Rick Cloran, HonPSA, MPSA  

Blacktail Overlook Sunrise by Rick Cloran, HonPSA, MPSA

June 2021 - Blacktail Overlook Sunrise

June 2021 - Rick Cloran, HonPSA, MPSA


About the Image(s)

This month’s image is from back in 2015 and shows a sunrise at the Blacktail Overlook in Grand Teton’s NP. The bracket was made with a Conon 5D MK III and 24-105 with two shots +/- 2 stops in one stop intervals around a base exposure of ¼ sec at F16 and iso 200 with the lens at 47mm. Given some of the problems I have run into with Aurora 2019, I ran the raw files through the new DxO Pure Raw program (worth checking out if you have not already). That gave me five dng files that I brought into Aurora where I did a custom blend. In turn, that went into Photoshop where I tweaked the blend in the Camera Raw filter, brought up the luminosity of the fog bank (over the Snake River) and added a little sharpening. The version that shows a blank, near white sky is what came out of the original bracket. Yes, that blend also had the sunrise glow on the tops of the Tetons looking anything but what I might consider normal. I didn’t try fixing things because they just felt off. In the second image I did a sky swap with the closest thing I had in the way of a sunrise sky that seemed to match the light direction and then dialed back significantly on the hue and saturation on the mountains also bringing the lit snow fields back closer to white with just a touch of that color. I’m not convinced the result looks believable, but I do think it better than the straight blend.

2 comments posted

Brad Ashbrook   Brad Ashbrook
I recently tried PureRaw recently and it does a very nice job. I used it on a Milky Way photo I submitted for DD27 this month.

The blend looks great in the main image and the fog bank is really nice and definitely adds interest. Unfortunately the blank sky does not help the scene. The sky looks like it belongs for the most part in the 2nd, perhaps still a bit much in its intensity. Do you think an intense sunset that you have would also effect the foreground? The snow does look like it is glowing a little.   Posted: 06/14/2021 16:11:54
Rick Cloran   Rick Cloran
Hi Brad, When doing the sky swap I also boosted contrast a bit and that pushed the whites in the fog up. That is probably what you are seeing. You hit on one of the things that I think is a key when composition and that is trying to get the contrast balance between the elements to feel right. There was always more contrast in the foreground than in the mountains because of distance. If I push the sky back to the mountains level it feels too flat. I suspect what is needed is to bring the mountains up closer to the foreground level and then try to match the sky.   Posted: 06/14/2021 16:42:54


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