The Quiraing, Skye, Lightroom and darktable

Thank you Bill for sharing your efforts! I like your first colour version very much, I think it is quite realistic. Concerning the sky my aim was to enhance contrast in the clouds a bit without overdoing it, it should have been still a little bit more. The truth about the saturation of the greens would probably be between both your colour versions.
In your b/w version, just as in St.Spephen’s, the contrast is a lot better in the sky than in mine. I have to study your xmps how you did it.
And basically all contributors have made a much better job at retouching the spots. I tried with the spot removal tool, you did it with the retouch module. Just by looking at it I don’t get any idea of how it works but the result makes it clear that I have to study the help for it.

2015-05-23 - 7865.DNG.xmp (16.4 KB)


Joachim –

Bruce Williams did a good YouTube video on the Retouch module:
Bruce WIlliams darktable episode 27 - Retouch Module

…It’s how I learned the Retouch module, anyway.

– Bill

Thought I’d try a different crop, partly because the edge of the mountains in the top right is so hard to deal with! Tried to do some fine tuning with a painted mask and exposure module but still not entirely happy. Good enough to share anyway I think, and thank you for sharing too.

2015-05-23 - 7865.DNG.xmp (107.9 KB)


Again RT for the basics and then some triple blurred gimp mask and some color temperature changes in Gimp.

I see that there are some problems in the sky-ground transition but …

1 Like

Firstly: Great photo! :+1:

I recently wrote a comment in another thread with some quick tips for using the retouch module (instead of spot removal) @

Excerpt of the important points:

  • shift-click on the image to set a source point (optional, but useful to avoid adjusting it later)

  • control-click on an icon in the retouch module to stay in that mode , so you can continually retouch the image (such as dealing with multiple dust spots in the same go)

  • use your scroll wheel to adjust the size ; hold down shift and scroll to adjust the feathering

  • you can turn on the highpass module to help identify dust spots in the sky more easily (and then turn off highpass when you’re done retouching) — this is useful if you’re not using wavelets (as you have other methods when using them)

  • right-click to remove source-destination pairs on the image (just like masks and other things on the image in darktable)

  • like most other modules, you can duplicate this one too (from the icon that looks like two overlapping rectangles in the header bar) — duplicating helps you use different modules for different targets on the image (such as one for sky, one for ground), so you can adjust each differently (such as with masking)

And I agree with @WmBrant that you should watch the retouch video from Bruce Williams for everything you’d want to know about the module (including the optional, but powerful, wavelets feature).


Quick and dirty edit that will now take me more time to write up.



RawTherapee to examine the image showed up softness and purple and green fringing. Correcting for CA did absolutely nothing and maybe due to the lens being used on a crop sensor camera.

Shift clicking with the magic wand to select the sky with aliasing on and then growing the selection by a pixel or two and then feathering by a pixel, but unless one wanted to spend hours on the join then they’ll be a halo. So my thoughts swing towards, where would the image end up? On a wall it could be quite pleasant with some depth, that’s a nice lot of lichen there…

A selection like this…

darken it down (about 650 pixels of feathering), invert the selection and sharpen so that on a wall the texture of the lichen covered rock stands out, then it goes soft then there’s a leading line to where I stole the figure from the other Skye image on this thread. Tiny little guy that eventually gets desaturated and his layer gets darkened but I still want the colour so that on the wall, the viewer gets drawn in to examine the depth of the image.

Then the right side wasn’t adding anything so crop it to square, put a graduated filter to tone down the top of the cliff and sky and put a black key line around it and envisage it against a white matt in a frame

1 Like

Stormy look with a crop to draw you into the crags.
darktable 3.2.1

2015-05-23 - 7865.DNG.xmp (14.7 KB)

My version, darktable 3.3

2015-05-23-7865.DNG.xmp (19.7 KB)

Hi @nodal, interesting ideas! Particularly the crop. True that it makes the image much more concentrated. Though I would shift a little to the right - if I wouldn’t leave exact 1:1 ratio. The only thing I would not do is adding the little red person. (And I think it’s too tall.)
Though I can’t relate some of the procedures you describe (e.g. darkening the first selection) to what I see I find the ideas for these subtle changes good and the result looks quite convincing.

Hi @MarcoNex, At first I thought: No, that’s too much and it simply looks wrong, this version makes a meadow out of a field of scree. But in a way it has it’s merits: It divides the image into clear zones, each one nearly monochrome. As a play with the available colours of the landscape not bad!

Nice shot, thanks for sharing it!
Here is my take with darktable 3.2.1

And the sidecar files: 2015-05-23 - 7865_01.DNG.xmp (144.9 KB) 2015-05-23 - 7865.DNG.xmp (138.8 KB)

1 Like

Just noticed the sky was too blueish on the second one, so here is another try:

2015-05-23 - 7865.DNG.xmp (139.3 KB)

1 Like


Here’s an experiment in color grading.

2015-05-23 - 7865_14.DNG.xmp (68.6 KB) dt3.3

Edit: some lighter tones haven’t come through in the jpeg.

Edit 2: Forgot to mention, I borrowed :wink: @MarcoNex’s retouch.

I’m astonished about the yellows you found! Looks very nice and as if it could have been this way, although it definitely wasn’t.

One way to do it is with colour balance; you have separate colour pickers for shadows, midtones and highlighs:

The corrective hue will be set exactly, but you may need to tweak (usually reduce) saturation.

Though, truth be told, even without that my sky did not look as blue as yours:

I thought I could not only manage contrast but also overall brightness in the filmic module

In filmic, you manage tone mapping, contrast and saturation. You manage overall brightness with exposure.
I’m attaching my XMP, though I’m on the latest development version, so I’m not sure it will work for you. I tried to approximate your original Lightroom image, but I did not get really close.
2015-05-23 - 7865.DNG.xmp (21.5 KB)

And two renderings, one with just filmic and colour balance, the other with ‘flat’ filmic (straight line in the filmic module, but the axes are not scaled linear) and a ‘Fuji Astia’ LUT (from @sacredbirdman - see Fujifilm X-H1 Astia HaldCLUT) applied on top of that.

I forgot to indicate it was processed with ART.

It’s an interpretation that doesn’t aim at realism.
I selected some zones of the meadows with “color similarity mask” (DeltaE mask) and when happy with selected zone, applied some dodging and a light yellow/orange cast to get nonetheless a kind of realistic color.
I also burned some zones with a brush mask.
Thanks for appreciation.

A regular take on it:

2015-05-23 - 7865_23.DNG.xmp (111.6 KB) dt3.3