Winter sunset

Same view as snow coatings-different day

Specific Feedback Requested

How can I darken just the bright sky on the right–without doing a lot of complicated steps!?

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No

Lovely scene, with the lovely hint of color in the sky, but there is a lot of noise, which has a strange, coarse look. Noise is something easily dealt with these days. If you are interested in addressing that aspect, give us some details about the capture and processing.

You could select the sky with the quick selection tool, hit Q to see the selection as a mask, and use a VERY large brush to let its feathered edge subtly brush away the selection on the left. Then darken the remaining selected sky with a Curves adjustment layer. You’ll undoubtedly catch some of the tree tops but the darkening will be subtle enough it probably won’t show. Some partial opacity cloning might also work but it can be tricky in a smooth sky.

Hi Kat,

It was a nice sunset/sunrise on this day. I agree with @Diane_Miller about the noise. To answer your question about bringing down the sky, this can easily be done with the ‘white’ slider in lightroom or camera raw. However I’d be inclined to add light and accentuate the light source from the sky.

Below is a quick rendition showing the direction I would take. To reduce the noise I used a combination of the noise slider in camera raw as well as negative texture and clarity.

Kat, it would help you to get answers if you could mention what software you use to process your images. A lot of folks here use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and there are multiple ways to accomplish darkening the sky, some easier than others. I also agree with @Diane_Miller about you providing more details about how the image was captured, phone vs. camera, jpeg vs. raw, etc.
What ISO was used here (often the reason for noise), did you shoot handheld and need to use a very high ISO ?

I like the view you have here, the trees and mountains create a nicely balanced composition. It’s the processing of the image that needs some work. I think the deeper shadows are too dark in the trees and mountains, I would like to see a slight bit more detail there. The shadows should be cool, because that’s how they look in real life. But these are a bit too cool for my personal taste, again just by a little bit. Personally I would darken the sky in the upper right corner, to get some of that pink color that likely attracted you in the first place…

The key to doing both the shadow lifting and the sky highlight darkening, is to make localized adjustments to specific areas or tonalities within the image. Lightroom with its tools for local adjustments such as the adjustment brush or radial filter easily allow you to target areas, and you can also use the luminance range mask to refine those adjustments to specific luminosity ranges (shadows, highlights, etc). If you use Lightroom, I can be more specific in how to do it, but it would help if you could first describe what software you use to convert/process your images.

Diane, I appreciate your suggested edits and realize that you need more details to be more specific. I have gotten into the habit of using my phone camera more than my nikkon D70. I often take photos with my phone–especially when it is very cold! Therefore my ability to adjust settings before shooting is minimal. I usually do edits using apple PHOTOS but I also have Affinity. I need to learn how to use it, but I get frustrated by the complexity of its editing options. Your comments and those of others are motivating me to dig into it. Thanks.

My apologies that I am unfamiliar with Apple Photos and Affinity. Maybe other members use those and can help more. If not, you might want to consider jumping into Lightroom or Photoshop. They do have a bit of a learning curve, but can be oh so rewarding if you put the effort in. Most of us here use one or both, which means if you have questions about either you will likely get a lot of helpful replies.

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Hi John,
Thanks for your input. I think I’ll stick with learning Affinity Photo now that I have started on it. They have lots of tutorials. Apparently, it was created in 2015 and is comparable but not as complete as Photoshop. I am looking forward to getting my editing and photos up a notch in quality, but am just doing it for fun.