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A first play at using layer masks and sepia effect for me on this picture of Eilien Donan, taken I guess about 3/4 years ago, can't remember what camera!
Used the mask to darken the sky and lighten the foreground and then adjusted curves (also something I have little experience of!)
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I think the processing has worked well to create a dramatic image. It's nice and contrasty and there's interest throughout the frame.
I'd say that it does look processed, which I think is perfectly fine but you need to be more gentle with the controls if you're after a more natural look. Since you were working with a JPEG, things have become a bit noisy where you've recovered detail from the shadows. Again, I don't think that's a problem for this image but shooting RAW would give you more leeway for this kind of editing.
The composition is a bit central, which makes the castle rather dominant. Paradoxically, you might get a better feeling for the castle within its landscape if you cropped a bit off the left-hand side to pull the castle away from the centre.
Thanks David for your comments.
The original shot was taken towards the end of the day with little light available and the original is quite dull so I am pleased that I managed to get some drama and contrast into the picture. Since taking this pic I have moved over to shooting in RAW though definately still learning what to do with the images!
The original shot had a load of the loch in the foreground which I cropped out because it wasn't interesting and whilst thinking about the rule of thirds, I just concentrated too much on the top to bottom thirds and forgot to think about side to side!
Quite strong, but a bit over processed. Something doesn't look quite right between th castle and sky along the interface. Unlike the first comment, I thin the end product lacks contrast - you have arrived at an image with a very tight range of tones where a bit wider range would be an advantage.
Very good first attempt, nice image of a lovely location.
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