Stormclouds

Discussion in 'Critique of Photos' started by Amy Earl, Feb 14, 2020.

  1. Amy Earl

    Amy Earl Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    Wondering about how to best post-process this photo. I'm using Lightroom and Photoshop.

    There was an unusual orangeish cast on everything as the storm was passing and I wanted to retain that atmosphere but without it being too saturated or unnatural-looking. It was also tricky to figure out how to do justice to the interesting patterns going on in the clouds. Welcoming any suggestions for this or other things I may not have noticed. Thanks in advance!

    #1 - Untouched

    #2 - I lifted the shadows on the ground in this version and had to seriously denoise. Overall I like this one but feel like I'm losing something in the clouds.
     
    AlanLichty likes this.
  2. Jameel Hyder

    Jameel Hyder Well-Known Member
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    Its a very nice image already Amy. Here is my cut at.

    stormclouds_3000_AmyEarl.jpg
     
  3. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    I do like your processing on this one and you have some amazing skies to work with.

    I tried playing with your SOOC shot just to see what I could do. I did the basics in Lightroom: balanced the overall light to get away from black clipping and add whites to get that end of the histogram stretched out a bit. I used graduated filters to lighten up the foreground, added some clarity/texture, and tweaked the color balance a bit. I used a graduated filter to add a bit of clarity to the clouds the bring out more details. Overall color adjustments - I brought down the luminance and saturations for orange and yellow a bit since they were near clipping point with the added white levels. Finally in Photoshop I used Topaz Studio with the filters AI Clear and Precision Contrast and finally added Topaz Adjust AI for some final tweaks in the sky.

    stormclouds_3000_AmyEarl-edit.jpg
     
  4. Darcy Grizzle

    Darcy Grizzle Supporting Member

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    Umm going off your description of the orange glow, but I don't think I did it much justice! I really love the way your second one looks. The clouds are amazing.
    stormclouds_3000_AmyEarl-2.jpg
     
  5. Ben Egbert

    Ben Egbert Forum Helper
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    Lots of great versions of an already great image. Here is mine using a lot of Topaz actions.

    ben copy.jpg
     
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  6. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    First I am copying my comments in the other thread to this one so that those points can be revisited.

    ***********************

    Actually Amy it’s interesting to see both versions. I definitely like #1 the most with more Orange in the clouds, but #2 does bring a little more separation in the clouds. Sometimes when clouds get too warm/Orange they seem to loose some detail or can start to feel a little muddied.

    That storm had to have been really cool to experience. I don’t get many storms here in SoCal so I enjoy when I get storms.

    The tips of some of the clouds must have been brighter then the rest of the clouds so you have lost some details in them. That’s not uncommon and can be hard to prevent without severely underexposing or bracketing.

    I like your scene here, that’s quite the view. Let me look at it on my computer a little closer. Other then a little touch up in the clouds I don’t think you could do a lot to improve this really sweet scene.
     
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  7. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    So I worked off your Edited version, though I probably should have just used the original. :)

    So I did a couple of things.

    1. Worked to repair the blown out tips of the clouds

    2. Add the warm color back in.

    So first I repaired the tips of the clouds. I used 2 layers, on the top layer I used Color Range and clicked in the blown out area. I adjusted the Fuzziness to my liking, making sure it was adjusted high enough to get all of the blown areas, but not too high to grab non blown areas. Make a layer mask with that selection on the Top Layer. On the lower layer Go to Levels Adjust and decrease the White point from 255 to about 240 or so. The blown out area's will start to turn gray, you don't want it too gray, just a little bit. Flatten the layers.

    Then go to Selective Colors, choose White. for the White adjust the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow to taste to give the whites a bit of a warm yellow cast.

    Now Duplicate it. On the top Layer use Color Range again, and select part of the white area in the clouds. Again adjust the fuzziness to see that all of the clouds are being selected but none of the background sky. Make a layer mask from that selection. Now go to the bottom layer and go to Photo Filter and choose the default warming filter. Adjust it's density to now color the clouds (while leaving the sky it's cyan/blue alone) to warm the clouds up and give it that golden warm look you saw. If it ends up being too orange, make the change and then go to Color Balance to adjust that shade of warmness. Note it's only affecting the clouds and not the background sky.

    That's it, I didn't push it too hard, I didn't want to go crazy with the saturation, but you were there, so you can now adjust to your taste.

    Amy_stormclouds-180801-AmyEarl_d1p.jpg
     
    Ben Egbert likes this.
  8. Amy Earl

    Amy Earl Well-Known Member

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    Wow, thanks all!

    Alan, really like your clarity/texture improvements on the foreground as well as overall color balancing. And you and Ben both used Topaz (plus clarity filter) to good effect on the clouds to add distinction to them. (I didn't even notice those tiny wispy clouds in front/center before). I'm unfamiliar with Topaz so will check that out. The clarity filter appeals and I'll probably apply that but in moderation in order to maintain realism.

    Jim, thanks a lot for explaining your process! I appreciate it :) Definitely like the warmth added, as well as the smooth look to the clouds. I will pull this up in Photoshop soon and follow your steps to have a play with those adjustments myself.
     
    Ben Egbert likes this.
  9. Amy Earl

    Amy Earl Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Darcy! I like the pinkish hue you added in there alongside the orange, as this evokes the colors that were really there (my sky is a little too blue). I'm gonna play with subtly adding some of these colors back in :)
     

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