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image: Leaves and Sky
31-OCT-2006 Allan Farnsworth

image: Leaves and Sky

This is a corrected version of a pair of images taken by Allan Farnsworth. The corrected image
comes from a blend of a high and low tone exposure, described on the PWP forum in this message:

http://www.dl-c.com/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?tpc=2&post=25301#POST25301

The challenge here is to get the branches of the pine tree that have blue sky behind them to look
natural. The following steps were taken to produce the final blended image.


(1) Make a shadow-tone mask using the original image "Leaves". The mask coordinates (if I remember)
were (0,100), (60,100), (70,0), (100,0) (first and last points "optional"). Blur the mask (r=35),
subtract a mask (50,0), (70,100), feather -2, +2, and then invert the final result. The general
approach is a lot like den's 3-tone shadow mask, with some customized playing with some of the
parameters (especially the subtract mode curve).

(2) Use the composite transform in blend mode with "Leaves" as the input image, the mask
produced in the step above, and "Sky" as the overlay image. The resulting image ("Blend1")
is 95% of the way home.

(3) There are hot spots behind the pine branches. Make a mask to use with a color correction
transform, in which we'll replace the hotspots with nice blue sky. Bring up the mask tool on
Blend1, and use the histogram tool to select everything bright (0,0), (60,0), (70,100), (100,100).
Put the mask into "Overlap" mode (the box below "None" and "Invert", and freehand draw a circle
around enough of the branches to grab all the hot spots. Feather the resulting mask by +2.

(4) On the masked Blend1 image, open the color correction tool, and use the dropper to click on a
spot where the sky is pretty. Select the central white point on the color correction tool, and
extend the arrow to where the pretty blue color is. Adjust to taste, but this should do a great job
of removing the hot spots. The resulting image is "Blend2".

(5) The Blend2 looks pretty good, but the top part of the pine branches has the dark blue-black
color from the original "Leaves" image, and does not blend well with the lower part of the pine
tree. To improve this, we will use color correction again, with a mask that selects the dark pine
branches. Make a shadow mask that covers the branches in the region of interest. Curve is (0,100),
(80,100), (80,0), (100,0). Put mask in overlap mode and freehand trace around the part of the
branches that are too dark and blue-black. Feather -1 or -2 (experiment).

(6) With the mask in (5), use color correction on Blend2, click with the eyedropper on brown
branches, click again on the dark black part of the branches (use magnify tool to locate a good
place to click),and move the blue-black color towards the brown color. The effect is too big, so
adjust the amount slider so that the effect is noticeable for the branches but does not bleead into
the sky too badly. The final result should look like the image above.

Canon EOS 20D
1/3s f/16.0 at 21.0mm iso100 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original
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