Fixing A Mountain

Roger and I have written before about periodically relooking at old images.  Since I have been preparing photos for synchronizing with the new LR Mobile app, I took the opportunity to do exactly that.  There have been some amazing improvements in RAW processing in LR and in Photoshop, which provide much more powerful tools to bring out the data in your images.   In parallel, while I was at Photoshop World, I really focused on taking classes which would impact my landscape work.  The great landscape artists, who taught there, showed off some very interesting new workflows which really added “pop” and focus for their images.  When Ben graduated from High School, we took a trip to Germany.  One of the most scenic places we stayed was Garmisch-Partenkirchen, right at the base of the Alps.  

Guest House Fraundorfer

Guest House Fraundorfer

The town hosted the Winter Olympics way back in 1936.  Looming over the town is the Zugspitze.  

Trams climb way up through the clouds from both Germany and Austria, providing an impressive view for anyone crazy enough to keep their eyes open.

Anyway, I found this really flat, image of the mountain and realized that this looked just like the starting point for several of the instructors images and that, with the new tools, I might be able to make a much more interesting picture.  

Zugspitze-Starting point

Zugspitze-Starting point

Beginning with adjusting the processing version to the latest version, provided new levels of control.   Next just adjusting the Black point of the image by holding down the Alt Button as you drag the Black slider to the left, really added depth to the image.  Since it is a landscape, one of the key tips from PSW, is to really crank up the Clarity slider.  As you can see, it is all the way up to +93.  Clarity is just the mid-tone contrast and it seems to sweep away a lot of the mist and haze in the photo.   I also pushed up the Vibrance and even the rarely used Saturation to restore the greens back to the trees. 

Basic Panel adjustments

Basic Panel adjustments

The sky still appeared washed out, so I applied a Gradient Filter from the top down.  I pushed down the exposure, the highlights and again cranked up the clarity.  This made the sky and clouds much more impressive.  In my memory, the effects restored the skies much closer to how I remembered them. 

Sky Gradient 

Sky Gradient 

Now it was time to bring out the details on the mountainside itself.  Using the brush adjustment tool, I adjusted the exposure, reduced the highlights and the shadows.  I then selected a “new” brush and adjusted my settings some and worked on the forest, until I was happy with the final results.  

Brush adjustments showing the mask overlay

Brush adjustments showing the mask overlay

I now think this formerly “blah” picture is one I am considering printing and framing.  

The Zugspitze- As It should look

The Zugspitze- As It should look