Big Red + rework

I just love this mountain at near sunset. I make special trips to photograph it. I’ve photographed it with both the Canon and the Nikon but this Fujifilm sensor has done the best job with colors. The difficulty comes with presentation. On this day I found a dead cholla skeleton (which are great for gardens, btw) and used it for the classic foreground-to-background Muench composition.

When I took this image I thought it had potential to be a decent one. I exposed it to the right and when I finally got it to the computer I was greatly disappointed. The shadows looked like a dark mess. So I ignored it for a year. Last night I was going to remove it completely off the disk but decided to ‘play around’ a bit. Lo and behold the GFX sensor has a remarkable ability to recover shadows without losing information.

The trick often is to raise shadows to the point where it looks believably in shadow and yet still has good detail to be of interest. I raised all the shadows below the mountain and then raised the shadows further in the dead cactus. There is a magenta color to the cactus which I thought should stay because you would expect that at that time of day. Do you agree?

There is one small issue that I see now pertaining to the blue color. Do you see it? I’m too lazy to fix now as I’ve enough time into this already.

GFX50R, 32-64mm@32mm



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I love that 50S/50R sensor. Kinda wished I had kept my 50S instead of getting the GFX 100. But I love that camera too.I see a dust bunny, dirt spot just to the right of the tallest cactus/cholla…is that what you were referring to?

As for the composition, this is sensational. Great choice for the foreground. And overall, the colors look just fine to me.

Yes I see it. Is that due to dust? Should be an easy fix. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

The photo has a wonderful solid confidence about it, Igor, at least for me. All of the elements have a sturdy survival feel. The colors support the feel of the scene, and are gorgeous. As for the “blue area,” are you referring to the junction of the “y” on the dead cactus? Why do you suppose that happened?

Nice. That dead cholla is quite interesting. It’s magenta tinge does look ok in this context. As far as the blue issue, I see some weirdness in the background (behind the cacti), some bluish and purplish areas.

I was referring to the distant hills behind the cactus on the far right near the border. They’re close to the sky. I did some sky work by globally working all the blues and then erasing everything but the sky. There some spots of blue throughout the shadow areas so that was easy enough. But I didn’t see those distant mountains on the right where things got out of hand. It should have been erased as well. This is actually a common mistake for me because distant mountains almost always have some blue in them. Easy fix.

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Beautiful foreground subject Igor. The tinge of magenta in the cholla doesn’t bother me at all. I really like the variety of desert flora as well. The tall cactus in the middle is interesting and also slightly mimics the shape of big red. The pastel sky is nicely muted. There is a band of almost colorless sky just above the horizon that looks like clouds but I’m not sure these are actually clouds or if it might be processing. I do see the Blue you are talking about but like you said that should be an easy fix. There is some purple on the left side of the mountain at the very base and again that same purple on Big Red just under the shadow in the center of the mountain. I think those could easily be taken care of as well. Overall, this is a really tremendous desert scape with a huge cholla inviting the viewer in. I spent the day in Joshua Tree yesterday and I can’t tell you how hard this type of scene is to for me to create. Well done.

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I have always liked Jack Dykinga’s simple compositions from there. That’s what I would try on my next trip to JT.

Thanks for the help Igor. I’ll try that.

I love the composition you got here.
That clear mountain top and the blue Sky really work together.
That Blue cast on the mountain side should be an easy fix.

Really nice one

@David_Bostock, @linda_mellor, @joaoquintela, @Bonnie_Lampley, @David_Haynes

Thank you for your comments. I made the corrections of blue near the skyline. I also dodged a couple of branches of the dead cholla. For some reason it feels as though there is too much sky but when I crop some off it feels wrong. I’ve concluded that the sky is a big part of meaning in this image.

That turned out to be a processing mistake made by the brush tool. Sometimes as I move the mouse across the screen the brush will fire and leave that distinct circle. Fixed it with a content-aware fill. Thanks for bringing it to my notice. BTW, that’s a cirio tree and not a cholla.

I guess I’ll post the rework next to the original and to save storage space will not post it here with the comment.