Mt. Jefferson served with mustard - re-post

This version re-posted after tonality suggestion from @Ed_McGuirk and vibrance nudge from @Harley_Goldman. When masking the mustard, I found that lens correction was needed (mustard horizon bulged in the middle), and leveling was needed. Thanks, folks.

Original was

Mt Jeff is the most beautifully formed of the Oregon cascade volcanic peaks. This pre-dawn shot was taken near Culver, Oregon, shooting with tripod in pickup bed over a cover crop of mustard. It was an exciting morning. Later toward dawn the hills had more texture, but the earth shadow effect was gone.

Specific Feedback Requested

Two questions I wrestled with in processing … How much overall light (it is pre-dawn, after all)? How to introduce texture, especially in the mustard and foothills, when ambient light was totally flat?

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
4 exposures focused stacked with Helicon Focus. Canon 100-400 IS II at 220mm, f/20, ISO 800. Lots of work in Photoshop.

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Great look at the field, mountain and color gradient of the sky. I might mask the mustard and boost the vibrance and see what you think? The mountains and sky look right to my eye.

Dick, wow, what an impressive use of the earths shadow here. Twilight can result in some simply amazing colors. The composition works well for me, you made a nice layer cake here.

It sounds like your instincts are telling you to have more luminosity, but you are being held back by wanting to keep it looking more like early twilight. My personal opinion is that the pink and yellow colors would benefit from having slightly lighter tonality. Looking at the histogram in a levels adjustment layer, you have some unused space on the right side of the histogram. I simply pulled the right slider in levels back to the left until I got to about 240, and I liked what that did. It’s a matter of personal preference, and it depends what mood you are trying to convey.

Thanks for the nudge, Ed. I did what you suggested, plus adjusted the hue of the mustard. The prior color was too deep due to a magenta filter I put over the hills and mustard … looked like mustard out of the jar rather than mustard on the hoof. See re-post.

The rework makes for a nice improvement, especially in the pink sky.

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Colors are terrific… great scene , a view not seen that often.