Developing the landscape

in photofeed •  8 months ago

Landscape photography is one of the genres that I enjoy the most. I started photographing landscapes shortly after I was introduced to photography. In fact, the only highlights in my early years of photography were with landscapes.

High Tide

From early on I started manipulating landscapes - but those days we did not call it manipulating, we rather called it "develop", and it entailed working in the darkroom with techniques such as dodging and burning, adding a slight vignette to a photo or even in some cases adding a gell or cloth to the lens to soften the final look of the photo - all to ensure that it will draw your attention to the important elements in the landscape and that it will envoke the mood I had in mind.

Nothing has changed.

I am still doing the same, I dodge and burn, I sometimes add a vignette and I even sometimes add a gaussian blur to a photo to create the mood I had in mind.

Although I see myself as reasonable proficient in Photoshop, I am in fact quite conservative in the techniques I use when "developing" a landscape - it is mostly the same techniques I used in the traditional darkroom.

Let me take you through the steps I used to create this photo called "High Tide". I photographed this photo at Yanzhuodao (盐洲岛) in the south of China about 2 hours drive east of Shenzhen while presenting a landscape workshop on long exposure photography.


This photograph was taken in infrared using a custom white balance that rendered the sky as an orange/amber colour.

This is the photo before any photoshop development.

I started by darkening the sky. For this, I duplicated the original layer, add a gradient mask to ensure only the sky is changed and then changed the blending mode to Multiply and, because the effect was a bit too much for my taste, I changed this layer's opacity to 65%.
Step1. Darken the sky.png

Like with most of my photos, it develops as I go along in photoshop.

In this case, I liked what I saw but I thought that a softer look would emphasise and laid-back mood of that afternoon better. I, therefore, decided to merge the two layers into a new layer and add a gaussian blur to the layer to soften it. I wanted to accentuate the lines in the photo while keeping the softness of the blur and therefore changed its blending mode to hard light. I also brought back the opacity of this layer slightly as the effect was a bit too much.
Step2. Add a glow.png

Although I liked the softness of the photo, especially the slight glow around the high contrast areas, I did not like the oversaturation that was introduced by the hard light blending mode. I decided to use my old trick of adding a black & white layer to the photo to bring down the saturation. I usually do not change the default values of the black & white layer, I only change its opacity to be in the region of 50%.
Step3. Desaturate.png

At this stage, I was really happy with the photo, but I thought that by dodging the trees a bit I could introduce them as a prominent feature that would aid in keeping your interest in the photo.

For this, I used the lasso tool to roughly select the trees and after feathering the selection I added a levels adjustment layer and change the white point and the contrast from the bright side of the histogram to add a highlight to the trees.

Step4. Add a highlight to the trees.png

This is my entry for this week's #landscapephotography challenge created by @juliank.


Hope you like it.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

World of Photography
>Visit the website<

You have earned 6.50 XP for sharing your photo!

Daily Stats
Daily photos: 1/2
Daily comments: 0/5
Multiplier: 1.30
Block time: 2018-07-03T18:37:57
Account Level: 3
Total XP: 787.72/800.00
Total Photos: 42
Total comments: 5
Total contest wins: 11
And have also received a 1.20 percent upvote.

Follow: @photocontests
Join the Discord channel: click!
Play and win SBD: @fairlotto
Daily Steem Statistics: @dailysteemreport
Learn how to program Steem-Python applications: @steempytutorials
Developed and sponsored by: @juliank