What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Pertinent technical details or techniques: K5 IIs 18-35mm f1.8 (1/5 sec at f16, ISO 160) This one was from one of our trips out to the Badlands in South Dakota. Not a whole lot of contrast so I tried a few things to bring out the subtle features of this image. I tried several Luminosity masks with not much success, then tried HDR Efex Pro 2 and the image was quite garish. So, I copied the original image over the top of the garish copy and tweaked the opacity for the posted result. It was cloudy and foggy for the entire trip and this was one of the few times that the sun tried to sneak out from behind the clouds. Thank you for looking…Jim

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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Jim, I am really enjoying the layers and the depth and the “textures” of the terrain. I might try to coax something more out of the sky. I did a quick gradient mask using the top 1/3 of the image, then used a curve to pull down the mid point. Many ways to get a similar result, but I liked the result.

This was really quick and dirty.

Jim, the layers, colors, and textures are just wonderful. The color balance you used is perfect for the badlands and green grass. I like your composition with all the zig zags of the badland formations, it just pulls your eye into the scene.

I like what @Harley_Goldman has done with his rework of contrast, it helps. I also downloaded your original post and played with an alternative shot within the shot, cropping the sky completely away to show just the land. While this other crop also worked, the interesting thing was that I perceived the contrast of the landscape differently with the sky taken out of the image, the land looked like it had better contrast when it wasn’t in the same shot as the bright sky.

This is a wonderful scene, Jim. I especially like all the great layers in the formations. And I think Harley’s version works well to bring out a bit more color in the sky. A pleasure to view.

Jim, wonderful!! I did what @Ed_McGuirk did by cropping the entire sky. That makes it a very interesting abstract as well.

Harley. I love the colors and textures in the foreground. I agree that the sky does not add much to the image and like how much more the foreground textures stand out when you crop out the sky.

Thank you. I may have to try a crop to see what it looks like without the sky. I like how the critique providers have different views on the treatment of an image. I’ll have to try using gradients as well. Not something that a macro-photographer has needed up until this time………………………Jim


Great capture of this fascinating landscape. I was thinking along the same lines as Harley and I think his tweaks really nail it and the image shows much better with the adjustment.

An alternate way to achieve similar results might be to do curves/levels adjustment globally as you watch the sky and bg ridge to where you like it. Then, with a mask in place, simply paint out with a soft brush at some opacity to remove the changes to the part of the image you don’t want to affect. Alternatively, completely mask out the changes, then “paint in” the changes with a soft brush. Many ways to slice a pie.


Hi Lon,

Thank you. I’m going to play around with the sky-less version…Jim