I managed to fix the image pretty quickly. I'm not sure where to go about uploading it though.
Basically, I used threshold to give me a mask that masked around the upper part of the building. Which I then selected by color to isolate the sky. Next, I took the eye dropper tool to select the sky near the trees and set the back ground to the sky near the top.
Taking those to points, I overlay a duplicated layer with a gradient. This was set to only darken. The results will then need to be touched up for contrast as they're largely lacking in contrast and look a bit muddy, but it's a fairly easy procedure. You won't have any detail in the sky, but if you really need that, you should have exposed for the highlight and bracketed for the shadows.
As for halos just try duplicating the layer and set the top layer to multiply instead of normal in the layers tab, Once done should be a decent little effect, try pressing up and down seeing which blend mode works well and make multiple duplicates with different blending modes. Then using the pen tool, or selection tool or just paint around the edges, make a mask and duplicate it when needed to make the sky levels different to the foreground. Should do the trick Once you have the blending you want then apply levels to each and tweak where needed.
You’ll never be able to do a decent job of masking tonal differences between the layers using a basic layer mask, even with a Wacom. You’re far better off using the advanced blending modes built into Photoshop (see my note to the OP below).
Just set 3 layers, change one to vivid, one to multiply and the bottom to normal. Instant improvement, I have a Wacom I do agree advanced blending will help but for a newb it's a quick improvement and a place to make a start.
Ugh. I’ve taught Photoshop before. Getting people to understand layer masks is tough enough. Asking them to wrap their brains around the concept of nested, intersecting layer masks usually involves much wailing, gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair. Most of that on my part. I usually like to go for the easiest solution first, which is why I like `FallisPhoto’s idea.
Masking isn't that tricky, but then again been chopping for about 9 years and doing and teaching are different so you're probably right.
Here is what I did, very brief very quick. 1)Duplicate the layer 3 times 2)Set 2 of those layers to colour burn mode on top of your duplicated normal mode layer 3)Merge the three duplicated layers. 4)Make a mask on that newly merged layer 5)Go into the channels option (next to the layers pallet) and select the blue layer hit CTRL+A To select all 6) CTRL+C to COPY IT 7) Go down to the blank alpha channel (from creating your mask) select it, hit CTRL+P to paste and then CTRL+I to invert. 8) All that is left to do is go back to the layers channel and there should be one completely masked out sky around a blackish building. 9)Drag the actual mask onto the original layer you opened with. and delete the duplicated layer 10)you should only be left with one layer the original layer with a perfect mask on it now. 11)Set a new background layer to a light grey to match the foggy sky 12)duplicate the newly masked new layer 3 times 13) set the top to multiply 14) set the middle to Soft light 15) leave the bottom in normal
your haloing should be gone and your foggy sky should be matte.
In theory but who needs theory when I have it here:
[link] 1 Minute masking job. This is what he wanted right?
That’s what I love so much about Photoshop – there are easily a dozen different ways to achieve the ends you’re after. I’ve been using it for over 17 years and I’m still learning new techniques all the time.
Maybe reflections in haze or fog? You might have some sort of outgassed substance deposited and trapped inside your lens too, although that is usually a problem that happens with older lenses, when the glass starts to turn milky (a film of oil, outgassed from the lens helical lubricant, causes this). The first solution to try would be to clean your lens (all elements that are not sealed). The next thing to try would be a polarizing lens filter, assuming you are using a camera that can take one. If that still doesn't work, I'd take the lens apart and clean it, again assuming this is not a point and shoot camera and it has a lens you can take apart without breaking it.
It is true of that, my sensor also needs cleaning could be the reason I am getting noise in night shots lately. I've owned the camera for two years. Just hadn't had the $$$ to do it. I wish I had the hand skill to do that I;m afraid I would break it.
I was afraid you might say that. I had a quick look at the full-size JPEG, and where the sun is glowing through the fog, the highlights are completely blown. You won’t be able to bring up any more detail in the foreground by using curves or levels adjustments without creating serious banding problems (the halos). You might still be able to bring some detail back though by very carefully using a couple of layer tricks. Try this: duplicate the base layer and change the layer mode to Overlay. It will blow even more of the sky out, but will strengthen the saturation and make the building a bit more visible. If it feels like you’ve lost too much of the sky to glare, you can double-click on the layer icon in the layers pallette to bring up the advanced blending options. At the bottom of that panel is a section called “Blend If:” with two sets of sliders underneath, one labelled “This Layer” and the other labelled “Underlying Layer”. Use the top slider, labelled “This Layer”. Grab the white handle on the right and drag it a little over to the left, to around 226. It’ll look odd at first, but here’s where Photoshop really shows its power. Hold down the Alt key (I’m assuming you’re using a PC) and click on that handle to break it into two handles. Continue dragging the left-most of the two white handles farther to the left, to about, say 166. That will blend the transition between the two layers so that you don’t get that hard line.
Now, duplicate that layer two more times. The brightest part of the sky won’t change, but it’ll get more saturated overall, with lots of detail in the midtones. It might even start to look like too much detail, but that can be fixed as well.
Change the top-most layer from Overlay to Multiply mode. Now it’s going to look way too dark, but the detail on the top of the building should really start to show up. Double-click on its layer icon, bringing up the layer blending dialogue again. This time, grab the black point on the “This Layer” slider and drag it over to about 77. Hold down the Alt key and click on it again to break it into two sliders. Drag the right-most slider a little farther over to the right to about 123. That should blend out the deepest part of the shadows as well as the brightest part of the highlights, while letting just the midtones have an effect on the underlying image. You’re still going to have a blown sky (unfortunately, there’s nothing much to be done about that except to add colour with a layer in Darken mode) but the rest of the scene should stand out quite a bit better. If you want, I can send you my working file so you can see how the layers work.
Thanks for the advice I will try that shortly and I appreciate your time greatly. I would like to see your file if possible. Hopefully it works because this issue has been like an Achilles heal for me. It seems like the one thing I have never been able to solve so far.
I'm uploading it to my dropbox folder now. I’ll send you a link to the file once it’s finished.
In general, shots like this with extreme backlighting and heavy light scatter are tricky to pull off well due to the high tonal range involved. I did something like that a few days ago on a snow-covered beach at about 9 am with the sun flaring directly into my camera, but because I shot in RAW and used a RAW processing program (Photoshop has a built-in RAW processor, but I prefer a dedicated application), I was able to hold detail throughout and keep the sky from going completely white. In future, I’d suggest switching over to RAW if you want to do this type of shot; you can always switch back to JPEG immediately afterwards.