Isn't it amazing how sometimes the image you are envisioning in your head doesn't always translate into the image you end up seeing on your computer screen when you go back to review your days shoot? You did everything correctly (or maybe you thought you did everything correctly) like, using your lens filters, custom white balance, reading your histogram to created a good exposure, and so on... Still, when you go back to review, something went a little wrong and the image looks not quite like what you thought you created. This is where a little help in post can be your best friend. I know, I always preach "do it correctly in the field" and I never make these types of mistakes myself (yeah right, I've made more than my share for sure!), but with today's software you can very easily fix some of those so so images.
When I was at the Grand Canyon taking this image, I didn't have the classic colorful sunset and there was a little bit of haze in the air. I sat there for a few minutes hoping for something better, which I got by way of a nice beam of light when the sun came out from the clouds. The beam reached across the giant expanse highlighting the tips of the canyon wall. I used a Graduated Neutral Density Filter to balance out the highlights in the sky with the shadows of the canyon, to keep detail in both. After checking my histogram and making a few adjustments I started firing away. Unfortunately, the one thing I forgot to do is manual white balance, and I left the camera in AWB! At the time I wasn't too worried, I figured it would be pretty close. As you can see, it ended up turning out kind of green and kind of flat. I was disappointed to say the least, but not ready to give up on the image.
I knew with a little work in post, I could clean up the image and make it look a bit closer to what I saw. This is where Nik Software comes in, and within a few minutes and adjustments using Nik Vivezia 2 & Color Efex Pro 4 (Pro Contrast), I go from a flat off-color image to one with good color, contrast and depth. Using the software as a plug in for Photoshop, I first open it up in Vivezia 2, and make my contrast, color and saturation changes using the global corrections. Then I go in and fine tune all the little details with control points, bringing out the highlights and layers of the canyon's spires, contrast in the clouds and fine tuning the reds, yellows and blues throughout the image. Then next step I go into Color Efex Pro 4's Pro Contrast I make final color corrections and contrast corrections, resulting in the image below.
Image was shot using Tamron's SP 28-75mm F/2.8 Di Lens