Sand Dunes in Death Valley, Ca

Karl Edit 1 - Thanks @Bill_Chambers - I adjusted the sharpening ( and I agree with you ) as well as took out the Blue/Purple color cast ( thanks to @Ed_McGuirk )

Yes, another set of dunes -
E-2 - Per the recommendation of @Tony_Siciliano, I added back the real estate that was available - a quick re-do just to show what was on the top - needs touching up here
Also entertained the idea of @Igor_Doncov reducing the bottom some as it was perhaps a bit top heavy. But then an idea struck me
E-3 An image within this image! May even try this in Black and White

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I have gone through quite a few layers of processing. Looking to see what others see - anything. Something within perhaps ?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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A gorgeous scene, Karl. The ripples, variety of colors, curves and shadows make for a marvelous image. I’m not sure how I feel about the most distant area; the multiple smaller darker areas seem to compete with the mid-ground and FG. It also appears to be a bit oversharpened on my monitor. I played with it a bit. Obviously, I couldn’t unsharpen it any, but I blurred the image a wee bit to knock the edge off the sharpening, and I also blurred the BG area a bit more just to see if it helped to reduce the competition a little. That blurring may or may not help. I think this image a lot of potential with just a tiny bit of adjustment.

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Karl, this is really beautiful. I love the different colors and tones in these dunes, and the sweeping line through the image.

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I like the flow of your composition a lot Karl. The soft pastel colors are very pleasing to the eye.

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Karl, there is another color concept to consider here, a variation on split toning. I like what your color correction of removing blue did to warm up the highlights and midtones in the image. But I think restoring some coolness to the shadows would create some nice warm/cool contrast. I downloaded your rework, which has warm highlights, but then made a TK Darks 3 selection, and applied it to the PS Photo Filter - cooling filter. This has warm highlights and cooler shadows, which is in fact what you often see in nature.

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Both images work for me. Great capture.

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Another good point Ed - thanks


Marvelous image. I thought it was a bit top heavy but Bill’s rework has helped with that somewhat. Most of the ‘good stuff’ is in the upper half and there is not enough in the lower half. I prefer the colors in Ed’s rework but I like the other almost as much.

Thanks @Igor_Doncov

I agree that this is top heavy but left it this way because go the texture in the sand ( got carried away perhaps )
If I crop, it will become a pano-ish
In my redo - not posted i was able to get closer to Ed’s. Now the pano!

Wonderful image. I think it would be even better if there were more real estate on top, ie, the most distant part.

Hi Karl, hope you don’t mind if I throw in my two cents worth, and offer a slightly different take on your great image. I love the flow in the foreground heading into the more complex background. Tony’s suggestion for more of the background real estate is a good one.

I did a little re-work on the image. Dunes are such a wonderful subject and everyone has their own preferences. I like dunes warm, soft, and towards the darker side. I also prefer the shadows on the cool side as Ed suggests. I used the PS photo filter to warm it up, then in LR took the exposure down and the whites up to increase the contrast, then took Clarity down quite a bit to soften the ridges. Added a pinch of magenta to ease the highlight color slightly towards a warm faint yellow/orange. The split tone slider helped put a pinch of cool blue into the shadows. Back in PS I used TK’s Orton effect at around 50% opacity, then used Blend if to keep the effect mainly in the highlights. Put just a slight vignette to urge to viewer into the beautiful flowing lines in the center.

Hope you don’t mind the radical re-do, and my suggestions are purely personal and stylistic, and built upon the fine elements you captured with your image.

On second look this looks really doesn’t look that top heavy. I like this very much.

Thanks John for jumping on - love your artistic view . With the tools available these days, photographers are becoming more like painterly artists!

I really like what Ed did to this image and I like this rendition the best but I have to say that the redo from John is really interesting. It reminds me more of a mars landscape but I kind of like what he did. Totally artistic rendition but really nice.
This is a great dune capture with lots going on but keeps the eye looking through the scene with lots of visual interest.

I take back my “I think it would be even better with more real estate on top” comment. I was assuming there would be more of the white small dunes, but instead there is yet another different layer which really doesn’t work for me. So, I think your original crop was a wise move.

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After seeing how the image came out when posting to the forum, it seemed too saturated and the colors were not really as I intended. Certainly a result my own difficulty in editing appropriately for web presentation. So I re-tweaked it a bit. Adjusted some colors and contrasts, also added a touch of selective sharpening to the ridges. Here’s hoping it presents a little better online.

I guess this is mostly an unexpected benefit of the virus induced isolation, but definitely an enjoyable one, thanks to Karl’s nice dune shot. Any tips for preparing images for web presentation would be most welcome. I had to fix a minor issue with the file, hence the re-post.