Back Modifications (3)
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Plane and Parachutist over Longs Peak Colorado

By stevelink
I was photographing Longs Peak, when, as luck would have it, a parachutist came out of the sky just as a prop plane was taking off!

Tags: Landscape photography Landscape and travel

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banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4227 Canada
3 Apr 2021 8:40PM
I wonder if you used a filter of some type for this that would account for that strong blue colour cast?
stevelink 17 2 United States
3 Apr 2021 9:12PM
Hi Banehawi,
Actually, I generally don’t use filters on the lens, because I like to obtain as much sharpness and detail as possible. Rather, I make slight adjustments via the Hue/Saturation control in Photoshop, and try to keep the natural “intensity” of the scene. Thank you.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2395 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2021 9:52PM
Hi Steve, welcome to the Critique Gallery, you've been on the site a long time but I think this is the first time you have ticked the critique button? I hope it was intended - and you will have received a message explaining a bit about how we work.

This to me has a pronounced blue / lilac cast though that may be down to the haze. Could we see the original please? You can upload it as a modification, just go to the blue modifications button below your upload and follow the instructions.

It's a serendipitous shot, opportunity well grabbed. My initial feeling is that I would want to zoom in closer / look at a tighter crop. The foreground gives context, but dilutes the real interest. But it would be better to work on the original file... (I wonder if this is already cropped - your logo is much bigger in the frame than in previous uploads.)
stevelink 17 2 United States
4 Apr 2021 3:06AM
Hi Moira,
First let me thank you for your "Welcome", as well as the informative and constructive comments! You're correct...this is the first time I've clicked on the "Critique" button. Smile This image was only very slightly cropped, because I always prefer to show the Rockies as much as I can (as we're fairly new to Colorado), and besides, I was already at the closest point we were able to reach (If we had waited for the traffic between myself and the airport to pass, I'd have missed that moment).
As for the "tint", I do slight hue and saturation edits in Photoshop, as it brings out the detail in the mountains. The original is a much "flatter" image, thus I generally only share my edited images, as I believe that, as Master Ansel Adams once said, "The negative is the score, and the print is the performance" (in this case, the "print" being my processed digital file.)Thank you once again! Regards, Steve
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2395 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2021 8:35AM
Thanks for getting back to us. I appreciate that you don't want to share your unedited image, but without it there's a limit to what we can do here.

I'm adding a modification, a much tighter crop to take us into the story. For me it conveys the important elements, the aircraft and the peaks, with sufficient baseline to support the composition. I tried to counter the lilac tint but couldn't get any green into the foliage as I would want to see.
chase Plus
15 2.1k 562 England
4 Apr 2021 10:53AM
Hi Steve and welcome.
Thanks for your input here, it does make a difference.
I like your thinking here, an opportunity not to be missed, so for a record grab shot it's fine, although I would have liked you to have zoomed in on the plane and sky diver a little more as you do have a bit more reach with that lens. Moiras cropped mod demonstrates that idea really well.

For me this is too blue/lilac, I had a go at reducing it using the camera raw filter in Photoshop, the result wasn't too bad but the colour cast is generally all over the image.
I warmed the whole thing up which did help the greens a touch.
Neutralised the whites using the Nik filter.
Added just a touch more contrast.
Cropped, which removed your rather large logo, added a frame to compensate for the crop.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2395 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2021 11:12AM
Janet has done a much better job in retrieving the greens. I didn't think to use the Dehaze slider in Camera Raw, which could make a big difference.

I hope that you will upload again in the Critique Gallery, but if you do it would be a good idea to let us know what advice you are looking for. When an image has been processed we do normally ask to see the original - the automatic message that the site sends out when an image is uploaded for critique asks for details of significant processing. Here the colour cast does jump out as the dominant factor when viewing the image - maybe it looks less pronounced on your screen? But there are three of us seeing it here!
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4227 Canada
4 Apr 2021 2:26PM
Adjusting hue to suit a particular area of the image affects all of the image, quite negatively in this case.

It is possible to apply the cast to only the area you want which would work better, as that white storage shed would be closer to white, and the grass closer to green.

stevelink 17 2 United States
4 Apr 2021 2:48PM
Hi Moira and Janet,
Your modifications to my image are interesting, and indeed, another valid composition. As for the color cast on my image, I neglected to mention that regrettably, I am colorblind, so I don’t see the “tint” perhaps as pronounced as someone with normal vision might. This is one reason why I always leave my cameras on “Auto White Balance”! (Indeed, this is the only “Auto” setting I ever use.) One other reason that I chose not to crop the image tighter, is that I wanted to show the “Majesty” of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. So, I purposefully didn’t zoom in further, because I think that by rendering the plane and parachutist smaller, it makes the mountains that much more grand and large. (Again, this is simply my own visualization and interpretation of the scene, which is no more “valid” than your cropped image.)
As for modifications to this image, I’ve been into photography for approximately 50 years, using formats from 35mm to large format (4x5, 8x10). If you want to check my site at, I have an “About Us” section that explains more about my photographic experience.
I realize that “any” image can be modified to create an image that better aligns with ones’ visualization, but in my opinion, a modification is yet an additional subjective opinion on how to represent an image. The images I create, are merely “my” visualizations of how I interpret the scene. And of course, there are myriad other possible interpretations of that same scene, each one no more “valid” than the next, because, unless one is photographing test charts, for example, to review a camera or lens’ properties such as chromatic aberration or any number of lens characteristics, photography is a Subjective endeavor. So, yes, I certainly do appreciate your critiques! Thank you again! Enjoy the Holiday weekend! Best Regards, Steve
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1832 England
4 Apr 2021 5:51PM
Hi, Steve, and a belated welcome from me.

I've read all of the comments above with interest, and am particularly enlightened by your last comment about your eyesight. I have to say that Auto White Balance isn't a panacea: it gives wrong results more often than not, in my experience: I therefore look carefully at how an image is out of camera, and adjust the WB, as I adjust all other parameters, to suit how I see the scene. I recognise that this will not be a process that you can replicate because of your colour blindness. To most eyes, the colour here is very cold, and a warmer view is usually more attractive, more involving.

As to different interpretations of an image - I'm an Ansel Adams fan, and entirely agree that the end product is the performance: however, in asking for critique, surely you are asking for alternatives, ideas, and comments - and we can provide these in more depth if we can see the original file as well.

Here, there's a real conflict between two things: the images of the aircraft and parachute, and the Rockies. Once there are two human-interest subjects in the frame, I wonder if the image (as a single image, rather than part of a series) can be entirely about the mountains. But the casual viewer, unless guided by a title or caption to think in terms of the majesty of the setting, will always want to see more of the people, I think.

The validity of an image clearly isn't an objective, measurable thing in the same way as lens definition. However, everyone viewing any image will make a subjective judgment of it, and there are reasonably-standard ways in which this can be predicted, and ways to crop and edit images to bring out particular characteristics. In that sense, views offered can sometimes alter one's own perception of an image, and even alter the approach for future pictures.

You are, very clearly, aware of the beauty of the area where you have chosen to live - I think few people are as lucky!
stevelink 17 2 United States
4 Apr 2021 7:08PM
Hello Dudler,
Thank you for your constructive comments. Your point about Auto White Balance is well-taken. I agree that it’s no panacea, but I do believe that, in my particular case it’s more “correct” than not... as I don’t really “trust” my own eyes to judge color balance. So, when I make edits in post processing in order to bring out details, perhaps I do sometimes go a bit “heavy-handed”. For that, my apologies. As I said previously, my final images are a result of how I visualize a scene, and here in Colorado, winter is often seen by me at least, as bathed in a more “cold and blue” light, than, say, in other seasons. Indeed, American songs often depict the mountains as “purple mountains majesty”. Though I never espouse to create a “literal depiction of reality”, I do strive for detail and sharpness in all of my work. All that said, perhaps my colorblindness gives me a greater appreciation for the black-and-white work of Master Ansel Adams! Regards, Steve
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 761 England
4 Apr 2021 7:09PM
Wlcome from me too.

I like the moment you've captured and I appreciate you had to take it then or miss it.
The Rockies do make a fantastic backdrop, youwere in a fortunate position.
As an aside, the long focal length used has increased the drama, of both the situation and backdrop, but not so much perhaps for the FAA to class this as a near miss!

The blue cast, although part and parcel of mountainoius areas is strong. Selective adjustment as Willie suggests is the best approach as a global adjustment would make the foreground too warm.
I appreciate what you said about your colour vision. I had a teacher at school who didn't do colour printing (darkroom days) because he wouldn't be confident of getting acceptable (to others) of his results. Mono was not a problem.
stevelink 17 2 United States
4 Apr 2021 7:56PM
Very good points, dark_lord! Yes, my first foray into photography in the ’70’s was b&w, with a Nikkormat FT3, after reading the awesome “Basic Photo Series” books by Master Ansel Adams. In fact, I remained exclusively a b&w photographer for a few decades prior to even thinking about getting into color, perhaps because of my colorblindness. I learned several darkroom techniques from Mr. Adams, such as cold light printing instead of the condenser lenses in my old Beseler 67C enlarger. The softer, even illumination of the cold light head improved my b&w prints immensely! Thanks again for the comments.

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