Hamakua Waterfalls

Rich Colors with Multiply Blend Mode

I get a chance to use my newest technique for making colors have a special depth. Lots of fun on a rainy day.

The RAW files used in this video are available here
Winding Road 1
Winding Road 2
Winding Road 3
Little Stream 1
Little Stream 2

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Hi everybody.

It's Harry with another Weekly Edit.

We got a whole bunch of rain this last week.

Some areas around us got 16 inches.

At our house, we only got about four, but closer to Hilo Town, they got over a foot of rain.

We waited a day for all the mud to come out of the rivers, and then went out shooting some of the waterfalls and rivers.

They were just gorgeous.

This is north of Hilo.

Let's see, where are we? Here's Hawai'i.

We live down here.

We're about as far toward the east as you can get in Hawai'i.

We are right here.

We went up through Hilo Town, and then up here to this Four Mile Scenic Drive along the Hamakua Coast.

We also went and saw some waterfalls up here.

That's what we're going to do today.

This is my friend and I.

We went shooting together.

My wife came with us and took some pictures of us.

This is Rainbow Falls, north of Hilo.

That's after doing a little processing with it.

This is us shooting over there at Rainbow Falls.

On the Hamakua Coast, going on that Four Mile Scenic Drive along the coast, there are all these old bridges.

They have the dates stamped into them.

It's really cool.

There's this beautiful fluorescent moss everywhere, like this.

It's so gorgeous.

And, these little rivers just go through.

It's really quiet there.

Not very many people: just gorgeous.

There are bamboo stands.

The light filters through them.

Well, anyway, let's look at a couple images.

We've got one here that I shot.

I did it in three shots that are three stops from each other, so I got an extra six stops of dynamic range.

The shadows are really dark, and the highlights are already blown out, so that's why I did three shots.

This one will control the highlights.

This one will bring out the detail in the shadows.

The idea here is to get these ready to convert into an HDR, and then to process the HDR as if it was our original RAW file.

Let's get started.

Let's control the tones a little bit.

We'll just use gross adjustments on the Exposure Control.

Our Black Point is way up here.

We'll just normalize our Black Point for each of our images, and our White Point if we can.

We don't want to bring in this big point here.

With anything after that point, the colors are going to be wrong because we'd have some pixels out of gamut in the Red, Green, or Blue Channel, but not in all three channels.

I want to leave this point along this edge of the Histogram, so I'll bring my Exposure back up a little bit.

Get that Point over there.

There we go.

Okay, so this is our bright one.

I'm going to correct for Demosaic-ing, Chromatic Aberrations, Lens Correction: things like that before I export it.

Maybe even a little Noise Reduction.

I'm not seeing a lot of noise in this shot.

Is my Sharpening off? Oh, the Sharpening is on.

Turn that off.

There we go; that looks better.

If we turn on our Chromatic Aberration Correction, what does that do for our blown out areas? Does that help at all? It seems like we're getting little dots in some of these areas with the Chromatic Aberration Control, and they're not there without it.

Boy, it's really subtle, but I don't see any improvement, so I'm leaving it off.

Demosaic-ing: now, this seems to be different for every image so I kind of check them out.

That's our Fast PPG, Amaze, and VNG.

The VNG gives a much softer image, doesn't it? But it makes these transition zones a lot softer, too.

I think we should go with VNG on this one.

I'm going to go for a kind of a soft look anyways, so I think that will be fine.

So, we've got some basic Exposure, we've got Demosaic-ing set.

Lens Correction: I've got a Lens Correction stored for my 24mm lens, which is what I shot this with.

There we go.

That all looks good to me.

I am going to apply those settings to the other two images, and then just go in and correct for exposure, and then export.

So, History Stack: Copy All over to these.

Paste All.

Go in and do a little control with the Exposure.

All right.

And the one before it.

Let's see: re-set our Exposure.

Our White Point and our Black Point.

We could probably bring our Black Point up a little bit.

At least that will make it so that the alignment software can find edges.

I don't want to mess with our Exposure.

We are looking really good.

I am going to leave that.

Now I'm going to Export these three as 16-bit TIFs.

16-bit TIF.

Leave my Sizes at zero, so it doesn't scale it at all.

I'm staying in Adobe RGB.

There we go.

Exporting now.

Our images are done exporting.

We're going to open a Command Window.

I'll do some alignment of these images.

Then I'll stack them.

I have a way that I've been doing HDRs recently so they come out with a real natural feel.

I've been working on the correct formula for a little while, trying to arrive at my own style.

I'm sure that you can use your own style.

You can use Luminance HDR; you can do a lot of HDR work right in the GIMP; also there's some rudimentary HDR functionality in Darktable itself.

I'm kind of partial to the Command Line method because I've been working with it for so long.

There are our images.

I'm going to use align_image_stack and tell it to sort the image into nine by nine grid, so there will be 81 areas.

It will use that information to determine how to align things the best: -g9 -m -f 24 -a a_*.tif , and I'm doing it for all my images While that's going, let's look up those options: man align_image_stack What we see here is our "g" says: break it into a rectangular grid, and we selected 9.

That gives me a little more granularity; I get a more accurate match than if I only did five by five, which is the default.

"m" says: optimize field of view for all images except the first.

So, this part about 'except the first' is important in some situations, but not this.

I'll explain in just a second.

What this does, is it basically says: crop the images so they all match.

Now, this part about 'except the first': when that makes a difference is if you're doing a focus stack.

Because as you change your focus, your image is going to magnify slightly, even if you're using the same focal length on your lens.

Whether it's a zoom or a prime, if you're at whatever, like 100mm and you focus near or far, your image is going to be a different size.

So, I always focus at the back of my image on macro work, and then work forward.

Then, when I use this command with '-m', the first one that it looks at is the one where it's focused at the back of the image.

That makes it the smallest one.

All the ones that come forward get cropped properly.

So, not super-important here, but it is super-important in focus stacking.

"f" just says: what's the horizontal field of view? I knew I shot with a 24mm lens, so that's what I put here.

The "-a" says: what prefix should I append when I'm done aligning them, and I just said to put an a_ so I can determine the difference between those and the original images.

And there we are.

So here are all our a_'s.

These are all our aligned versions of these.

Now, we're going to take our aligned versions, and I'm going to create three images with them Then I'm going to merge them together.

One of them is going to be a focus stack; one of them is going to be an HDR stack, and one of them is going to be the equivalent of an HDR stack, but based on the Chromacity.

I'm using Enfuse.

If you use the "-mp", it's by default the version that's compiled for multi-processors.

That's what you want.

Then "-o" says: what's my output file going to be? I'm going to call this one "focus.tif" because it's my focus stack.

So, what I'm telling it about exposure weight: I don't care about the exposure weight.

That's something I would care about if I was doing HDR.

Contrast weight I do care about, because this is a focus stack.

Lastly, saturation weight, which is like unto an HDR, but with the Color Channel instead of the Luminosity Channel.

I don't care about that in this particular one because this is my focus stack, so I'm setting that to zero also.

And the files it should use are those aligned ones.

That's why I appended the 'a_' It makes it easy to select them.

Now Enfuse will input all of these images, and then create one image for the focus.

We're going to re-run this.

We're going to run it for HDR, where we have the exposure weight set to 1 and these two set to zero.

Then, we're going to run it again for the Luma Channel.

I'll set these two to zero and I'll set my saturation to 1.

Then we'll blend them all together and see what we get.

Okay, our first one's done; let's do our second one.

This time we'll take the Exposure Weight and make it one and take our Contrast Weight and make it zero, and we'll call this one hdr.tif There we go.

Alright, our HDR is done, and now it's time to do the Luma version.

So, we're going to make our Saturation Weight be one.

There we go.

Our Exposure Weight: we'll set that one down to zero, and we'll call this one luma.tif Our Luma Channel is done now, and now we're going to average these images together: the focus, the hdr, and the luma channel.

I've got a personal formula I like to use.

It makes my images look like my images.

What I do is, I do two of the focus stacks and two of the HDR stacks and one of the Luma Channel stack, and then I average those together.

I'll call this my result, but I'm going to give it the name of the first file in the image so that it is easy to keep track of.

That will create this image here.

It will be our starting point in Darktable.

We'll treat that as if it was our RAW.

We're all done processing them.

Let's open them in Darktable and see what we've got.

We've got ten images here.

These last three are original images.

Here we are: one, two, three.


Then these are the ones that were aligned: a1, a2, and a0.

And this one is our focus stack.

Let's look at it.

Okay, this is with contrast weight=1, and this is the result that we got.

That's pretty nice.

And this is with the contrast=0, but with the exposure weight=1.

Well, it looks a little duller, but we don't have any blown out sections.

And then this last one is the Luma.

This is supposed to keep our colors in gamut by selecting from the three images.

Then we took our formula of two of the focus, two of the HDR, and one of the luma, and that's this image right here.

This is the one I want to work with.

The first thing we'll do is look at our noise level.

Boy, I don't see much.

This looks pretty good.

Well, who cares about noise? Let's see: what's the next thing we need to look at? What's our colors? What's our White Balance? Well, I know this area here I want to be brilliant, vibrant green.

So, that would be pretty good Green, and even more than 2:1 Yellow.

And this area here should be very Yellow.

And this area here, maybe a little more Green, a little less Yellow.

So, let's sample those three.

Those look like important areas.

Okay, so this one should be our Greenest, least Yellow.

We'll add that first.

Then, the next one.

I want this one to be rock-your-socks vibrant.

And this one should be overboard Yellow, because it's this bamboo, and that's more yellow.

Okay, what have we got here? That's a lot of Yellow already, and there also, and that's a real lot of Yellow.

So, we're looking for a 2:1 ratio.

On this part here, where I want it to be looking vibrant, that looks pretty good already.

That's more than 2:1 with Yellow:Green.

But, this over here is also more than 2:1.

I wanted it to be a little less Yellow, a little more Green.

I think what I want is a little more Green in the darks or a little less Yellow in the darks.

There are a couple ways I can do that.

One of them we'll try first is to use this Color Balance, and in the darker ones down here, turn down our Yellow a little bit: move it more towards the Blue.

Well, that certainly got us a lot closer to 2:1 here.

Let's go a little bit further.

Then let's look at our result and see what it looks like.

There we are: we're much closer to 2:1.

We're still way over 2:1 in our Midtones, which are up here at 69.

Let's look at before and after.

Before, and after.

I think that's more like what I was looking for.

Let's look at our Luminosity Channel and see if we're better with what we have here or if we should build that to get a little more separation between the trees and each other.

We'll go up here to our Lightness under the Channel Mixer and we'll take a Snapshot so we can compare.

First thing we'll do is bring up our Blue.

Usually the Blue doesn't look so good, but we'll see what it looks like.

And we'll bring up the Blue so it's about the same brightness, then go back and forth.

Well, it makes the road the same brightness but everything else dark, which is pretty much the opposite of what we want.

We want the road to get darker and everything else to stay the same.

I wonder if we use a negative amount of the Blue in our final formula, if that might actually help Let's look at our Green.

Okay, here's our Green Channel.

Usually you have to worry about the Green with a lot of foliage, because it can make you get kind of out of gamut.

Yeah, that's a little rough over here where it's brighter.

But, it doesn't look so bad where it's darker in here.

We could differentially apply that so the darker areas get more Green, and not necessarily mess with the brighter parts of the image.

Okay, let's look at Red.

The Red looks pretty natural.

It makes the Green awfully bright too, though.

I like that Red.

We'll use mostly the Green and the Red and make the Blue actually negative.

On the left is before, and on the right is after.

It makes this too bright in here.

Let's bring everything down a little bit.

We've got color shifting here; that's not good.

We won't mess with these brighter parts.

We'll use a Parametric Mask to limit that.

That looks better.

Now what have we got? The Greens are still a little bright, so I'll bring that down more.

Our road's getting a little bit darker; we're getting better shadows.

We're getting more separation in our elements here.

It's a little bright up here.

That's the Red.

I'll bring it down a little.

Good, the road darkened up.

I wanted it to.

That's more interesting.

Okay, I'm a little concerned because it's kind of harsh.

We've got negative Blue, and we've got a lot of differential on our Red and Green.

Instead of using the whole thing, I'm going to turn it down so it's just a partial change.

I don't like to make really big changes.

So, before and after.

Now, let's deal with some large-scale tonal issues, and then we'll start processing the image to add more artistic interpretation.

These areas here are dark, and this area here is pretty bright.

So is the street; the street's pretty bright.

I'm going to use a Lowpass Filter and change my Saturation to zero so I'm looking at just the Luminosity Channel, increase the size of my Radius a lot, so that I don't have details like individual trees, but just have general areas.

I can see what's bright and what isn't.

I'm going to take my Contrast and turn it negative, but I'm going to apply this with a Blend Mode of Overlay.

I'm going to use that to control my light and dark areas.

See, I've brightened this up, and I've toned this down.

Let's look at before and after.

This road here is just too bright; I need to darken it up.

I'll do that with a Tone Curve to get large-scale tonal changes.

We'll work on finer details later on.

I want to be efficient with my use of this.

That looks like the most-offending tone right there; I'll bring that down.

This just gives me a little more control.

That's a good starting point right there.

It looks a little bright off this side, right there.

I know the sun's coming from there, but it almost makes me squint to look at it.

I'm going to take care of that too.

This is not final stuff; this is just large problems that will magnify as we go on.

I'm going to use the Area.

It was hard to see what was going on there.

About like that.

Bring that down a little bit.

I like that better.

Now I want to boost the whole image in general.

Basically a Gamma Curve.

I want this area in here to pick up.

I'm using Area; that looks better.

That pushes my curve towards the middle, so that when I use my tonal adjustment tools, they'll have something to work with.

I can adjust my Black Point and the Gamma later on; I'm not actually worried about it while I'm processing the image.

I just want to separate items and then I'll adjust how dark or bright the image is when I'm all done.

That looks good.

It's time to export it and work on tonal changes.

Here we are.

It's been exported.

We're starting over again.

We don't have to worry about any changes that we make affecting what goes into the L Channel construction or anything else.

We're just starting with a new TIF here.

Nothing's been applied.

Let's make it so that we can see better.

Control-H get's rid of this header up here, which is nice.

We don't need to see that bar either.

That gives us a little more working room.

We'll make the image bigger by getting rid of that.

Now, we'll apply toning with the Lowpass Filter.

Take our Saturation down to zero.

A good starting point is 0.93 and 0.03 for Contrast and Brightness.

We can take our Radius and adjust that.

We ask, what do we want to see? I want to see these nice big trees here: their limbs.

This area is darker in here.

I like it to be kind of 3-dimensional; that's nice.

There's lightness at the end of the road.

I want that to show up like a destination.

We've got these larger limbs here, and the bamboo.

I want them to separate.

So, I'm looking for the Radius that will give me these overall effects.

If I make it smaller, I start getting detail.

I don't want to get lost in the detail, like these cross-branches.

So, I'll make it a little bigger to try and find some magic size.

If I don't find a magic size, I can break the image into sections and treat each one separately.

The first thing I will concentrate on is the road, the sides, and this large overhang of green here.

I'm going to go with a larger Radius to get those large concepts going there, and then work my way down to finer and finer details.

I'm going to apply this with the Soft Light.

I'm going to apply it uniformly and attenuate it with the Opacity.

There we go.

That's an awful lot, though: 69%.

I often get it to a point where it looks like I want, then back off a little, because if I'm going to apply Lowpass Filters and drive my data from my midtones toward my White and Black Points, then I can only do that so many times before I start clipping.

So, I can't let my Tone Control get all of my different shades of grey.

It gets some of them.

I'd love to crank this up to 78, but I won't have anything left to work with.

I'm already starting to get dark in my shadows, so I'm going to take it back down to around 50 Now I'm going to do it again with finer grain intention.

We'll start again with 0.93 and 0.03.

I want to get some of these trees in here to show up.

I like that level of fine.

I'll apply that and see what it looks like.

Here's with all of it, and there's with none of it.

Now I'll bring it up a little bit..

Think of this as increasing the Contrast, but in fuzzy areas, and it helps your mind see through the clutter.

Now we're starting to pick out these individual trees here.

These branches are starting to show up separately.

These bamboo look separate; they're starting to break away from the background.

We'll do that again.

Turn our Saturation down to zero.

Bring our Contrast and our Brightness up a little bit.

I like this bamboo separating, so I'm going to concentrate on that, and these leaves up here: concentrate on that.

I'm adjusting my Radius.

I think that's it: 13.77.

Soft Light, once again, and here I am with the Opacity, getting it right.

I like this up here.

Stuff is looking more 3-dimensional.

Now this bamboo is starting to stand out.

This looks horrible: it's just too bright; it's not appealing.

I'm going to darken this up, just in general, to deal with that problem area.

I'll make my Fade be nice and large so it looks kind of natural.

Let's bring down the most offending colors, like these purples and stuff.

That's better.

I really like these flowers here; I want to make them pop later.

This area is getting a little bit dark up here.

I'm liking this.

This looks nice.

The street still looks a little bright in general.

I want it to be brighter here, and darker here.

I can stand for it to be a little brighter here.

I'm going to use just a simple Graduated Density and take advantage of the fact that the right and the left sides of the image are separate.

I don't want it to brighten the road at all.

Now, when I bring this up, I want to be sure I don't bring up these brighter areas where the sky is, so let's figure out where they lie and exclude them.

It says the median is right about here, so we'll pin a point right about here.

That should make it safe.

Then, this area in here is the area I want to get brighter.

We'll bring that up a little.

I want more detail in my highlights and on these leaves.

Those are brighter.

I can do that with my Highpass Filter, applying it with Soft Light and a Parametric Mask based on the L Mask.

So, let's bring up our Sharpness and our Contrast Boost to give us the kind of detail that we want in these highlights.

We're seeing some shadows now; this is nice, instead of it just being solid green.

If we bring up our Contrast, that helps too.

Now, this looks cluttered.

Use the Parametric Mask, take our L Channel and bring it all the way up.

Then apply this with a Soft Light.

We can use our Opacity to attenuate it.

We can also use our Stop and End Points to attenuate it.

If I want more down here, I can take my Eyedropper and see where I'm at.

Where am I at here? I don't know why the Eyedropper isn't working.

Ah, here we go.

It's showing it up here; it's not showing it on the bottom scale.

Finally: 66.

Okay, so I can take this down to 66 instead of up here at 100.

That means that I'll be applying the maximum amount of this Soft Light, even to things that are this dark, instead of it has to be in the brightest.

If I want to exclude it from these really dark areas here, let's see what number we have for that.


Well, that's easy; I just bring this up past three.

Now it won't include those areas.

Okay, turn off our Eyedropper.

Here's before and after.

It looks a little heavy.

We need to bring this down quite a bit, especially in this area.

Over here, how does it look? It's a little heavy there too.

Let's bring that down to around half.

Good, I'm getting detail in the leaves and I'm not blowing out my sky.

I'm actually adding some detail in the highlights, especially in these leaves.

Before, and after.

Oh, those are beautiful; I like the effect.

Our crop is off.

The road: there's too much down here that we don't even need, so let's get rid of part of that.

Also, I like this rock, but I'm not really getting much out of this side of the image.

I'm going to do a little quick crop in here to help me out so that I can focus on the parts of the image that I'm interested in.

That feels better.

This big leaf is distracting.

I wonder if I can cover that up.

I'll see if I can include some of this log here.

That's a lot less distracting.


I need to get some more color in this image, in the parts of the image that aren't colorful.

I'll use a Tone Curve.

I'll take my A and B Channels and steepen them some.

I'll use a Parametric Mask based on the chromacity of the individual pixels to determine where the steeper effect occurs.

I'll take my sliders and turn them down until I start seeing parts of the image disappear.

That will tell me where I already have saturated colors.

There we are.

Take this slider all the way down to Unsaturated, so that the unsaturated pixels get the most, and the more saturated pixels get the least.

Let's see how that affects the image.

There's our before and there's our after.

That's an improvement.

I'm getting too much red down here though, so I'll take care of that right now.

This foreground area's been a challenge: too bright, too red, too bright again.

Take our Magenta.

Where are we on our chart? We're there.

Bring this down a little bit.

Okay, I'm going to save this and then work on it some more.

First, I'll further separate these big trees from the background, and I want this limb to really pop, and I want to do something with these flowers.

I want to make them a main subject in the image.

Okay: Lowpass Filter.

This time we're going to use an Overlay method to blend.

Take our Saturation down to zero.

We'll probably have to take our Contrast down a bit.

Bring our Radius up until we're looking right at these popping from the background, and these limbs being distinct.

Okay, if I bring it smaller, I start getting too much detail: see.

So, we'll bring it up.

That looks good to me: 21.6 pixels.

I'm going to adjust my Contrast and try to get what I want out of this.

Apply it with Overlay, and we're going to have to turn this down; it's too much.

It always is.

We'll bring it up a little bit with the Opacity Slider until it looks about right.


I want these to pop and I want these branches to pop more.


Well, it does a better job here and here than it does up here.

Things get a little dark up here when I do that.

I don't see how that's helping up there.

Can I exclude that and not have it look odd? We'll make it a little smaller, get our Blend Radius down so it doesn't include that limb, and reverse our Polarity so it's off.

Oh, that looks okay; that's not an odd transition.

Now, I want to get the edges of different things like these leaves and whatnot.

I'll do that with the Highpass.

Bring my Sharpness all the way down and bring my Contrast Boost down so I'm just gettng the edges I want.

I don't want all that crazy detail.

It makes the image look too cluttered.

I'll apply this with the Overlay also.

I have to bring that down a little bit: too much.

It looks like that's about right at 65.

I'm not getting fringing and I've got nice edges.

Oh, a little bit of fringing right here.

I'll bring it down some more.

Okay, that looks more natural.

Here is before and after.

Okay, color.

I want this to have rich color and be vibrant.

This area over here: I want to keep the brightness but I want more saturation, so I'll use some different techniques.

Over here I'm going to use a new thing I've been working on.

Let's see.

We want that about there.

So, here's the new thing.

I've been taking my Midpoint up a little bit and then bringing down my Darks a little bit, and applying this with a Blend Method including a Parametric Mask L Channel, so that the brighter parts of the image are getting more of the effect, and a Multiply.

Look what that does to the colors.

I can bring my Brightness up a little here.

And adjust this point.

Okay, before.

See how it looks kind of washed-out now? Oh, yeah; that's what I was looking for.

Over here I'm going to try a different effect.

I'm going to use a Subtract with the L Mask.

I'll use a Drawn Mask too.

We'll go like this, down to here, down to here.

We'll make that a little smaller, make my Blend a little bigger, and combine that with a Parametric Mask L Channel.

Change this to zero because it's going to look horrid at first, and we'll do a Subtract, and we'll slowly bring up our Opacity so our highlights get more saturated but don't become under-bright.

We don't want them to come down too much.

It's like we're exchanging brightness for color.

I like that; that looks good.

It's nice and rich.

We've recovered a lot of our highlights.

There's one area here that's bugging me, right in here.

I'll just adjust that area separately.

Maybe the Defringing Module would help in this one specific spot.

I'll try it.

I can use that same Drawn Mask I just used.

That was on this Tone Curve.

There it is.

Wow, that really cleaned that up a lot.

Before and after.

Let's see if the other methods of calculation give even better results.

That's nice.

Bring our Edge Detection Radius out even more.

That cleaned that up.

Zooming out, it's not perfect, but it looks better now.

I still think the road's too bright.

Tone Curve.

Drawn Mask.

Go along this edge.

I could combine this with a Parametric Mask to mostly get the road.

We want to avoid the green because we don't want to darken that.

Okay: Drawn and Parametric.

We'll use our Eyedropper.

I'll look at this area right here.

We'll use an Area.

This is where we're at.

And these rocks? They're in the same area.

So, we can't use the L Channel.

Let's look at the A Channel.

So we're coming in around three, and these rocks...? Oh, no; that doesn't help.

Okay, let's look at our C Channel.

Let's see, we're getting 20...21...and in here: 8.

Okay, maybe we can use the C Channel.

Turn on our Mask Indicator.

Bring this down a lot, down to 14.

Ah, there we are: it's our road.

We'll combine that with the Drawn Mask.

Let's get this corner a little better.

And a nice big Mask Blur.

Turn off our Indicators.

Try and be efficient about which parts we're bringing down.

Bring down the brightness.

Too much.

That looks believable.



Now, I want to bring up the Gamma on the image as a whole.

Maybe this green right here.

Take that and bring the whole thing up a little bit.

We'll bring our Black Point over a little bit so we've got some good solid blacks.

Before we get to the other image, I want to show you this new website that I've got going: Weekly Edit weeklyedit.com.

I've got my videos here.

It's a nice place to look at the videos instead of on YouTube because you can look at different topics like "clipped highlights" or "edge enhancement" Let's go to "contour shading." You click on "contour shading" and it shows you all the different times in my videos that I talked about contour shading.

Like, on "Sunset with Mauna Kea", and it specifically goes to that section and shows you only that part.

You can look at all these different examples.

It's really useful.

Another feature: if you go to the video that's associated with the blog post, like "Another Windward Sunrise," then over here on the side it shows you the order I went through different modules and different topics.

You can cut straight to the section you want.

There are RAW files for almost all of the videos.

You can download them.

There's a section here called "Edit my RAW" You can upload one of your own RAW files.

At the end of each week's video, I will edit a listener's RAW file as part of the video.

If yours is the file I pick to edit, I will send you one of my photos, signed and matted: a small print as a big thank-you for your contribution.

What else? There's "My Workflow" Here, you can see how I think about my images, and what order I do them in.

Back to editing.

Here we are with a shot of a creek on the same road.

You can see that I was right here when I took the shot, taking a picture up this creek on the Four Mile Scenic Drive on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai'i.

My wife took this shot of me while I took the picture we're going to edit.

I did this shot in two shots.

I wanted to catch the bubbles on the creek, but I wanted it to be bright enough that I could bring out my shadows.

When I do that, it's a long enough exposure that I lose the bubbles.

This time I'll use a focus stack, not an HDR stack.

I'll bring my shot which has a faster exposure -- see this is a fifth of a second -- and my other shot is a fortieth of a second, so it's eight times faster.

I'm going to bring it up to about the same brightness, and then I'll use focus stacking to combine the two.

We'll take a sample of this shot here.

How bright are we right here? 70.

And on this shot in the same area we are at 27.

We'll bring that up.

Here we are at 50.

I don't want to lose detail.

See, that would lose detail.

If I go just to this point, I'm not really losing detail, but I get color shifting.

Some of my pixels are going out of gamut before others.

That's actually losing information.

I have to get rid of this color shifting problem and keep going down until I don't have that.

That's about there.

That gets me to 65.

That's close; I can't go all the way up to as bright as the other one.

Now I can bring the other one down a little bit.

I want to match the tones so it doesn't look like it's patched together.

Alright: this one's at 68; that ones at 65; that's pretty close.

Let's see if Demosaic-ing makes any difference.

PPG? Amaze? Oh, that looks nicer, especially in the leaves.

VNG? Once again, VNG looks soft.

VNG always looks soft.

It's pretty nice in high-noise situations, though.

I'll go with the Amaze.

Chromatic Aberrations.

You know, my camera does Chromatic Aberrations.

Sometimes when I turn it on afterward, it actually makes the image worse.

We'll see if that happens here.

Yeah: up here it is.

Look, I get color shifting when I turn it on.

That's with it on, and that's with it off.

Okay, we won't use it.

Always check; don't just enable it.

So, I made those adjustments, and I'm going to copy them over here.

I won't copy the Tone Curve.

Now, I'll Export these two.

Make a new directory.

TIF 16-bit.

Our two images are exported now.

Here they are.

We'll do a really simple stack.

First, we'll align them: align_image_stack -g9 (a grid of 9 by 9) -f 24 (crop focal length 24) and output them as a_ with the original file name, and * (do all the files) So, that will take the two images and align them.

Then, we'll do a real simple focus stack with Enfuse.

The aligning is done.

Here's our Enfuse.

"-mp" for multi-processor.

"-o" (output) and we'll call this our focus -- no, we'll name it the name of our file_focus.tif There we go.

And --exposure-weight=0 --contrast-weight=1 --saturation-weight=0 And the files that we're going to use are the aligned versions a_* Alright, our image is done.

Let's look at it in Darktable.

You see that we have five images here.

These are the aligned images on top.

These are the originals here at the end, and our focus stack is right here.

Let's see how that came out.


Our bubbles came right over.

Everything fits in nicely.

There are no halos.

The transitions work well.

Okay, the first thing we need to do, is we've got a lot of data that's way off to the side here.

We don't really want to push this off our Histogram, this brighter stuff, so I'm going to use Global Tone Mapping to bring this detail toward the mid range.

I want to use this peak to the mid range too.

I want to use my Tone Shading tools to the best of their advantage.

I want as much data to be towards this mid point as I can.

Let's look at our Global Tone Map.

If we just turn this on, you can see that it pushes a lot of data toward the middle.

Here we go: off; on.

The stuff that was too dark comes in.

This stuff up here goes toward the middle a little.

I think we're losing a little of this highlight though.

It looks like it's compressing it, so I don't think we're losing too much.

You want to use your Bias and Target to get this mid-point over toward the middle, then use the Detail to set our Black Point.

So I'm going to use a combination of these two sliders.

I'm looking at the Histogram, really, because I'm going to worry about the aesthetics of the image later.

I'm just trying to get my data to the mid point.

I'll use these two sliders.

If I move this one too far to the right, my Target, then I start clipping.

I don't want to do that.

I can move my Bias over like that.

And my Target a little bit-- It seems like if I set up a Parametric Mask and don't apply the Global Tone Mapping to these brighter parts of the image we'll be better off.

Parametric Mask.

Take these brighter parts and pull that back.

There we go.

We're getting that data back.

Before and after.

We're doing okay with our highlights too.

I think that blended well.

Let's see what our Mask Indicator shows.

It shows everything but the brightest highlights getting it.

Let's come down a little bit more.


This is unusual, isn't it? I don't think I can actually exclude any region.

I can only attenuate it.

We'll go like this.

That works.

It looks like we need some Keystone correction.

The trees are tilted in here and here.

Under Crop and Rotate, we go to Keystone and Vertical.

I'm going to set these lines so that they match the tree.

They go up and down the same as the tree now, and this side too.

Then I'll click Okay, and let's see what we've got .

That looks better.

I'll bring this up a little bit.

There we go.

I can bring that down.

Let's see what that looks like.

I'm starting to like this.

I think I can push the Gamma a little bit.

What I want to do is increase The Gamma across the image, and I don't want to lose detail in the bubbles.

Let's look at the bubbles.

And let's get our Gamma up a little bit.

We start losing detail on the bubbles.

So, I want to exclude the bubbles from increasing the Gamma.

I can use Parametric Mask and use my little Eyedropper Tool here with Area, and let's look at some of the water and try to figure out what's different between the water and the surrounding area.

Here's our Luminosity band.

We'll limit ourselves to that band.

And that could be a starting point.

Well, that's a pretty good starting point.

Let's see: some of the ferns that are brighter are showing up.

But I bet they have a different amount of color.

Let's get rid of the things that have a lot of color.

That's nice.

Then I can use a Drawn Mask to limit myself to these areas.

Give myself a Mask Blur here.

Right now we've got our Mask here.

We want every place that isn't this, because we're increasing the Gamma, and we didn't want to increase it and lose the detail in the bubbles.

Right now we are set to Combine Masks as Exclusive and I'm going to change this to Exclusive and Inverted.

So, it stays exclusive, but we've added Inverted.

Now everything is what we want.

We'll keep our earlier version of this area, and we may have to change our Mask Blur.

This is what a higher value and a lower value looks like.

Now, we're changing our Gamma and we're not changing the water.

That seems to be working pretty well.


Look, I got all this back here.

We can see everything.

We've got detail in the water.

It looks horrific, but we're going to work on all that after we get our tones set up.

First thing I'll do is add more color before we move on.

I'll steepen my A and B Channels and apply them differentially to the image based on the Chromacity Mask.

Now it won't apply this increase in Tonal Contrast in the A and B Channels to any of these areas that are white, and it will now apply it most to the areas that have the least color differentially.

Turn off my Mask Indicator and see what this looks like.

Before and after.

That looks nice, but it's pretty yellow.

I'll bring down the Yellow part of it.

Now it's more of the Green, Blue, and Red.


Let's meet halfway.

That's just a starting point.

Now we apply some nice tones.

This is the fun part.

Turn our Saturation down.

Get our Radius right so we get some of that tonal magic.

Pick out some nice details.

These trees look good.

I like these ferns.

We've got some nice tones on this log.

Without it, and all of it.

Let's find some happy medium.

I like that at 45%.

I'm going to do the same thing again.

I'm bringing out some of the relief in this log and getting more detail on these other parts and the ripples in the water.

That came in right around 12.

Once again with Soft Light.

That's starting to look nice: more 3-dimensional.

Some of the finer details in the ferns and stuff are pretty bright.

I'll use the Highpass Filter to bring those out.

We'll bring the Sharpness way up.

See how we're getting these fluctuations now? That's the part I want to include.


No: too much.

Right about there; that looks good.

The trick to this is using the L Mask to apply it.

Soft Light once again.

Without it, and with it.

We'll go half way.

Right about there at 44%.

Without it, and with it.

Things are starting to sharpen up.

We'll go back here.

This is how far we've come.

Using the Lowpass Filters and the Highpass Filter.

On the right hand side is after our tonal adjustments and on the left hand side is without them.

No adjustments, and the image looks flat to me.

And this is with the adjustments, it looks more 3-dimensional, with an artistic shading element.

It's more engaging and appealing.

Let's do color.

I think the greens should pop and the reds should be nice and deep.

Let's look at those colors individually.

Like this kind of green right here.

Right there.

Okay, our Yellow and our Blue Channel.

We'll steepen this just a little bit and then we'll increase our Yellow.

I like this part more, but the rocks are more yellow too.

Let's figure out what color they are.

They're down here.

We'll take our B Channel in our LAB Color Model and pull that down a little.

That gives me more separation of my yellow tones.

This doesn't have the increase, but this area up here that I pulled up for the leaves is getting more yellow.

How about over here? That looks kind of blue.

I need to steepen this.

I'll bring this down a little.

Bring this over.

Then I can include some of this more.


Before and after.


I'm feeling better about the Greens.

How about the Reds? Well, it's right about there, and right about there.

I can't hit that with this tool.

I'll try Color Zones.

I'll use that and go right in here.

Where are we? We are right about here, it says.

I'll use that one over to the side to limit how much the curve moves.

Always bracket these little pulls.

Use my mouse wheel to make it real small.

Raise the saturation on that.


Before and after.

I want to raise the Saturation more on that.

That looks a lot better now.

Okay, we've got too much down here, so I'll apply this with a Drawn Gradient Fill.

Okay, before and now.

This looks a little ballistic in here.

Bring this down just a tiny bit.

That looks better.


Let's really, really deepen the colors on this.

I'll use a Parametric Mask on the L Channel.

Change this to Multiply and bring this down a little, and bring this up.

Obviously, we don't want 100%, but 0% looks pretty flat, so let's bring it up to see where we like it.

Oh, it looks pretty good there at 23%.

Hey, that's engaging: 37%.

Bring it down a little bit..

Okay, I'm going to go with 33%.

The whole thing looks a little tilted to me.

I know the water's even because I shot it with the level, but I've got to go with how it feels.

I don't know if there's much I can do, though, because I already adjusted the trees.

I'll try Keystoning the bottom with a Horizontal Keystone.

Instead of Vertical Keystone, which we did before, I'm going to put it on Full.

That maintains the Keystoning we had on top.

I'll take the bottom and stay in line with this line here so I don't change my Vertical Keystoning.

I'll bring it down and that will pull the bottom up, like that.

We'll see how that feels.

Well, it does feel like it tilted everything to the right a little, which is what I wanted, but it went a little more than I wanted.

I'll back off on that.

Go back to Full, and go halfway.

Let's see what that looks like.

That looks more natural.

I like it .

I still look good up here, and this and this are better.

Now, you want to do as few of those transformations as possible: Rotations, Keystoning, Lens Warping...

So, when you do them, do it all at once in one pass and then try not touch those kinds of transformations with later passes.

Now I'll save this, then I'll do some final separation of subjects and color enhancement.

Here we are again.

We are going to separate things from other things: I want these trees in the background and these things here, these plants to separate from this red.

I want these to separate from this background.

I just want more separation.

My favorite tool for that is the Lowpass Filter.

We'll bring our Saturation down to zero and bring our Contrast down a little.

Now I'll use my Radius to isolate things, like these big branches here, and these ferns.

We'll hit those first.

I'm going back and forth with my Radius, trying to find the best size.

It looks like, going back and forth, I like 19.24.

I'll mess with my Contrast a little, to give me more separation.

I don't want to take things too dark.

Now I use the Blend Method Overlay.

I'll turn down how much of this gets used with the Opacity.

So, there's zero, and there's full.

Somewhere in the middle will be best.

I like around there: 40%.

Before, and after.

It makes these ferns pop more; it makes this branch pop more; it makes this branch pop more.

Okay, before and after.

I still want to bring out more detail.

I'm going to do the same thing again.

I'll bring my Saturation down and my Contrast down a little.

This time I'll use a smaller Radius to pick up these details back here.

That looks good: 7.

So, I'm at almost 8 pixels.

I'll apply that with an Overlay.

Once again, use the Opacity.

I like that.

So, let's see, if I use more Contrast or less Contrast...

More Contrast; less Contrast.

Right around 0.75 looks good.

I actually want more color separation too, so I'll do something I don't often do.

I'm adding a little Saturation into my Overlay.

I'll crank this up a little, not much.

I'll go up to 0.1, maybe...

There we go: 0.16.

So, before and after.

Look, it richened everything up.

It made some of this stuff pop.

Let's do a Snapshot.

On the left hand side is going to be before the two Overlays, with the Gaussian Blurs to try and separate elements.

On the right will be after the two.

Well, that's a lot closer to what I'm looking for.

I want to increase my Contrast a little here in the middle, but it's already good out here.

I'll use a Drawn Mask with a nice soft Gradient.

What are my colors in there? I've got the lighter amounts.


Then I've got my darker colors here, so I want to bring those back down.


That's what I wanted.


Use the Highpass Filter with the Overlays.

Let's get in here and see what we've got.

We can bring this down to the point where we've just got these larger items.

That's still a lot of green in the rocks.

I'll bring the Contrast Boost down.

That gets rid of a lot of the green.

Not all of it.

I think I might have to live with it.


Overlay, and then we'll have to bring this down some.

That's with it, without...

Right about there.

Oh, we get to use quite a bit: 68%.

I think that works out.



Well, that certainly sharpens everything up.

This is starting to look fun up here now.

I don't feel like I have solid Blacks above this point.

Let's see what they look like.

Oh, that's pretty solid: that's a 2.

Well, don't trust your eyes.

Those look pretty solid to me.

That's a 6; that's even less solid.

Then, maybe I need to increase the separation between these nice solid blacks, which I'm not perceiving that way, and this fluorescent-y green here.

We'll keep our Blacks where they are.

Let's see where our Greens go.

Right in there.

Bring that up a little.

And, take this area right here, and bring that down a little.

I don't need that down here.

I want a little more color saturation up here; I want it to be a little darker.

I'll use the Subtract with the Parametric Mask.

Oh, this one is almost done.

So, Parametric Mask.

L Channel.

Add a Drawn Mask to it.

Just use it up here on top, like that.

Then, take our Opacity down to zero, Blend Mode to Subtract, and then we'll bring this up.

It should add color and darken things at the same time.

Quite a bit.


This is without it -- and we're looking up here.

This is where the effect's taking place.

I'm trying to knock down my highlights and add saturation.

And that's with it.

Looking better.

Okay, the image is looking pretty balanced in general.

I'd like for the viewer's attention to be focused on this plant right here.

And I want the water to be a little whiter.

I'll do those things and finish up.

Okay, and whiter water.

Alright: whiter water, less color.

We'll bring the color way down, and then we can attenuate the effect with the Opacity Slider.

Now it looks blue, doesn't it? Let's see what color it is.

It is yellow, not blue.

It's funny that it looks blue.

Here are my numbers, here.

My A Channel is almost white and my B Channel is still pretty yellow.

Alright, that's pretty close to zero and zero, especially for 80 on Luminance.

I could use a little more definition in this area also, to see the bubbles better, so I'll use the Highpass Filter just in these areas to bring that out.

Let's see: we were using a Parametric Mask with the brightest pixels.

There we are.


Then we'll combine that with the Drawn Mask.

We don't need to be very accurate about this, unlike the last operation.

Turn off our Indicators.

Let's get some bubble action going.

That's looking better.

Now we'll apply that with Soft Light and attenuate it.




That looks better.

Now we have whiter, more bubbly water.

We've separated our items.

Colors look pretty good.

I'm happy with that.

The foreground's a little bright right here, and that's it.

I feel like it's fighting with this area for attention, so I'll knock it down a little.

There we go.

Alright, everybody.

That was a lot of fun.

One thing I'd like to do here at the end is introduce you to an artist I like to follow, maybe somebody you haven't seen before.

I'd like to show you Gp Merfeld this time.

Here is the website: gpmerfeld.zenfolio.com He does limited-palette, soft, Hawaiian-oriented -- just deeply spiritual photos and post-processing.

It really brings it all together.

Let's look at some of his work.

I just love his work; it's really got an emotional element to it.

I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do: Gp Merfeld.Zenfolio.com Anyway, I'll see you all next week.

Please support me on Patreon.

www.patreon.com/weekly_edit Thank you!!!!

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