I mentioned that I might do a before and after post and had some positive feedback on the idea so I thought I would give it a go. This is an image I took in Mt Aspiring National Park, it was taken on a Nikon D800E with a Nikkor 24-70mm F/2.8 lens at 70mm, specifically the exposure details were 1/200s @ f/11, ISO 100. The camera was on a tripod and I am pretty sure using mirror up mode (this is how I usually take my landscape images). This is the original image straight from camera – well only the normal RAW processing from Lightroom with no adjustments made.
In taking the image I had already decided that a square (or possible 5×4) image was the likely result and the initial crop was therefore straightforward. The main overall changes were to set a black and white point and to brighten the shadows just a little, a medium contrast tone curve was then applied along with a small amount of clarity.
The rest of the adjustments were local first I added two gradient adjustments, one from top to bottom and the other bottom to top, both reducing the exposure and highlights a little. I then used an elliptical adjustment tool centered on the peak at the rear to brighten and increase the contrast and clarity in this area only. A final light vignette was added to finish. I think the final image is a big improvement on the original without doing anything very drastic to the original.
The intention of these adjustments was to keep the viewers eye in the image and guide it to the peak coming through the clouds and to emphasise the layers in the image.