, are called clouds. (look in the water)


    First of all, I hate vignettes that you can see. They are so cliche.

    Secondly, what can a vignette do for you?

    A vignette adds contrast to an image. Large scale contrast. It changes the light in an image.(ever so slightly) It directs the eye by making an area in the image brighter or darker.

    I add several types of vignettes, because there are many different ways you can make a vignette, and I don't want my vignette seen. I only want to direct the eye to a specific place in the image.


    For example, I can keep my subject the same brightness, and darken the background. Or I could brighten the subject and keep the background the same. Or I could do both at 1/2 the amount and have the same similar result. It really depends on the image and if the background is already dark, or too light. I also make a different vignette with the brush tool and brush in a vignette to the edges, as well. And then reduce the layer opacity so it can't be seen.

    Do some research on vignetting and different ways to make them.
    A very powerful editing tool, in your arsenal.

  15. #15
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Wayland...

    Thank you very much. I don't know what a graduation in LR is, but I will make a note of it, and add it to my "to learn" list... I do know what a soft light layer in Element is. At this particular moment I'm a little overwhelmed with all the editing suggestions.

    Bruce...
    Yes I shoot raw and jpeg, and edit in raw... the jpegs are just a point of reference for me or for a photo needed as is.

    Ian...

    Thank you. IQ, I presume has something to do with light and not my intelligence? The iso was a mistake that I forgot to reset.


    Steve...

    Clouds... Yes, now I see that you brought out the detail in my photo. Thank you.

    Vignettes.. Thank you for a wonderful explanation of their uses. They sound like something I should learn about, and I've added these to my list, too.

    Thank you to all. Very helpful and informative.
    Last edited by Brownbear; 3rd August 2013 at 10:40 PM. Reason: add iso explanation

  16. #16
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    I decided to tackle the suggested edits today, and dare I say, I think I did pretty good. I tried to write down all the edits I did but by the time I finished I mixed them all up.

    For the most part I left the exposure as was, and increased the contrast by about 10, decreased the highlights by about 35-50% (it surprised me to see the blue sky come back when I decreased the highlights), then I increased the clarity and vibrancy by about 30, and added a reverse s curve. Steve I tried to slide the blacks over to the far left but I ran into trouble with clipping with this, so I tried but wasn't successful with the blacks, unless the S curve made up for it.

    I was very happy not to have touch the sky and those trees with the adjustment brush.

    Then I sharpened with an unsharp mask in Elements and applied a vignette using soft light (combining Steve's and Wayland's suggestions) on a couple of them. For some reason i figured out how to do this in Elements but not Lightroom.

    Here are my edits.

    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    With soft light vignette

    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice


    Another version of the edit above


    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    with a vignette

    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    A different but much the same photo

    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    And another photo edited pretty much as above

    Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    I think I did well. This is the most editing I have ever tried with a photo, so if I did not do something well please let me know so I can learn from it.

    Thank you to all for your help. Now, I too think it is a nice photo but I am still going to go back and try with a lower iso, a filter and once again in the fall.

    PS some of these may be double photos, my apologies for that but doing all these different types of edits was hard to keep track of.

  17. #17
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Christina, IMHO you did a very fine job with your edits.


    Bruce

  18. #18
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Thank you Bruce for putting a very BIG smile on my face.

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital View Post
    Christina, IMHO you did a very fine job with your edits.


    Bruce

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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    It took some reading to get this far in the thread .. but well worth the crash course I got in editing.
    Christina I look at your first post then your last 6 and you definitely improved your pp!
    now if I can only retain 50% of it...

  20. #20
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Landscape Attempt - Would appreciate some advice

    Hi James,

    Isn't it wonderful to be able to be part of a photography forum where everyone is so knowledgeable and helpful...

    It is nice to know that my challenges help others learn, too.

    Thank you. I surprised myself with these edits and if I can do it, so can you. Hang in there my comrade in the challenge of learning how to post process photos...

    Quote Originally Posted by jamn4ex View Post
    It took some reading to get this far in the thread .. but well worth the crash course I got in editing.
    Christina I look at your first post then your last 6 and you definitely improved your pp!
    now if I can only retain 50% of it...

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