Luminosity Masking and Image Recovery

by Joe Bridwell

Six years ago, I took 6 HDR shots with a 6 megapixel Nikon D70. At the time, Lightroom was doing 2003 raw conversions. Photoshop masking with the selection tool created a poor black/white mask. I was quite frustrated with masking trees against the skyline. So this HDR image sorta went by the wayside… The tools were not adequate to address neither its richness nor complexity!
With Luminosity Masking, you examine every pixel in the HDR result to create a grayscale mask. You get tree edges against sky. You also get automatic self feathering – which adds strong drama.
I’m now on a very interesting path. I’m redoing all my classic landscape images with Tony Kuyper’s luminosity masking actions.
I resurrected the original HDR images. I submitted them to Nik’s HDR Efex Pro 2. I took that HDR image and began applying luminosity masks.
Finding incredible detail in Cave Towers is like landing on the moon.
Your eye glories in a forgotten cornucopia of color, texture, and detail!

CaveTowers 2013©Chopawamsic LC

Cave Towers 2013©Chopawamsic LC

Thank you, Jesus…

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Masking a Luminosity Mask for Local Curves Adjustment

by Joe Bridwell

When Jack Houser first looked at my LastEoL image, he made a comment, “Reflections in a pond are always darker than the sky!” Time has clearly taught me; when Jack makes a color or textural remark, I’d really better pay heed…
So here’s the workflow I devised for modifying luminosity masks to darken the pond. Before I could make any progress, I had to study Sean Bagshaw’s luminosity mask tutorials regarding local adjustments, based on Tony Kuyper’s luminosity mask work.
Beyond that, I faced this fact; skies had been color coordinated over time lapse of these photos. So I had to be quite careful to make similar darken pond ranges in luminosity and texture. Here’s the workflow to create that subtle difference…
Bagshaw defines both Custom Masks and Local Adjustments. His videos carefully work you through each workflow step. Under custom masks, he covers magic mid tones, increasing tonal separation, burn or Dodge a mask, and painting on an enhanced mask. For localized adjustments, he covers painting a mask, masking the mask, and luminosity painting. Here, we create a Local Adjustments mask atop a luminosity mask.

Preliminary Steps to Create an Expanded Mid Tone Mask of the Pond

Preliminary Steps to Create an Expanded Mid Tone Mask of the Pond

Preliminary Steps to Create an Expanded Mid Tone Mask of the Pond

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Red Mountain – Edge of Light

by Joe Bridwell

Twice each day, the cool, blue light of night interacts with warm tones of daylight.  For a full hour at either end of the day, colors of light mix together in endless combinations, as if someone in the sky were shaking a kaleidoscope.  

Magic Hour is that hour around dawn and dusk. The Edge of Light occurs when cool, blue light of night interacts with warm tones of daylight. This effect takes place, not directly where the sun rises or sets, but where sun’s rays bring warm, direct light onto parts of land and sky also lit by cool, reflected light of evening.

The most interesting parts of the natural world are these edges.  Places where timberline touches the heights, where bare mountain peaks touch the sky. Landscape photographers shoot light itself! When Magic Hour arrives, I search for perfect light. Then, I hunt for something earthbound to match.

Galen Rowell, Mountain Light, 2011, 3rd Ed.

Red Mountain - No Edge of Light 2013©Chopawamsic LC

Red Mountain – No Edge of Light 2013©Chopawamsic LC

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Creating Fine Art Magic Quickens My Artistic Pulse

by Joe Bridwell

Bisti (old raw file) – Primordial Bisti (Creating Fine Art Magic)

“I always work better when I do not reason, when no question of right or wrong enters in – when my pulse quickens to the form before me, without hesitation nor calculation.”
Edward Weston, 1936.

This ‘make a Primordial Bisti’ idea sprang awake before dawn. Still half asleep this Thursday morning, I was in a dream state. I wanted to see the stable growth from a raw Bisti shot to CFAM’s evocative finale. Continue reading

Bullett Canyon Cataract (dry)

by Joe Bridwell

Cataract, Bullett Canyon, Cedar Mesa, se Utah

+Liliana Pellegrini +Davor Maksimovic +Alain Besnet; You guys +1’d Joe @ Bullett Canyon Cataract.  That pic is above the real cataract. It’s downhill from my pointing arm. Thought you guys would like to know, “… the Rest of the Story!”

Bullett Canyon was a water source for ancient Anasazi 1000 years ago. The Canyon is located in se Utah on Cedar Mesa. The hike is middle-of-the-road; if wet or snow, it would be really hard to get back up this steep feature.

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