Back Modifications (9)
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Mystic Winter Forest

By FloKl
This past winter it snowed quite heavily during a night. A walk through the forest the next day presented several great motives, one of them this mystic view.

In post processing I added a bit of blue so the pic looks a little cooler ... sort of like it felt out there. I also darkened the pic a little in order to increase contrast.

I tried to make this pic appear as mystic as possible in post processing. I'd appreciate feedback regarding my processing already done (what could I do better?) but also for other ideas on how to make it look mystic.

Thanks a lot and have a nice weekend!!!

Tags: Winter Forest Mystic Wildlife and nature


mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2015 5:36PM
Hi again, good to see you back in the Critique Gallery!

Looking at your recent uploads, I'm guessing these are the same woods as you have uploaded a couple of times? In those pictures you had a subject as foreground interest - a crucifix, a drinking fountain... I guess here the subject is the atmosphere, the coldness, but somehow I feel the lack of a foreground subject that I can fix my eye upon. Partly that's because the path is covered by ground so there is no obvious path to follow through the trees...

Here's something that I see very often here, the difference between the photographer's experience of being there, and the viewer's experience looking at a small, flat rectangle on a screen.

Capturing atmosphere as a subject is difficult. I'm not convinced that the hint of blue works here, because it effectively reduces tonal range in the snow, makes it look a bit dull. It's important when adding toning of any kind to check the histogram afterwards and adjust as necessary.

This for me needs a bit more contrast. But that doesn't address the lack of a structured composition, a route for the eye from A to B to finally settle on C.

I want to try an alternative approach to what is a very nice quality file, open to different interpretations. It occurs to me that cropping to concentrate attention on those trunks with their bar code effect, and then adding contrast; possibly converting to b&w with a dark vignette - that could convey mystery effectively. I shall have a go.

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2015 6:13PM
Apologies for tangled fingers: the path is covered by ground should of course read the ground is covered by snow...
banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4149 Canada
11 Apr 2015 8:56PM
Nice, I can smell the cold snow.

Moira has covered everything so Ive just uploaded a series of mods.


paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2015 9:00PM
Not a bad image at all. I would like a specific focal point, too. Something to rest the eye on.

Darkening an image does not increase contrast. You are darkening both shadows and highlights. You need to darken shadows and lighten highlights to increase contrast.

Use the contrast tool or, for rather more control, use curves

pamelajean Plus
14 1.4k 2149 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2015 9:37PM
It's a lovely scene, FloK, with lots of depth provided by the path going through the trees.
Snow makes the woods into a winter wonderland. It also gives you strong contrasts with the dark tree trunks.
You have done well with your exposure, so as not to over-whiten the snow.

I'm not keen on the blue that you have added. Quite honestly, I'm usually trying to remove blue casts from snow scenes, not put it in. I do understand that you wanted a cold feel, though.
Your darkening hasn't increased the contrast, it has dulled down the snow. Try using Levels to adjust the contrast instead.

You say that you want a mystic atmosphere, and this will be achieved in different ways by different people, depending upon how they interpret the word mystic.
A lot of atmosphere can be attained by adding a vignette to your scene, and it would work well here because of the central pathway, pulling the eye more to the middle and off into the distance.
But I also think that black and white would work well, especially to make the snow whiter and add the contrast you were seeking.
A softening effect can give a mystic feel, though this doesn't have to be done on the whole image, but just around the edges. I tried an overall Soft Focus and didn't like it. I also tried an infra-red filter but wasn't keen on that either.

My first modification shows a crop to the left side, because I felt that strong dark tree pulled the eye away from your scene. I feel that the other trees act as "framing" quite adequately. I then turned the image mono and adjusted the contrast, using Levels. Next, I used the dodge tool around the edges. My PaintshopPro doesn't have a vignette option, but this gives you an idea of the effect I was after. This can be darker if you like.
My second modification is the same, but with the dof option used. I drew a circle around the central area and blurred the outside. Is this a bit magical?

TanyaH Plus
17 1.3k 409 United Kingdom
12 Apr 2015 12:59PM
I don't have anything else to add really, other than the fact that I've done a quick mod which, for me, enhances the feeling of mystery of the woods. Sometimes, the only thing to do is to go back to the same place at various times, just to see how the light changes in different weather. Hopefully, if this place is near to you then that won't be too difficult Smile
FloKl 6 73 Austria
13 Apr 2015 10:04AM
Thanks a lot for all your comments and ideas. It appears that I have ways to go when it comes to post processing Smile But who would expect different considering that this was my first real attempt at it.

Thanks also for the great modifications. The last one from TanyaH looks terrific. I wish I would be able to produce such a pic. However, all your input might get me there at some point.
I'd also like to mention that it's great that you always add how you modified the pic. Makes it a whole lot easier to learn from it. Keep up the excellent work!

Thanks again all and have a good start to the week!

PS: you might wanna take a look at my portfolio tonight, I'll add a very nice (imo) shot I took on Saturday. Will not be put into the critique forum though ...

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