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The Ruhr Area in Germany is known for mining. Although the last coal mines have closed, the remains will always be visible in the form of waste heaps. Often there is a monument at the top in memory of the past. Here at Halde Rheinpreu├čen near Moers there is a huge red miner's lamp. From the top there is a beautiful view over Duisburg and Oberhausen.

We are going to edit this photo in Lightroom.

Masking adjustments


What do we do?
1. The part from bottom to horizon is faded - the colors could use a boost
2. The clouds are omnipresent and deserve to be turned on a bit
3. The part on the horizon has a blue cast. We will correct this


Basic Start

We start this workflow in the Basic > Tone panel. Press the Auto button. The program fills in the starting values for you. For now, we are not changing anything in the values. We'll do that later in the edits with masks.


Mask1: Front Side

Now we are going to adjust the image in 3 mask operations. Click the Mask symbol at the bottom right of the histogram. In other words, just right above the top of the panel header Basic. Now the selection menu for the masks opens.

First we want to create a mask from the bottom to the horizon area. However, that choice is not there. But don't worry - we make this mask easy with a middle ground. Press the Sky button and after a few moments the sky will turn red to border the mask. Just below the mask selector, put a checkmark in front of the word Invert. Now everything but the sky is masked. In the meantime, a panel has appeared with an overview of the masks. We are now working in Mask1

Mask Panel

Set the Contrast slider to +20. You can see that the red disappears from the mask and that the contrast change only takes place in the mask area.
For Shadows, set the value to +95.
The histogram allows us to give the Whites a value of +30
We do nothing with the Color and Curve panels.
To get more shading in the foreground between the predominant yellow and green parts, we set in the Effect panel the Clarity to +20.


Now click the Edit button in the top left of the panel and the changes made to Mask1 will be saved.

Mask2: Sky

For the second mask, we're going to make the sky look nicer. In the original, blue predominates. We want to make the sky more contrasting, make cloud shadows look darker, and give the whites of the clouds a touch of yellow.

The step-by-step plan to make the mask now becomes a matter of repetition and getting used to. Click on the mask symbol. Because a mask has already been created, the mask overview becomes decisive. Click Create New Mask and choose again Select Sky. But no conversion this time.

In the Tone panel, set the Contrast to +20.
By setting the Highlights to -90, the white in the clouds gets more accent
We give the white in the clouds a touch of yellow in the Color panel by setting the Temp slider to +20. And we close with a little more drama in the air in the Effects panel. Open the Brightness slider to +80. The sky now has much more character!


Now we click the Edit button again to save the changes in Mask 2.

Mask3: Horizon

We are now going to make sure that the part against the horizon stands out better. We do this by correcting the blue cast and making the buildings stand out more clearly. We do that again with a mask - this time with the Radial Gradient.

The method should now be known. Open the Mask panel by pressing the Mask button. Then click on Create New Mask and then choose the Radial Gradient.
When the mouse moves over the image, a + symbol appears instead of the normal cursor. In the horizon area, move the mouse to the center just below the building with the large roof. Click left and hold down that mouse button. Move the mouse all the way to the right far outside the image and then down a little until you reach the group of white buildings. Release the mouse button here. You will now see an ellipse-like area selected with a red color.

Radial Gradient

At the top right, set the Feather is set to 30 - if it's not automatically configured. That's the measure in which the changes we're going to make will fade to the edge of the radial selection.
In the Tone panel set the Whites to +35. Then in the Color panel set the Temp slider to +20 to convert the blue to a yellow effect. Then in the Effects panel the Texture button works wonders at +75. The area has now become much clearer.


Now click the Edit button to save the changes in Mask 3.

Finishing in panel Detail

Now it is time to finish the processing. We go to the Detail panel to sharpen the photo. Noise reduction is also included in this section.

Noise Reduction and Sharpening

And what do we see? Grains can be seen in the visible magnification. Despite the ISO value of 100, there is noise. We fix this in the Noise Reduction section with the Luminance slider. Increase the luminance to 25.
Finally, we will sharpen the image. You can keep the suggested default values. Only you set the Masking slider to value 75.

And then this is the result of the workflow Overviewing the Ruhr Area.

Final result


What we did is in a short summary:

  • Auto adjustments in the Basic panel
  • 3 mask operations
  • Finetuning in the Detail panel

Hope you enjoyed this session!



The capture was made with a DJI Mini 2 drone. About the composition: The miner's lamp raises just above the horizon to emphasize its presence. And the lamp is not centered, but positioned at a third.
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