Apple App Store Yosemite

I was wondering how one would go about getting the kind of definition in the trees you see in this photo from the Apple App Store, using a DSLR and Lightroom / Photoshop? It looks almost unnatural but still pleasing, each one stands out very nicely. Any idea how this was done?

  • Could you be more specific about what "high definitions" you refer to? I don't understand the question. Dec 9 '17 at 13:52

Nothing that I am aware of in the App Store. The way I get high resolution photos with my 12 megapixel camera is I rent a good lens somewhere in the 150 mm range and take a multi shot panorama and merge them in Lightroom. Canon did this on a massive scale by taking thousands of pictures of a cityscape and merging them. You could tell details from miles away. Any app would have to do something like that automatically and have a good enough lens.

  • 1
    It looks like the nice afternoon/sunset light and a particularly clear (read less hazey) day in the valley also contributed to the sharp trees.
    – OnBreak.
    Dec 8 '17 at 21:10
  • Ah yeah I meant with a DSLR, sorry. I was wondering if hey did anything in Lightroom to give them that look?
    – John
    Dec 8 '17 at 21:19
  • Do you think it’s an HDR shot?
    – John
    Dec 8 '17 at 21:20
  • Most likely not HDR. HDR basically squashes the dynamic range by taking over exposed shots and under exposed shots and taking the best of both into a single photo. This photo doesn’t look particularly sharp to me but I’m guessing the full res. Has far more detail. Pretty much all photos going out to be seen go through Lightroom first. Probably brought up the shadows in the trees a little. Waited for just the right time and scouted the location first. Most modern cameras with a good lens should be able to take a photo like this especially when stitching a panorama or a high res. camera
    – user76730
    Dec 8 '17 at 21:52
  • 1
    As I read the question, it's not asking for a solution from the Apple App Store — it's asking for a solution using Photoshop or Lightroom. The App Store is the source of this picture (presumably the app is the REI park guide).
    – mattdm
    Dec 9 '17 at 15:22

Any idea how this was done?

I wouldn't be surprised if the original was created using a digital scan back or film with a medium or large format camera. Or it may well have been created using a high resolution DSLR and a very good lens, most likely a prime lens. It's hard to say based on such a low resolution example. {It turns out the photographer seems to shoot with a Nikon D7000. Based on his photos at 500px, he prefers to use the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 D II, the Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, as well as a Nikon AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED and occasionally the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D.}

The camera was almost certainly mounted on a stable tripod. It's even possible that more than one exposure was made: either for bracketing exposure, for stitching panoramic shots, or for both.

Whatever the equipment used to capture it, the aperture selected was fairly narrow (which tends to minimize the differences between "better" and "cheaper" lenses), the lens was focused to ensure the foreground was the sharpest part of the image, and considerable post processing was done to control both overall and local contrast.

Images like this one do not usually come straight out of camera looking like this. The shadows and the areas directly illuminated by the sun don't have as large a difference in brightness or color temperature as what one will find in nature.

A fairly low resolution version of the original image can be found at the photographer's website here. Looking at other work by the same photographer, it seems to me that if he is not using multiple bracketed exposures to produce most of his photos, at the very least he is using local contrast adjustments/techniques such as the 'clarity' control in Lightroom to enhance the details in the image as well as squeeze a fairly wide dynamic range into an 8-bit jpeg output. Sharpening and local contrast are closely related.

Keep in mind that many of the most well done HDR images don't scream, "I'm an overcooked technicolor rainbow of vomit!" Rather, they present an image to the viewer that looks like how they might remember the scene as it was interpreted their eye/brain system rather than how the limited dynamic range of a camera might have actually recorded it shooting straight to jpeg.

  • 1
    I found the photographer and the original image. It was taken in 2016. It doesn't have any exif, but on 500px he claims he shoots with a Nikon D7000. Dec 9 '17 at 14:00
  • @AramHăvărneanu Can you post an answer with that.
    – mattdm
    Dec 9 '17 at 15:25
  • 2
    I don't think it answers the question. To be fair, I am pretty confused about what is the question exactly. Dec 9 '17 at 15:26

Also consider it might have been shot with a field camera on 4×5" Velvia chrome. Clumsy and expensive, but the level of detail still beats a full frame camera.


I'd guess the trees have benefitted from some high-pass filter.
Even at the low res version we can see in here, there's a certain snap, crackle, pop to them that just reminds me of it.

At the back of the tree-line is what may just be jpg artefact, or the edge of some masking to separate them from the mountain behind.

I had a quick go at the centre area & dialled in some more just to emphasise the effect.

enter image description here

To reproduce, quick Photoshop method..
Duplicate your layer.
Filters menu > Other > HighPass
Change the Layer type to Overlay & opacity to taste.

Same section untouched, for easier comparison - open in 2 new tabs & flick between.

enter image description here


It's really just based on a sharp image from a good lens. That's why some of those lenses cost 10x what the cheap one does for the same focal length.

In post processing, it could be a just a simple adjustment of clarity or sharpness. There's not enough of an "effect" to be able to determine what was done.

  • It had a certain surrealness to it, where it looks a little more real than real life. I’ve seen this in other photos too and it’s a really cool effect. Which kind of lens do you think? I’m a newbie with this stuff. Is a prime lens sharper?
    – John
    Dec 9 '17 at 13:49
  • Yes, as a rule a prime lens will be sharper than a zoom. Dec 10 '17 at 16:52

The colour of the trees and the lighting certainly make them stand out. Apart from that, I'm just seeing a good-quality picture, made on equipment with sufficient definition, contrast and resolution but nothing wildly special.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.