[Play Raw] Mountain scenery

Hi everyone,

here is my first post for you guys. I find myself on the very beginning of the world of photography and this forum, so please be free to give me any kind of suggestions, etc.

I took this picture on the Grünten, a mountain in the German Alps, with a Sony a6000.

_DSC1085.ARW (24.0 MB)


Welcom, @fwolny!

A quick edit with the latest Darktable dev version:

I recovered the highlights in Rawtherapee: Selected Neutral on the Processing Profiles section, switched on Highlights reconstruction and tweaked Highlight compression until it no longer showed clipping. Then I exported to a 32-bit tif file and opened this one in Darktable, the software I use to use for edits.

Then tweaked White Balance, exposure (avoiding clipping) and filmic:


I masked the sky, since it wasn’t working with filmic. I used a parametric mask and a gradient to completely mask the sky:

Then I used a tone curve to lift the foreground exposure:



_DSC1085.ARW.xmp (8.3 KB)
_DSC1085_01.ARW.xmp (8.9 KB)


Welcome to the Forum @fwolny!
Nice motive!

As for this photo, some remarks:

While taking pictures:

As far as possible, try to avoid photographing into the back light. If you do, try to adjust the exposure to the brightest part of the motive selection. Or look for a place where the brightest parts of the motive selection are hidden by an object in the background. Underexposed photos can still be saved, but with overexposed parts this becomes much more difficult because the necessary image information is missing.

While editing:

Here is the task of accentuating the main motif, so that the attention of the observer is drawn to that motif. This can be done by light, color or texture. In this example the main motive for me is the old, half rotten tree root, which is partly covered by moss and young green plants.
I have accordingly tried to enhance the subtle illumination of its immediate surroundings and to emphasize the green plants by saturation. Overexposed part of the sky I “cloned” from the other part of the sky with the help of retouch module :

I did that with darktable and how I did that, you can see in history stack from xmp file:

_DSC1085.ARW.xmp (15,3 KB)


I went deep into painting on this one.
Compressed the dynamic range in RT and then off to Gimp to dodge and burn and paint…


Wow1 That’s nice one @McCap! :+1:

1 Like

_DSC1085_01.ARW.xmp (18.0 KB)

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Welcome @fwolny to the forum! Very nice image. The composition is good with strong foreground interest. The picture is soft though. May be, you could have used smaller aperture (f/8 or f/11 instead of f/5.6), since the subject is static, you did not need 1/500sec shutter speed.
Here is my attempt with RawTherapee. I recovered the highlights. Then used LAB module to inject some color and brighten the shadows and then used the Wavelet module to sharpen and for final touch-up.
_DSC1085.jpg.out.pp3 (12.2 KB)

Here comes my version:

_DSC1085.ARW.xmp (9.9 KB)


@fwolny welcome! And thanks for this nice image… here is what I could achieve with PhotoFlow, making a combined use of dynamic range compression and filmic tonemapping, plus some local exposure adjustments and a selectove darkening of the sky:

_DSC1085.pfi (69.6 KB)

EDIT: I uploaded a bigger and sharper version…


@fwolny Welcome and thanks for sharing. Very nice for a beginner. :+1:

darktable (2.6.2): _DSC1085.ARW.xmp (7.4 KB)

darktable (2.6.2): _DSC1085.ARW.xmp (7.4 KB)


Wow, very nice outcomes and thanks for all the recommendations!

Agree with shreedhar, the image is too soft. Other than that it was quite a challenge to ligthen the trees/trunk and keep the sky as it was. Nice one.
msd you have done a good job. The image is a bit too sharp for my liking and the sky is quite dark which makes it a bit unnatural, but the colours are really nice and you did a great job at preserving the sky. Mine is burnt and I didn’t know what to do to avoid that. Anyway here is my take:

_DSC1085.ARW.xmp (21.9 KB)


Apply graduated density filter I did (Yoda speak! :wink:)

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I actually had one graduated density filter applied. The difference between me and @msd is that I had the base curve enabled, it is on by default for all images. @msd applied a highlight reconstruction to avoid the highlights being pinkish, then a -0.75ev exposure. That does the job quite nicely :slight_smile:

Actually highlight reconstruction is turned on by default but its default mode is clipping. To reconstruct highlights in which only one or two of the R- G- B-channels is/are saturated (usually G-channel for Bayer sensors, which is the reason why highlights are usually magenta), you should use highlight reconstruction iop in LCh mode. Then you can use exposure or any other iop which deals with tonal range to bring the reconstructed highlights to visual range.

Thanks for the explanation @msd, I never really played with highlight reconstruction, and never noticed it was enabled by default.
Quick note, iop means image operator, also called module in the Darktable interface (in case anybody is read this without knowing what it means, like me :slight_smile:).


Thanks for sharing the photo…I recall a video by Harry Durgin where he does a lot of work with High and Low pass filtering on the clouds in a sky…I think you could really work on the sky and bring it out …perhaps using some of Harry’s approach…just thought I would pass it along in case it is of any use to your or others… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0kjSvW93L0