I was asked today to save a photo. Could I put my photoshop to good use and save a landscape photo that was suffering from a common problem here in Hong Kong: extreme haze? (Click on images to see larger versions).
|Here’s the photo before the post-processing efforts.||And here is the final product.|
So, let me explain the steps I took.
1. One-shot HDR. Using Photomatix, I ramped the processing Strength to 79 decreased the Luminosity to -0.6 and increased the Microcontast to +3.8. I moved the White Point up to 0.989 and the Black Point to 0.126 to increase the overall contrast.
2. I opened the resulting image in Photoshop and then applied a Levels Adjustment Layer, correcting the levels for the Red, Green and Blue Layers individually. By correcting, I am referring to moving the White and Black point arrows inwards to meet the edges of the histogram.
3. I then added a Curves layers to further increase the contrast, again to the R, G and B channels separately taking care not to add a colour cast.
4. I added a further two Levels adjustments layers, each with a Layer Mask that allowed me to selectively enhance particular areas of the image that were suffering from low contrast.
5. I ran a Filter -> UnSharpen Mask on the underlying image layer at 162%, Radius 3 pixels and Threshold 0 to further remove the haziness and add definition.
6. I then opened the image in Lightroom and used the Adjustment Brush to add some more Contrast to specific areas (the buildings in the back and the dam in the foreground) as well as a little selective de-saturation on areas where it seemed appropriate.
You’ll see the diagonal light rays across the image. I could have removed these but I decided that it added a little character as I felt they went well with the lightened patches on the hillsides.