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Photoshop 5.5 to edit photos
Anyways, I took some landscape pictures a few days ago and in several I captured the light rays shining through the clouds with some decent quality. I'm shooting with a tripod and Canon Powershot S80, nothing special but adequate in my opinion. 

I have Photoshop 5.5, any tips to bring out the light rays or even just general tips to getting the most out of my landscape photos? I can post the untouched/slightly worked picture if this is too general... 


You can see that I've dragged a single point down slightly, to change the curve from a straight line to a curved line. This has the effect of darkening everything, but especially the darker mid-tones. If I had dragged an upper-right part of the curve down, I'd be darkening the highlights. Graphically, the X-axis is "input" and the Y-axis is "output", referring to the starting and end brightness values of all the tones in the image. So a straight line cutting from lower to upper corners means "do nothing" - Y=X for all points on the curve. You can do curves adjustments for the total brightness, or the colour channels individually (e.g. red, green, and blue for an RGB image, selected from the "Channel" drop down menu that says RGB in this particular image). 

Edit photo by brightness in Photoshop

I had added a bunch of points to the curve to get brightness of different things just right, but you could do a similar thing by just dragging a single point near the middle upwards. 

The "S-shaped" curve to boost contrast is, well, S-shaped. As I mentioned, you drag a lower left part of the curve down a bit, and the upper right part up a bit, like the top part of this completely unrelated random graph I googled up: 


This will brighten the brighter parts, and darken the darker parts... which would increase contrast in things like light rays coming from the clouds, etc.

Unsharp Mask of Photoshop photo editor

Anyone using Photoshop or PS Elements had it happen where when you oopen the Unsharp Mask no part of the picture is visible in the preview window, even if you zoom way in or out - it is totally white?? Any ideas on fixes. This does not happen on all pictures, only some and can't see any reason why as other functions like Levels, Hue/Sat etc. work just fine.
Ah yes, but on the Photoshop Elements user forums, a couple of people told me I was trying to filter an adjustment layer. This should not be possible to do, but it is, at least to try to do, and that causes the preview to come out blank and the filter has no effect on the picture. When I click on the actual image layer then the filters work just fine. P/PE should block this, but I suppose it's possible there are some filters that work on some non-image layers?? Anyway, problem solved for now.

ms photo editor : Apply Artistic Effects
The artistic effects commands are located below the separator line on the Effects menu. 1. Select all or part of an image. 
2. On the Effects menu, click the effect you want to apply. 
3. Make any adjustments you want. 
4. Click Preview. 
5. Click Apply.

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