Balancing Shadows with Light at Dante's in Death Valley

These are 2 exposures - sunrise and the landscape itself at Dante’s. I shot both images with auto ISO. and blended in PS with a gradient and then reduced the “blue” in the shadows

EDIT 1 - @João_Ferrão, @Stephen_Stanton, @Lon_Overacker - thanks for your evaluations
Desaturated the darks mainly via TK7 Color cast 1 and added in some black
Removed the cloud to see if it makes ant diff - it does imo

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Still too blue ?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
Shot at 200 mm, F8, ISO 800 - 1 stop apart

If you would like your image to be eligible for a feature on the NPN Instagram (@NaturePhotoNet), add the tag ‘ig’ and leave your Instagram username below.
1 Like

Karl, I like the silhouette ridges and what a crazy hot sky. There is a nice balance throughout the image. The saturation is more than I usually like these days but everything is in sync…I don’t think you’d be able to de-saturate the ridges without doing the sky. I am partial to blues so the color and the gradient work for me. Very nice image.

1 Like


This is quite striking! I pretty much agree with Stephen’s comments. It’s interesting too. I find the blue ridges to be heavy on the contrast and saturation - yet, the sky seems quite believable. I don’t think you can take away any more from the layered ridges without throwing off the balance with the sky.

I suppose if you could reduce the blues further in the shadows without altering the contrast, that could work.

Funny, like with many images, this one looks more true the more I view it. The only thing missing is that I wasn’t there to have a reference.


Hi @Karl_Zuzarte

Such a gorgeous sunrise, the layers formed by the hills are a eye candy. The blues work great with that warm sky creating a great complementary colour palette.
I agree with the comments above, the blue it’s a bit (almost nothing) to punchy and saturated (IMO) it creates a very striking image and it’s nothing wrong with it, it’s your vision of the moment but I would try to reduce the blue saturation, maybe purple using a colour layer mask.
Also I would try to raise the exposure of that cloud to make it less contrasting and distracting, maybe it will look weird, my no arm in trying :wink:
Still, as it is it’s a beautiful image, and I bet it was a very good start of a day.

Great work removing the cloud, for me it creates a more clean “sky layer” and a more balanced image, gorgeous edit and amazing work.

1 Like

Very nice, Karl, the de-saturated version is a little easier on my eyes and I would agree that without the cloud the sky has a nice smooth flow. Exceptionally fine fine sunrise image from Death Valley.