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Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

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  #1  
Old 01-16-2009, 03:10 PM
gladesman gladesman is offline
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Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

Hi,
This is my first post to this forum, so feel free to correct mistakes I might make in posting.
While shooting landscapes in the Everglades I often find my camera pointing at dark areas, and in capturing proper exposure for the scene it will blow out the sky, which in turn destrys detail in the treetops.
I've attached such an image, although it may be too small to see the background tree leaves against the white sky.
My problem is that when I add a color gradient or replace the whole sky, then the already detail-less leaves and branches fall even more apart. I realize this isn't a new problem, and have found lots of forum talk on the subject, but nothing that really corrects the problem.
What is the best way handle lost detail in these areas? Is there a retouch procedure that might work?
By the way, I've learned a lot of tips reading these posts in the past week since I joined. A lot of what's discussed here may pertain to faces, skin, etc. but I've found there are gems that also apply to landscape post-processing.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2009, 03:55 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

Gladesman, welcome to Retouch Pro. High contrast scenes such as these are a significant challenge to the imaging arrays on today's SLR cameras. A couple of suggestions would be:

- If at all possible shoot the image in RAW format. That will allow you to recover some of the highlights in Camera RAW.
- Try to take two close to identical images, one metered for the foreground and the other metered for the sky. You can then compoosite the two images to obtain a balanced scene.
Regards, Murray
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:08 PM
gladesman gladesman is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

Thanks, Murray
I shoot only in Raw, and have done the bracketing and compositing techniques. The problem is that sometimes its not always feasible, for instance when the wind blows or something else demands attention. I also bring two Raw renditions of the same file into photoshop, and align and burn, but there must be some way to retouch when needed. I just can't find it.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:21 PM
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mistermonday mistermonday is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

If the detail in an area is totally blown out on all of the images, then there is usually nothing you can do. However, if you have good detail on any of the other images you should be able to select and mask to make a great composite. It could be your technique. Why don't you try posting a couple of images with and describe what you want to achieve as a result. You shpould be able to get some good suggestions.
Regards, Murray
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2009, 04:26 PM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

Looks like South Florida to me! :-) Welcome aboard Gladesman.

Check out my video on Fixing a blown out sky. Follow the tutorial link in my signature. Did this in about 20 seconds.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:36 PM
gladesman gladesman is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

You're right...S Florida.

I have listened to your sky tutorials, and they are informative, also appreciated.
And adding sky color is an improvement, but I had already gotten to that. It's the tree limbs and leaves in the background that still bother me. I guess the thing to do is brush them out pre-coloring.

I'm curious as to why you use the Marquee tool to select the sky as opposed to Magic Wand. Does it do a more detailed job?
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:11 PM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

I'm in south Florida too. Sebring area.

Selecting all the small sky areas between leaves and branches with the magic wand would be impossible. Using the marquee tool allows Photoshop to make the selection automatically. When you set the Selective Color to "White" PS looks for all the highlight areas within the marquee only. It's a real time saver. Sometimes you might have a building roof line that gets included in the marquee so you can either delete that portion of the marquee selection with something like the polygon tool (holding down the ALT key) or you can paint it out on the mask after coloring the sky.

I don't understand exactly what branches and leaves you want to eliminate from your photo so didn't correct for that.
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:15 AM
gladesman gladesman is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

Swampy,
Attached is the top right portion of my sample image. It shows the leaves and branches I'm talking about. See how they sort of fall apart? I'm looking for a way to either clean them up or eliminate the worst of them.

I ran a couple tests using the Magic Wand and Marquee Tool, and I see that the Marquee really does a better selection job. I didn't know that. Thanks.

You do some great work.
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  #9  
Old 01-17-2009, 08:24 AM
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

Looks like a long session of cloning if you want to remove them.
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2009, 08:44 AM
gladesman gladesman is offline
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Re: Sky repair and distant tree leaves...

Yeah, guess so....
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