The sky is alive

April 21, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
Before After

 

This photo gave me a lot of grief, mainly because I wasn't sure where I want to go with it.

I loved the composition... I remember spending a fair amount of time trying to find a position where I could get both the water flowing and the reflection of the mountain. Once I eventually found it I waited for the sunrise, hoping for a sun star, that never came. The sun did come up, but only for a few minutes, and it stayed behind a thin cloud layer before hiding for good.

So what to do then?

I knew I wanted a darker sky, so the first thing on the menu was a Color Efex graduated filter. I also brought some detail back, as the clouds looked a bit washed out. The water was a bit too bright, so I brought it back a smidgen.

gradgrad

Then the fun really began. Darkening the sky revealed areas where the light from the semi-hidden sun could really come out. Using a combination of light masks and a few layers of my invention I started bringing in color and light in the parts of the sky where the clouds were thinner. 

paint lightpaint light

It was time now for a bit of contrast work. Added more detail to the clouds, less detail in the water, and spent quality time getting mid-tone contrasts right. Finished with a concoction of Orton effect combined with a touch of brightness in Adobe Camera Raw.

almost donealmost done

The last step was saturation to taste.

saturationsaturation

I actually think I should've called this photo 'CPR on the sky', but I'll stick with the initial title :-)


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