Back Modifications (4)
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Balloon ride

By AM74
I read your blog from today John re photographs of Tutankhamun and it reminded me of my visit to Egypt. Very much a holiday mode photo again, while taking a balloon ride at sunrise over Valley of the Kings, Luxor. A lot of haze and mist. Post processing is something that I have not spent a lot of time on and there are big gaps in my knowledge. I always shoot RAW. In Lr, I usually straighten and crop my pic first, adjust WB, then usually start by using 'auto' for tone. On this shot, the auto reduced exposure by 0.03, increased contrast by 5. Highlights -75, shadows +53, whites +6, blacks -37. I adjust these after the auto has done its bit sometimes to see what I like but have not done it on this one. Then I dehaze, increase clarity and use sharpening slider sometimes.
Having done that, the shot looks underexposed to me. Can it get any better? Are the settings about right? I will upload the original unedited photo too.

Tags: Balloon Landscape and travel Sunrise and sky


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chase Plus
14 1.7k 412 England
21 Jun 2020 4:47PM
What a great sight, an hot air balloon ride is on my bucket list !

I see from the original you have cropped this quite hard and removed the balloon on the left and most of the one far right, low down, so to start with the rest of that one either needs removing completely or not at all.
This is always going to seem under exposed as you are shooting right into the rising sun, your subjects will therefore appear almost as silhouettes.
Settings look ok, reckon you could have dropped the ISO a little and used around F5.6 - F8 in order to maintain your shutter speed.

Your hefty crop has really brought out the noise here, that's where a lower ISO would have helped in reducing that noise a touch.

Using Raw is the best way to go, there is much more you can do with an image in that format.

I did do a mod...
Cropped from the original you have uploaded...thanks for that. I did leave in the balloon on the left but cropped off the one low down on the right.
Added a very slight gradient to the sky in Photoshop and reduced it to around 25%
Lightened the 2 main balloons with a levels layer and mask.
Put through Nik Define to help with the noise.
Added a faint 'fog' layer in Nik and removed it from the sky and balloons on a layer mask using a gradient and the brush tool on the mask.
Added a border to compensate for the crop.

I do like this image.

21 Jun 2020 11:07PM
Thank you Janet for explaining all this so well. Makes perfect sense re heavy crop bringing in noise. I seem to have a blind spot for checking ISO before shooting. Must get into that routine.

Love both your mod and John's! So much better than mine Smile
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
22 Jun 2020 4:12AM
Leave the ISO set to Auto.
dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 683 England
22 Jun 2020 11:16AM
Your camera is good as regards noise, but significant cropping no matter how low noise is will accentuate whatever is there.

You were at your widest end of the zoom and of course the temptation is to concentrate on the action/interest and forget the edges of the frame. We've all done that at some point.
If you can at all get closer either physically or using a longer focal lenght then do so, it'll mean little or no cropping later. Sometimes wider and closer views are both good, so try and take a few different images at the time.
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
22 Jun 2020 2:08PM
I looked closely at the original photo, and it seems to have visible noise, and also banding in the sky, so its likely been through some processing.

Dont use Auto for adjusting exposure and shadows, - the result is rarely good; use Auto only on white balance. And as I mentioned above, set ISO to Auto in camera, with the minimum shutter speed set for the lens.

22 Jun 2020 11:13PM
Thanks Keith and WIllie for your great tips.
I have already changed the ISO to auto and will keep an eye on it.

With regard to the original shot Willie, I am completely sure it was unprocessed. However for the avoidance of any doubt, I have uploaded a freshly 'reset' one straight from Lr and then on here as jpeg. I don't use any other software.
Could there be any other reason for the noise or banding in the sky?

pablophotographer 9 1.6k 380
23 Jun 2020 10:00PM
I am looking this from a very small screen. I am surprised that such an advanced camera model would have said that it displayed noise at ISO 640.

I can't create a modification from my device at the moment. I noticed all mods tend to favour the hot air balloons as subject and consider the land as a background at a distance. I would be happy to crop quite a chunk of sky above the hot air balloons and include the land just below the ballons to indicate their distance from the ground as if you shot this at an 120 degree angle.

A photographic opportunity well exploited. I like you 've hidden the sun behind the balloon.


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