Friday, September 4, 2009

A Tale of Two Adjustments

The only thing that makes this shot remotely interesting is the background. The "hikers" aren't really hiking, and they're not someone I know, so the only purpose they serve is to give some scale to the image. As I went through the normal adjustments in my workflow I saw something in what was coming up that surprised me a little. Of the minimum of six Hue/Saturation Adjustment layers I use (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Magenta), three effected the foreground and two the background. (Magenta didn't do much on either side.) It wasn't so much that there was a difference. It was more about how pronounced the difference was. There are things I've come to expect about how the colors react in an image and this shot ends up being "the exception that proves the rule" (link). To discover what this "exception" might be, hit the "read more".

A couple things hold true in images being saturated in Photoshop. Yellow effects foliage more than green. Cyan and blue have a very minor effect on grass, leaves, trees, growing things (plants) in general. In today's image that axiom holds sway over the foreground. Saturating the yellow popped up the grasses and plants in the lower portion of the shot. The thing that struck me was that there was no effect on the plant life in the valley. I thought the reds in the valley might come up a little based on the time of year and the changing of the colors. Nothing, zero movement in the reds down in the valley (ho, ho, ho - green giant).
When I got to adjusting the cyan and blue I thought, "no sky, no water, probably no change". Wow, big shifts from both the cyan and blue. A much greater shift than I thought would happen. It was like I was adjusting a deep blue sky or some water, but not grass and trees. Where red, yellow and green showed up saturating the foreground, cyan and blue made major changes to the valley in the background. After saying "hmmmm" I got to thinking. What was it that I was seeing? The shot is your basic tourist shot from the top of Mount Greylock in Lanesborough, Massachusetts. The summit is at about 3,500'. The town of Lanesborough is probably lower than 500' or 600'. So there a 3,000' differential between where I was and where the town is. That's 3,000' of "blue" sky. I don't think I was making changes to the grass, trees and foliage, I was saturating the atmospheric haze that hung in the air. The UV filter cut the haze, but the brought back the color of the haze and not the distortion.
Just goes to show you, everything is not as it appears.