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on Dec 20, 2018 in Landscape Photography

That Gloomy Day

Yosemite Valley
captured by Z6 / Z24-70

After my podcast and “polish a turd” comment, a few comments came in asking if there is anything one can do on those days when you show up but not the photograph. Of course, there are but the main issue is image quality. On days like you see below (the scene I saw), making something from nothing you run the real risk of breaking pixels in your attempt of making something from nothing, or, polishing a turd. But I wanted to provide some answer for those wanting some direction.

The major of the polishing was done in ACR (working with Raw file, the greatest amount of info) and I like to start with the biggest problem first. To me, the biggest issue is the top half of the photograph that is all in flat gray. It has no character and is pulling down the whole mood. Our fastest and best tool is Dehaze. Dehaze though when cranked brings a blue color cast and creates noise. So I started with a Graduated filter pulled to the top of the falls and used Dehaze to about 50%. I then took saturation DOWN to about 60% and brought up Noise control to 70%. I then used the Brush to brighten Bridalveil falls 1 stop because we need a subject, we need a white to make the rest of the mood of the photo come through. I then went into Photoshop and with a Curves Layer, created a +1 stop exp comp and brushed in highlights in some of the clouds to give them texture (refer to my KelbyOne class). Now I could have just shot B&W with the Z6 for a little more drama but I’d still have to have gone through the same steps.

I can print this file up to almost 11×14 but then you can see my foot tracks from finishing and it falls apart completely at 24×30 size. I’ve truly polished a turd here but at least I have a memory I can enjoy but if I wasn’t doing this blod post, you wouldn’t see this photo. I hope this helps some of you and gives you an idea for those gloomy day photos.

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