Desert Inferno + edits

I spent several hours yesterday at Oregon’s Painted Hills. This was actually a quick shot taken to test what I thought was a camera malfunction. I modified the color considerably with LAB and suddenly the image came to life for me, enough that it was worthy of posting here. I know there will be comments about the small rocks as a distraction. At this late hour of the evening - I like them.

This was shot with the Tamron 70-200 lens, although at 70mm I could’ve used the 24-70.

What do you think?

with suggested mods:

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Hello @Igor_Doncov,
Firstly just to declare my incompetency, compare to you guys I’m in the nursery of Landscape Photography! I never even heard of LAB, now I know what it is so thank you for that!

The image you have here, to me, is wonderfully composed! The way you positioned the lines really works for me! I don’t think I would have noticed much of the small rocks if you didn’t mention them ( I’m on my phone just now), but now that you did, I’d remove the two in the foreground, however they kinda belong to the scene at the same time.

There are only two things I’d change, one being adding a bit of contrast to the image and two, I’d either add a subtle vignette or do some burning in the light area at the top right corner.

Nevertheless, it’s a great photo and hats off to you for spotting it!



Love the lines and texture. This is a B&W image IMO.

Igor, a really wonderful abstract take here. The detail in the runoff crevices, as well as the smaller cracks is just super. I like the fact that even the highlight or brighter areas are contained to a level of not being too intense. The overall composition works very well too. One of your best that I recall…:sunglasses::+1:

This is quite nice, Igor. I like the blue fore rock and the ones in the back, but I would clone the one next to the lower left gully. I find it halts my passage through the image front to back just a bit. Great study in patterns, lines and color. I really like it.

Igor, in my opinion the rocks belong there. So they can stay ,or take a small part out so they are less obvious . I like the modified color.

No nits whatsoever, Igor. This is just an outstanding image through and through; I wouldn’t change a thing. The rocks are placed perfectly and the color is stunning.

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Love this Igor.

Great job isolating and composing this. Now you may have “modified the colors considerably,” but they by no means appear unrealistic or overdone - not hardly. I may think differently had I been standing there, but I wasn’t and so I’m digging the colors.

I’m with others that the rocks belong and like Harley, the little blue one is key. But also like Harley and maybe some others, there’s one rock that if it were mine, I would clone out. just one. That is the one that is kinda centered in the UL quadrant; light/white rock in one of the cracks. That’s the one that drew my eye; the rest all seem to work in their place.

I would also agree with a slight burn in the upmost URC. Minor.


Hey, may I ask what you think of your new Tamron? I believe it’s the same one I bought earlier in the year. Curious. I have mixed feelings.

Well, it’s only been 3 days so there isn’t a whole lot of work with it but I don’t see any issues. I had a strange experience where the image I saw in my preview screen was different than what I shot - more cropped. I’m still not sure what happened but it never repeated itself and I’m not sure if my camera setting wasn’t right. I usually focus by enlarging the image on the preview screen, focusing, and taking out of preview and shooting. Well, when I hit the playback the image was different than what I would see if I hit preview. Since the camera was still on the tripod I could toggle back and forth and see two image, one an enlargement of the other. I kept wondering how that could happen. But since everything is viewed electronically there was no way to be certain. It didn’t hurt except that I wasted some pixels. I then drove up the hill and took this shot and the preview button showed everything correctly.

The next day I shot at Todd Lake and everything worked perfectly. I wanted to know if it was the lens because b&h will still take it back. So if you’re seeing the same please let me know…


I searched the internet and the closest thing I could come up with is something called Focus Breathing. Focus Breathing changes your composition as you focus because the glass elements are moving closer and farther as you focus. It’s particularly noticeable on long lenses. I’m not sure this is the answer though.

Igor, focus breathing is real but once you have focused your image, it shouldn’t change the field of view anymore; not when toggling between “Live View” and “Playback”. I can understand if it is viewfinder vs playback because not all viewfinders show 100% of the captured area.

Also, @Lon_Overacker, I am not sure if Igor is using the 70-210 f/4 or the 70-200 f/2.8 but I hear good things about the 70-210 f/4, it’s just as good as Nikon’s 70-200 f/4. I swear by my Nikon 70-200 f/4. It is in fact my walk around lens.

This is a fascinating abstract, Igor. I like how the lines keep directing my eye upward in the composition. I don’t find the rocks to be distracting at all. I haven’t been there in person, but the color looks believable to me. Nicely done!

Thanks for the additional info @Igor_Doncov. While “focus breathing” is something I know an understand (easy to pick up on when focus stacking multiple images…where the focus point changes,) you issue description is a little less clear. However, with your description and @Adhika_Lie 's it brings my own recollection to mind.

On occasion I have been puzzled between what I see in the viewfinder vs. Live view. It doesn’t seem consistent and I’m certain it’s not related to one lens or another. And honestly, I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference with the preview (after capture display.)

I think we have the same camera? or you have the 810? but I have the 800E. I’m fairly certain the viewfinder is 100% view. I’m not sure what view Live View gives you in terms of coverage. I personally find it difficult to frame with Live View - or focus for that matter; too much “digital” delay, jitter at higher magnification, etc. Not like the old days focusing right on glass… or even the split prism thing. So my standard operating procedure is rough framing I do looking through the viewfinder (zooming, rough level etc.) Then I typically use Live View to level and auto focus (pt focus) As a side note, I’ve read and tested that there is a potential difference between focus accuracy between using the viewfinder vs. Live View. Live View, I believe you’re focusing on the sensor surface - where as focusing through the viewfinder, you have that mirror thing and I think focus to the sensor is somehow different… but I digress)

Back to your original point, I have NOT compared the shot captured in the Preview screen vs. either Live View or comparing back with Viewfinder. Another consideration is the setting for auto rotate. I have mine set to auto rotate to fill the the lcd. But once you go past the display time (5, 10s whatever you have set for preview) then once you go back in to the “Play” menu and review images, the orientation goes back to original capture - ie. horizontal images fill the lcd - however, the verticals are still displayed in the Horizontal screen so you can see them upright.

Anyway, all that I really haven’t addressed what you could possibly be seeing other than to say I think I have too, I just have never tried to figure it out…

Adhika, I’ve got the 2.8 version. Interesting, I got the f/2.8 mainly for that wider aperture. I don’t need a “fast” lens for wildlife or anything like that, but more interested in selective focus and shallow dof. Yeah, was just curious what Igor’s thoughts were on the lens - but now I’m not sure either which one…

sorry for the novel.

I like this one Igor.

May I ask what makes you decide while you’re in your workflow to go to LAB from RGB? Is there something that triggers this decision or is LAB part of your regular workflow?

It’s my understanding that most photographers use LAB at the end of their processing to add pep to their colors. My favorite usage is in color management. Although RGB has the color cast adjustment (as does LAB) I like to play with different variations of a and b in the curve adjustment to get the cast I like. I find that I can come up with color changes that I can’t seem to duplicate with RGB’s color cast. In fact, I can’t duplicate the temperature adjustments in ACR with color cast adjustments in RGB. So that’s my primary reason to use it.

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Beautiful. The main lines give depth and all the little cracks give lovely textures and details. I like the loose rocks in the back. The other ones here and there could be removed in my opinion :wink: I like the change in color in the middle.

Very late to the party, Igor, but I just haven’t been around much at all lately. This lovely! Love the composition, color, and texture. Very interesting that you used LAB for color modification. I’ve never used LAB but may have to try it after seeing this beauty. As with most all of your images, I find the processing to be superb, and I’m glad you decided to leave the small rocks.

This quote from the film Shane came to mind. I thought you might get a kick out of this association

A gun is a tool, Marion, no better or no worse than any other tool, an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.

Hi Igor,

This is a wonderful com[position with the peak of the rounded hill strategically positioned in the frame. Details are impressive. No nits from me. Well done…Jim

@Bradley_Strong, @Ben_van_der_Sande, @Harley_Goldman, @Lon_Overacker, @Brian_Schrayer, @Paul_Breitkreuz, @Bill_Chambers, @Ron_Jansen, @Nathan_Klein, @Adhika_Lie.

Thank you for your valuable comments. I’ve implemented the changes you recommended. I’ve removed the small stones in the lower section and I’ve modified the urc.

One thing that annoyed me slightly about this image is how the fg lower mound tonally flowed into the one behind it at the top center. I would have preferred that the two tonally distinct and separated. Let me know if you agree. I burned in a section of the bg hill to make that separation. What do you think of the modification. Does it make any difference to you or am I being anal_compulsive. I will post the change both here and next to the original so you can click to see the difference. I’m also not sold on the colors entirely. They seem pretty saturated.

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