David Kepley  

Dusk by David Kepley

February 2021 - Dusk

February 2021 - David Kepley


About the Image(s)

I took this shot a year ago in Glacier NP. What really caught my eye was the leading lines created by the portion of the stream that had not yet frozen and the shore line on the right. What troubled me of course was that I had let the sky get blown out. My camera settings were ISO100, 0.3 sec, 11mm. I shot it using a Canon 7D Mark II with a Canon 10-18mm lens shot at 11mm. I was on a tripod.

In post processing I wanted to experiment with Luminar’s sky replacement feature with one I had shot at another location and to enhance the blues and yellows to warm the scene. So why do you think? Is the sky believable?

8 comments posted

Jason Stewart   Jason Stewart
The sky is believable, it had me fooled on first glance. While it looks natural, it also looks a bit over done like one would expect while processing an overexposed scene. The trees on the upper left are either a bit soft or blurry. That being said, its a beautiful scenic photo. The line of non frozen water leads you through the photo.   Posted: 02/01/2021 10:47:03
David Kepley   David Kepley
Thanks, Jason. I have been concerned about whether the sky looked over processed. I hadn't noticed the tree line problem, so thanks for that tip.   Posted: 02/01/2021 11:13:47

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Hi David.
At first glance you have a beautiful winter scene that with the blue tones in the landscape brings to mind the mind numbing cold that I remember from a trip I took to Glacier some years ago. I like the composition and the use of leading lines that work exactly like you describe. However, for me that is where this winter scene begins to fall apart.

Since you are relatively new to the group let me start by saying that I have been judging photo competitions both in the US and abroad for a number of years and my comments which follow, stem from my judging background.

Sky replacement is rapidly growing trend and we are seeing more and more images where this is being employed. This has become so extreme that many contests in the international level are now requiring that the original RAW file be submitted in order for the image to receive an award. If competition or gallery exhibition (other than as "fine art") are in your plans for this image I do not think the image will be accepted. If the image is for your personal enjoyment then print it, put a frame on it and hang it with pride. It is beautiful.

Now what do I see when I view the image? There are several "tells" that tip me off. First, the position of the light source is high enough that some of that color should be reflecting onto the ground. The foreground blues don't work with the "punch" delivered by the colors of the sky, (I also think they look a bit over saturated). When I look at the sky and see the light reflected into the unfrozen water I would expect to see some of the color in the reflection, it is not there. When I look at the tree tops (especially the bare trees) they have multiple color tones that should not be there. The light across the image simply appears surreal.

There is a simple fix you can work with in the field that will same most of your skies. May I suggest that you obtain at least a 3 stop Graduated Neutral Density filter and use it religiously. Personally I have a set of GND filters that include a 1,2 and 3 stop filter. This allows me to have an effective range covering from 1 to 6 stops if I combine the filters. I use a GND filter on 90% of my landscape scenes if the sky is included. You can bet a bracket that will attach to your lens to hold the filters if necessary. I most commonly use the 3 stop filter alone and it that is the case I will hand hold it in front of the lens and actually move it during the exposure to soften the effect.

I played with your image in Lghtroom and found that converting it to B/W and adding contrast to the sky worked pretty well. See the attached for an idea. It would work better with a larger image size.   Posted: 02/01/2021 13:31:18
Comment Image
David Kepley   David Kepley
Larry, Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I own a set of ND filters, but failed to use them on this scene. Thanks for the reminder. My goal for this shot would be to enter it into my camera club competition, if I could get it to look natural. Our club permits sky replacement if both images (sky and landscape) were taken by the photographer. You confirmed what I feared, which is that the scene is not quite "natural." I'll try it as a B&W as you suggersted. Thanks again.   Posted: 02/02/2021 09:40:16

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Hi David, it's a beautiful image with great composition. I would never have noticed the details about the light source that Larry did. But the sky did look a little too perfect to me, once you mentioned that it had been replaced. I've done some sky replacement in Luminar 4 and to me it's a dilemma as whether or not to reveal it. I almost always do, and certainly do when it's required. But if I were a casual viewer of your image I would have been better off not to have known.   Posted: 02/17/2021 14:56:44
David Kepley   David Kepley
Thanks, Michael. LIke Larry said, if I had not told you that the sky was replaced, I'm not sure too many people would have noticed.   Posted: 02/17/2021 18:15:15

Bud Ralston   Bud Ralston
Hi David: Luminar 4 and Luminar Ai are great fun to play with. Sometimes you can adjust the sky saturation with a slider in Ai. If not, you can always bring the image into Nik Color Efex Pro4 and apply a GND filter there. I agree with the comments above that the sky color needs to be accounted for in the water/snow.   Posted: 02/20/2021 12:31:09

David Kepley   David Kepley
Thanks Bud. I hadn't thought about using NIK Color Efex Pro. I'll give it a try!   Posted: 02/20/2021 13:55:10


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