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How do you edit an image that suffers from smog

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  • How do you edit an image that suffers from smog

    Hi
    This is my first post to this forum. I have an image that is both underexposed and very smoggy. We were in Egypt in the fall and visited a community where you traveled on motorcycles. Long story short, as we were bouncing around at dusk I saw a man riding home on a donkey. Behind him are a train, a motorcycle, bus and a car. I was bouncing up and down....

    I have tried
    Duplicated Layer 1 and applied USM at 20,60,0
    Duplicated that layer and set it to Overlay, also tried multiply
    Applied a Levels Adjustment layer to brighten the sky
    Applied a color burn level to darken foliage, car and bus

    I am still having trouble with the image appearing murky grey or murky brown.
    I am at a loss as to what to do to improve the image.

    I have attached the before and after before = original, after=275

    I have learnt a great deal by watching and practising but would appreciate any advice.
    Thanks in advance.
    Sallythebaglady
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

    I think your "after" looks good. The thing is, it *is* dawn, and there's definitely some morning haze in the air, as evidenced by the white sky and the desaturated background. But that seems appropriate to the shot. Is there a reason it shouldn't look like dawn?

    If you want to add color you could add a color gradient to the sky (you can try blend modes but Normal at low opacity probably works fine). But unless you shorten and/or harden the long, diffuse shadows and increase the contrast and saturation of the background, it's still going to look like a hazy dawn.

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    • #3
      Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

      Maybe the trick isn't to fight the dawn smog but to embrace it.

      If you like this effect, start with your "after" image, darken the background while masking off the guy on the donkey, then fill a layer with color and set to low opacity and do a partial mask of that over the guy (IOW use a shade of gray to mask, not black). You want him to have some of the overall coloration, but not the full intensity of it.
      Attached Files

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      • #4
        Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

        It all depends on what your goal is. The photo was taken at dusk. It was smoggy. Are you trying to make it look like it wasn't dusk and it wasn't smoggy? Just a little brightness and contrast to approximate what it looked like to the eye could more faithfully replicate what you experienced. The photo is a nice moment, it doesn't need to scream. Sometimes whispering can get someone's attention better.
        Attached Files

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

          Well said, holgaman.

          Dusk...

          I have to read more carefully.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

            Flashtones,
            Thank you. I should have mentioned, I really like your version. Looks more 'dusky' than mine and still has a lot of great subtle colors. Really nice mood.

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            • #7
              Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

              Here is my take.
              I brightened up the man, with light painting.
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

                Well I first used a curves adjustment layer and used the white eyedropper on the white thing on the man's left shoulder.

                Then on top of that I added another curves adjustment layer and increased the contrast and set the mask to black and painted in the contrast on parts of the background.

                Notice the yellowish tint which may be proper for a late afternoon photo.
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

                  For the first edit, I just pushed AUTO in curves. (Always start out with auto if it helps, then it saved you some time)

                  The second is selective brighten, sharpen, and saturation.

                  Hope it helps,
                  -Keven
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How do you edit an image that suffers from smo

                    Thanks everyone. I appreciate the input and the comments that the smog is a part of the atmosphere of the image.

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