Back Modifications (2)
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Red Rock

By genebalun
Red Rock Canyon, the hidden gem of Las Vegas. This photo was taken at dusk. All constructive criticism is greatly appreciated. It is, indeed, what makes us better photographers. Thanks for taking your time to look!

Tags: Canyons Landscape and travel

Voters: MattB1987, JN_CHATELAIN_PHOTOGRAPHY, Silverzone and 6 more

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Jasper87 Plus
8 2.0k 150 England
19 Apr 2012 1:30PM
Amazing geology. And a very good composition to show it.


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mhfore 11 6 176 England
19 Apr 2012 1:50PM
Hi Gene,

Another good shot this time of Red Rock Canyon, well done. Did you get passed the "gamut warning" with the "Bryce Canyon" image ?

Gene, I've made a couple of alterations to bring the sky and red colour out in the image. I first made a copy and then selected the sky, then into "Select" > "Inverse" it seemed an easier way to select the ground Grin. Then in your "Blend Modes" select "Overlay" and I reduced the opacity to 46%, Overlay alters the contrst and colours in a subtle way by lightening the light colours and darkening the darker ones. Although you've selcted the ground the effect will happen to the whole of the image but now if you click on a layer mask it will remove the effect from the sky. Next re-select the sky and in "Levels" you will notice the black slider needs adjusting so slide it up the scale until the sky is how you like it.

I've made these adjustments in the mod.

Take care
gajewski Plus
13 10 9 United States
19 Apr 2012 6:57PM
You are correct -- it is one of the hidden gems of Las Vegas. I really like how you captured the red rock in contrast to the rest of the (brown) terrain.
gajewski Plus
13 10 9 United States
19 Apr 2012 7:00PM
I just saw your mod. The mod, along with your wonderfully detailed instruction is very helpful. I certainly will be able to use this for my own processing. Thank you.
banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3881 Canada
19 Apr 2012 7:39PM
Hi Gene, this is a nice shot. Ive spent some time looking through your portfolio, and you have a lot of very nice shots, mainly landscapes, and all colourful, taking advantage of your location.

I will make a few suggestions, as you havent yet visited the Critique Gallery:

1. Investigate filters. First in the list should be Neutral Density Graduated, or ND Grads. They are available in various densities, and their purpose, which is essential in landscape photography, is to reduce the light level in the sky, to something closer to the lower areas, so you can get an even exposure. next is a Circular Polarizer. In mountains (and other places) you can come across a misty glare in the sky that can be eliminated by using one of these filters.

2. Spend a little more time in post processing. Shoot ONLY in RAW for the greatest control over the finished product. Pay particular attention to white balance, and contrast.

3. Understand where to focus in a landscape image. Check out this link, and pay attention to Hyperfocal Distance, which is approximately 1/3 the way into your image:

Now lets look at this shot, and one other from your portfolio, Bryce Canyon.

This is a nice shot, but can be a better shot. Your shot settings look good. It would be nit picking to say f/16 would be as low as you should go, as apparent sharpness does fall off below f/16 or so, - but the effect would be negligible, - just something for the next time. What can be improved? The shot appears flat, and lacks life. These are subjective comments of course. but when we speak of flat in an image, it generally means that there is a absence of real black.
If you look at you histogram you may notice not a lot on information at the left side. Setting a point for black alone will give the shot a boost. I will add a link to a tutorial for removing a colour cast, but it will also work for setting the black point in your image:

Again looking at your histogram, you will actually see two graphs along the axis; the lower for the ground and mountains, the second for the sky, - showing why an ND grad is useful.

One the black and white points are corrected, you can increase vibrance, (if it did not already increase with the adjustments).

Ive loaded a mod using this approach; Ive also suggested you crop the bottom just to where that gully leaves the bottom right; the image becomes more panoramic. and you remove some unwanted space.

Ive taken exactly the same approach to a mod I just loaded on Bryce Canyon; that has a blue/cyan colour cast which is not allowing the reds to show properly. If you decide to experiment with this technique on that shot, - ignore the black areas where the treee is, - you want to locate the black point in the canyon itself.

You have a great eye for a shot, - a fantastic location, so take the next steps to becoming outstanding.


genebalun 6 2 3 United States
20 Apr 2012 1:28PM
A special thanks to mhfore and banehawi for the outstanding suggestions regarding post process editing! I have already begun using the approaches in my editing and they seem to work very well.

Thanks again, Martin and Willie!

Best wishes,

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