I love the colors in this photostream on Flickr, especially this photo and this one. How can I get colors like this in my photos? Is this done with post processing? Good luck? The lighting looks like either early morning or sunset (ie. the golden hour).
There are a number of techniques employed to get the look of the examples you posted.
- I think you're correct about the lighting, these pictures were taken with the optimal lighting for their location.
- The contrast was enhanced. This might be an automatic process as suggested by che, or it may be done by selecting areas of the image and enhancing the contrast directly. The sky in the second example looks like it might have been enhanced more than the rest of the picture.
- The saturation has been greatly increased to make the colors pop.
- The sharpness has been enhanced, probably with an unsharp mask filter. This is very easily seen in a crop of the mountain profile in the second example. Notice how the edge has an unnaturally bright and dark line along the edge, this is what you get when sharpening is taken to an extreme.
Yes, it's mostly post-processing. The images have very high contrast, which also makes the colors more vivid.
You can also increase the saturation to get more vivid colors without getting too high contrast.
Your reflection on the lighting is probably correct; the images should have reasonably high contrast and color to start with, or they will look too unnatural if you force the contrast or saturation that high.
To the right I have increased the contrast quite a bit, and also the saturation somewhat:
You can get close to this kind of look by enhancing local contrast. This works a bit similar to HDR tone mapping, and can be archieved by using unsharp mask filters with high blur radius.
This example was a bit overdone so you can see how easily this can go wrong. Usually you'll get nicer looking results by using just a small amount of this, and perhaps using curves in more layers and then combining them manually if you have really high-contrast image.
Some of these effects can be achieved in camera using a polarizing filter. The images you indicate are likely popped in post processing, but if you haven't tried a polarizing filter out, you might be surprised at home much it affects color.
I'd say those photos you linked to were HDR's for sure -- given the tonal range between the land and the sky. Additionally the first one with the flowing water was done with an ND filter to slow down the light coming into the lens, resulting in a longer exposure time. Very nice photos though :-)