Disappointing low contrast photos from Yorkshire Dales

isabel95

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My original hope was for overcast weather so I wouldn't have to deal with burnt out highlights and over contrasty images.

On a few days I got my wish fulfilled, but I was WRONG. What I got was blah images that I had to do a lot of work on in Photoshop (not always successfully).

I pulled out every trick in my Photoshop skills book and still find my images lacking in impact.

Used my E-PL5, Olympus 12-40 and Panasonic 35-100. Several images were "beefed up" with Topaz Adjust hdr filtration.

Please offer ideas for how you would handle the improvement of this image
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(yes...it does need cropping at the top)

Isabel.
 

Ross the fiddler

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My original hope was for overcast weather so I wouldn't have to deal with burnt out highlights and over contrasty images.

On a few days I got my wish fulfilled, but I was WRONG. What I got was blah images that I had to do a lot of work on in Photoshop (not always successfully).

I pulled out every trick in my Photoshop skills book and still find my images lacking in impact.

Used my E-PL5, Olympus 12-40 and Panasonic 35-100. Several images were "beefed up" with Topaz Adjust hdr filtration.

Please offer ideas for how you would handle the improvement of this image (yes...it does need cropping at the top)

Isabel.
I tried it (your low res jpeg) in Capture One (Pro 7) that has a Clarity Tool & increased the clarity in Punch method with Clarity moved up to 60 & Structure up to 20 & Contrast up to 20 & it is 'popping'! I don't know what options you have with your programmes, but if it includes a Clarity Tool, it can be very useful if used carefully.
Here is what it looks like, although it is overdone & it is not perfect, but it is just an idea.
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BTW, don't forget to increase the sharpness for web display otherwise it looks softer than what the original would look.
 

kevinparis

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Landscapes are not really my thing but here is my quick take - using Aperture but my basic thrust was to try and separate fore, mid and backgrounds by brushing in various dodge and burns as well as settings called polarise (Multiply) and increase contrast (Overlay)

Also cropped and fiddled a little with white balance and individual RGB curves

by n means perfect but might give you a few ideas

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K
 

fortwodriver

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So here I was saying in another post how I was hesitant to comment about photos... But I like this one and I think I may have a few simple points to mention.

What time of day was that photo taken? It looks kind-of mid-day.

The fact that you have a bland-contrast image here though could be a benefit. Looking at this photo, I feel it's actually successful as an initial capture of the scene.

Nothing is really clipped or crushed, so you could use contrast and curves locally and across the entire image to highlight parts.
Some dodging and burning would probably work well with this image? The dodge and burn tools work really well for an image like this but it takes some experimentation. Try using multiple dodge and burn layers and switching them on and off to find the right combination.

The only other thing I can think of is that the objects in the frame are little small. The buildings in the image are too far back. A telephoto to compress the distance or a wide-angle and foregoing the vegetable-flora fence (or coming right up to the fence and lowering your perspective to create a lead-in to the photo) would probably help. Feel free to stalk the scene if you can.
 

isabel95

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Western North Carolina
I tried it (your low res jpeg) in Capture One (Pro 7) that has a Clarity Tool & increased the clarity in Punch method with Clarity moved up to 60 & Structure up to 20 & Contrast up to 20 & it is 'popping'! I don't know what options you have with your programmes, but if it includes a Clarity Tool, it can be very useful if used carefully.
Here is what it looks like, although it is overdone & it is not perfect, but is just an idea.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Even using Olympus Viewer 3 & increasing the contrast (in jpeg edit) to 5, saturation by 5 & perhaps playing with Unsharp Mask it can make a nice difference.
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

BTW, don't forget to increase the sharpness for web display otherwise it looks softer than what the original would look.
Thanks for your input, Ross...appreciated!

I think my efforts might have been a bit "overcooked":
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


With images like this results are purely subjective - no one treatment, I believe, will please everyone, but when I look at an image of mine and it has no impact, I know something has to be done!

I also believe that micro 43 cameras are not the best tools for landscapes.

Isabel
 

kevinparis

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isabel95

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Thank you for the feedback which confirms my opinion that when an image is not successful it's often because the photographer is too far away and/or the subject is too small.
 

isabel95

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I really like what you did with this. I have lots of shots with blah skies and I just might try your technique. Can you share just how you adjusted the tint?
 

kevinparis

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I really like what you did with this. I have lots of shots with blah skies and I just might try your technique. Can you share just how you adjusted the tint?

I use Aperture for all my photo processing - In Aperture there is a set of three colour wheels that allow you to adjust the tint for the shadows, mid tones and highlights - I just pushed the highlights towards the blue part of the wheel .

In photoshop there is a Color Balance adjustment that seems to do the same thing

cheers

K
 

mcasan

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I would open the image in LR, right click to edit it and select my Perfect Photo Enhance plugin. In Enhance I would apply dynamic contrast and adjust the small, medium, and large levels of contract adjustment. As needed I would use the brush to add more or less to different parts of the image. If needed I would go to a glow filter and apply a version of that also. Then save it and the resulting PSD or TIF file comes back to your LR catalog beside the raw original.
 

isabel95

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Thanks for sharing your workflow. Hard to imagine the results you would get without seeing the image.

My workflow includes Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop, plus various plug-in filters, the most helpful of which has been Topaz Adjust 5 HDR filtration.

Isabel
 

PMCC

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Feb 18, 2013
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132
If the color is blah, just change it to B&W...

I use CS2, channel mixer 20% red, 130% green, 50% blue, and a little curves.

 

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