I am always on the lookout for ideas to aid me in improving the presentation of my photography. One of the problems I've encountered is an inability to truly represent the range of tones in some image.
Case in point - This is the Colorado 145 just south of Telluride, mid-October 2007. I took the San Juan Skyway Scenic Highway from Durango north to Silverton and then around back south headed for Cortez. It was a blustery, dark cloudy day, without much scenery because of the thick storm clouds .. until I hit this stretch of highway. The sun broke through and the aspens burst into glorious gold.
I've never been able to do justice to what I saw. Everything I ever tried with the image resulted in a dull lifeless image. I either couldn't get the brilliant gold foliage or I couldn't get the brooding cloud cover shrouding the mountains.
Until I found a tutorial on Luminosity Masking by Tony Kuyper.
Luminosity masks are a series of Photoshop actions Tony came up. Luminosity masks are self feathering and make the kind of selective adjustments I was looking for in this image possible.
The image above has two masks applied to curves adjustments layers - one for the highlights, and one for the shadows following the instructions Tony gave for creating the Luminosity Masks.
I won't go into details, you should see Tony's tutorials for yourself.