My image of Rainbow Valley was taken with an Alpa TC, a 23mm Rodenstock Digaron lens and a Phase One IQ180 digital back. I positioned the camera very low and very close to the tumbleweed and took several frames at different focus points, so I can focus stack an image if necessary. However, I quite like the softness on the bluff in the background.
After applying some global adjustments to the colour, saturation and cropping, there were two main challenges to deal with and the first was easily solved. The bright sky needed to be balanced with the darker foreground, so I used a Local Adjustment in Capture One Pro 7 with the new Gradient Mask. This allowed me to darken the top of the frame and gradually reduce the effect towards the horizon line.
The second challenge was to allow the tumbleweed to stand out from the cracking mud below. Although the wood in the tumbleweed is partially bleached, it is nevertheless coated with dust and sand, much the same colour as the mud behind. It is well camouflaged.
I would like to avoid creating a very fine mask for the tumbleweed itself, but as you will see, this wasn't to be!
You can play the movie above by clicking on the arrow.