I just recently discovered the sponge tool in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Why I hadn't used it before[...] is beyond me as it is a very useful tool to saturate and desaturate areas in your image. The tool is located in your tool pane as seen above.
NOTE: Before using the sponge tool, Ctrl-J to make a copy of your background and work on that copied layer. I never work on the original background layer! Select the sponge and go to the top menubar and adjust the softness of your brush and select saturate or desaturate from the pull-down menu.
Here is my original image of Galveston Island.
I used saturate and a soft brush set at 25% and painted over the sky, and then set the opacity to 50% and painted over the ground. Now you can see a color pop. This is a great method that allows you complete control of where you want your colors enhanced.
On this image I used desaturate and a soft brush set at 50% opacity to paint over the skies and 25% opacity to paint over the ground. Now we have a more somber beach scene.
The sponge tool is a powerful addition to your daily editing tools. Once you figure out it is there you will find it very useful!
I receive emails all of the time asking my opinion for the best books on editing in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. If I had to suggest only one book, I would say buy one of these:
These books are great for new users AND those of you with more experience. They are very easy to follow and have tons of great tips and tricks. I love Kelby's books, they just make sense to me. I like my information "idiot-proof". ;-)
Oh, and my dream camera has dropped to well under $700 ($638 at this posting)! Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately???) my old Canon Rebel XT is still plugging on. Darn Canons, they take a licking and keep on ticking. One of these days... :-)