Beautiful New Mexico Skies

When I moved to New Mexico, I was amazed by the wide open skies and views that extended more miles than I could fathom. Even after more than six years living here, I still don’t take these views for granted. Especially in the winter, when my work commutes are set to the backdrops of our beautiful sunrises and sunsets, I am awed.

The vibrant, constantly changingĀ colors, however, sometimes appear lackluster when captured on camera.


Here’s a shot from this afternoon. The colors of the sky and landscape look washed out by the strong midday sunlight. The fluffy white clouds blend in too well against the light blue sky.

Luckily, Adobe Lightroom offers a simple tool to restore the vibrancy of the colors. In the Develop module, I selected the HSL panel. HSL stands for hue, saturation, and luminosity. Hue alters the color. Saturation alters the vividness of a color. Luminosity alters the lightness or darkness of a color.

There are sliders in the HSL panel that can be used to change the values. I prefer to use the targeted adjustment tool marked here by the red arrow.

To change the HSL of a color:

1. Select Hue, Saturation, or Luminance in the menu.

2. Click on the targeted adjustment tool.

3. Click and hold the mouse button down on an area in the photograph you would like to adjust.

4. Move your mouse up and down to adjust the level of your selection. You will see the slider(s) of the color you selected move up and down and the changes on your photograph.

5. Release the button, then click done.

For my photograph, first I adjusted the saturation of the blue in my sky. I increased the saturation by 85 to make the blue more vibrant. Then, I decreased the luminosity of the blue by 10 to increase the contrast between the sky and the clouds a little more.

I really love how these adjustments gave the sky more depth. I also increased the saturation of the orange in the landscape to combat the washed-out effect of the strong sunlight. Here’s a side by side comparison of the before and after so you can really see the difference.

One caveat to using the targeted adjustment tool, the color changes made are global. Meaning similar colors anywhere in your picture will also be adjusted. Making adjustments to red, orange, and yellows might affect skin tones in portrait photography, so be sure to watch those areas.


2 Comments to “Beautiful New Mexico Skies”

  1. Lovely picture. Can’t wait to see more

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