When I visited Yosemite National Park first time couple of years ago I had two surprises waiting for me there; one is pleasant and another not so. The first unexpected surprise was the weather. I did not really know what to expect in the beginning of May in the mountains of California. According to the online research, I could face anything from heavy snowfall to summer-like weather. I got +24 C with some clouds, the best possible weather for travel photography.
The unpleasant surprise was that even in off season, the valley was full of tourists. It was crowded. If you check today’s featured photo you can see in the distance the string of cars parked on both sides of the road.
I never managed to processed this photo earlier because it had 2 flaws and I was too lazy to deal with them. The first flaw was the strong blue color cast over the mountains. I fixed it by changing the color balance, making it warmer, in Lightroom before tone mapping 3 images in Photomatix.
The second flaw was the composition. There was a big hole between the top of the mountains and the clouds. To fix this issue I had to replace the sky. I used sky from the photo I took from almost the same spot but from a wider angle. You might call it cheating but you would not guess it if I have not told you. That’s my defense.
Deconstructing Featured Photo
PROCESSING: HDR PROCESSED IN PHOTOMATIX
Lightroom: import, tagging, color balance, export to Photomatix
Photomatix: I used 3 bracketed shots to tone map image (-1, 0, +1 ), 16-bit tiff image was exported to Lightroom. (check my tutorial Before & After – HDR With Photomatix)
Lightroom: straightening, cropping, export as PSD image
Photoshop: cleaning, contrast, vibrance, sky replacement.
- Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky mostly).
- I used Perfect Effects 9 from onOne Software enhance details and contrast. I used following filters: Dynamic Contrast, Color Enhancer.