06 Blurring the mask
I’ve used the Gaussian Blur filter again on this new layer mask, but this time I’ve pushed the radius value right up to its maximum of 250 pixels. This has produced the subtle shading effect I wanted.
07 Darkening the sky
This is my third and last adjustment layer. I’ve used the Freehand Lasso tool again to select the sky, then created a Levels adjustment layer to darken it. As before, I’ve got a hard selection edge, which is visible on the horizon over on the left hand side.
08 Softening the sky selection
So I’ve pushed the radius slider up to 128 pixels to soften the selection, and the selection edge is now almost invisible… though I think it might need a little more yet.
09 The finished picture
These localised adjustments have made the picture much ‘punchier’ and more visually interesting, and they didn’t need any fancy selection tools or special techniques. I’m always on the lookout for quick and simple ways of doing things because that leaves more time for photography!