As I am pretty sick today, and cruising some photography fora, I was reminded of a tip I read about a while ago. The tip consists of making selective zonal adjustments to make elements in the image pop. The article shows some amazing examples, such as the steaming trees which can be made from a fine image into an amazing one by a few very simple adjustments. Take a look at it and I am sure you'll think of some places to use it. For me, it caused me to revisit an older Rocky Mountain National Park photo where you see a tree backlit by the rising sun. I remember the whole tree having sort of a shrouded halo, which never materialized in the actual capture. On the left is the Lightroom original and on the left is the best Lightroom rendering obtained by increasing fill light to 32, the recovery to 10, and reducing the blacks to 3, and I cropped a little. No changes to white balance, clarity, vibrance or saturation. This made it a lot better than the original already, but still lacks pop.
Sort of OK but pretty boring, which is why I never really looked at it I guess. Only now, scouting for images that might benefit from this treatment did I come accross it. I took this image and in Photoshop, I selectively brightened the glare in the tree, while keeping the tree dark, darkened the sky selectively with another curves adjustment layer and played a little more with the foreground to make some sparkles in the snow and give some detail in the trees.
This is the result:
Much better. Note that this sort of treatment is very similar to how the program Lightzone operates, which can do zone masks for all its tools too. That looks like a very interesting program. I should try it sometimes.