How to rescue blown highlights – steps 10-18
10 Select the rocks
Choose the Freehand selection tool from the Tools palette. Set Feather to 40 to give the selection a soft edge. This will help blend the edited pixels with their unedited neighbours when we change the contrast. Draw a selection around the flat foreground rocks as shown above.
11 Adjust the mid-tone contrast
Select Enhance>Adjust Lighting>Shadows/Highlights. Now set Lighten Shadows to 18% and Midtone Contrast to 100%. This contrast change reveals more of the rocky texture. Next, click OK to apply the tonal changes, before pressing Ctrl+D to clear the selection.
12 Reveal delicate textures
The contrast of the ocean is a little flat as well. To bring out the sea’s textures, select the area with the Magnetic lasso and add a Levels adjustment layer. Set the black slider to 39 to darken the shadows, and set the white slider to 216 to brighten the crashing foam.
13 Enhance the obelisk
The distant obelisk is in the centre of the frame, but it could stand out more. Click the Background copy thumbnail and choose the Burn tool from the Tools palette. Choose a soft round tip. Set the Size to 70 pixels, the Range to Midtones, and the Exposure to 11%. Spray the obelisk to darken it a little.
14 Adjust the colours
To make the grass stand out and add a little more colour to the image, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Set the drop-down menu to Yellows and then boost the saturation to +26. This makes the grass look more green and lush, adding colour variety to the image.
15 Create a new layer
To introduce a subtle hint of drama to the shot we can darken the corners of the frame with a vignette. This helps make the sky look more menacing, which enhances the atmosphere in our landscape. Create a new layer and drag it over to the top of the layer stack.
16 Set the gradient options
Press D to set the foreground and background colours to default black and white. Choose the Gradient tool and click the Edit button in the Options bar. Choose the default Foreground to Background preset and click OK. Tick the Radial Gradient icon on the Options bar and tick the Reverse box.
17 Draw a gradient
Set the Magnification box at the bottom left of the window to 15%. This increases the amount of space around the image. Now draw a gradient outwards from the centre of the shot into one of the corners of the frame, before setting Layer 1’s blending mode to Multiply.
18 Fine-tune the vignette
Reduce Layer 1’s Opacity to 65% for a more subtle vignette effect. The white parts of the gradient become transparent, while the grey areas darken the shot towards the edges. Paint on Layer 1 with a soft white brush to restore the centre of the image to full brightness.
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