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How to create a peaceful landscape

Not every landscape photo is well-suited to the tranquil feel of this one. I look for strong lines, not too much detail, and water!

As usual, when it comes to manipulations done in Photoshop, I can’t really give you exact settings for filters and colors. Each photo is different, and you’ll have to do some experimenting with your own. Still, here’s basically what I did:

1. Open your image file and duplicate it.

2. Apply the smart blur filter to the entire shot. I used a fairly high radius and threshold on this one because I wanted the water and sky very blurred.

3. Apply a layer mask, and fill with a black to white gradient, bringing back the sharper edges of the land and dock.

4. Add a channel mixer adjustment layer. Check off monochrome, and adjust the sliders to give you a good looking black and white shot. I usually keep red very low or even on zero, and make blue and red add up to around 100.

5. Add a curves adjustment layer. Lower the highlights so that there are no harsh whites. Adjust the shadows as desired.

6. Merge all your layers to a new layer.

7. Change the mode to grayscale. Then change it to duotone. Load or create a duo- or quad-tone mixture that you like…maybe featuring sepia or selenium tones.

8. Return the work to RGB mode. Adjust the color balance to add yellow and red to the highlights and midtones if needed.

Copyright 2007 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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