Forest roads in bright daylight, that’s a worst case scenario when we talk about extreme contrast. Everything dark is very dark and everything light is extremely bright. The Topaz plugins Topaz Adjust and Topaz Detail can really help you here to model contrast and to re-distribute the tones more evenly.
And still, this is a 19 layer job, no single plugin in the world can do it in one click. You have to have a vision of where you want to go with your image, what it is that you want to accentuate, and then you have to do it. Those Topaz plugins or Alien Skin’s Snap Art are only tools. I’ve used all of them in this image, and then some tricks of my own. In the end I got an image that satisfied me.
Is this image true to what I saw? Hell, no! Not at all, but it resembles the image that I originally set out to make. Nature could not provide me with what I was looking for.
Over the last months you have seen many images that utilized a certain tool set, and although some of these images look as if they had been made in the same way, there is really no canned effect. I use the tools that I have, at times I add a new one, some get used less often, but with every new image I am again on the road to find out. That’s why it’s art, not engineering 🙂