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Fall'ing in Love

By Meta_Morph
I was drawn to the bridge, the colour and the light and took many photos but all seemed empty without people. I saw this couple and took a few shots as they walked down the path, but it wasn't till they reached this point that the shot seemed to balance. I have done a fair bit of editing in LR, but stuck on what more could be done to improve it (if any thing). Specifically I am torn between increasing the clarity and retaining a more impressionist feel which is what attracted me to it originally. Does it matter if it isn't all tack sharp? I sometimes see beautiful rendered landscapes that are technically brilliant but leave me cold. Would really value your thoughts. Smile

Tags: Autumn Autumn leaves Autumn colour Landscape and travel

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Robert51 13 11 129 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2021 4:41PM
Great image I love the tree colours.
Looking at the image one thing jumps out is the bright spot just the other side of the bridge. Inthis image it draws the eye to a place you don't want as there isn't a lot there. I was think about darkening down a little or clone from other parts of the ground on that side of the bridge.
This just an idea...
27 Nov 2021 5:41PM
@Robert51 Thank you for your kind and constructive comments. You are right about the light, I hadn't noticed that, I will try some edits based on your suggestions. Looking at your portfolio I can see you have an expert command of light in your work.
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 826 England
27 Nov 2021 6:48PM
Welcome to the Critique Gallery Hannah, it's good to see you've found the site friendly and helpful.

Thank you for being detailed in your description, it does so help when providing critique.

Softness in images such as atmospheric landscapes or dreamy portraits can work extremely well, soif that convey mood and feeling, so be it. Even action images don't need to be frozen sharply. But it has to be done well and be appropriate for the subject. Just having someting badly focussed won't do.

Not that I see that as an issue here. No I wouldn't increase sharpnes here, as you'll soon end up with a gritty or wiry effect which isn't attractive.Clarity, whih is a specific type of adjustment is also one to use with care as increasing it can and does produce an unattractive look ith strange haloes around objects. However, using negative clarity settings can work wonders for skin and softening of harder lines in landscapes like this one.

This scene would work well with no people, and with the people at a closer distance. Thy would just tell a different story. Take several.It depends what you want to say, here they add some scale and a little human element, closer to and it's more about the people enjoying an autun walk.

Which brings me to Robert's point about the bright area. In my mod I've roughly cloned in some leavesto tone down the bright area. Having the couple outlined against that area would help and would be a great focal point.

Unfortunately when high;ight detail is lost it can't be brought back, which is why I resorted to cloning, but it's a useul technique for areas opf burnt out sky too where you need to have some texture.
The reason it's light is because you're in dark woodland and your phone has tried to average the exposure, so if you have some way of adjusting the exposure at the time of tking you need to investigate that. With a camera I'd use negative exposure compensation of around a stop. This would darken the trunks and foliage. That's what I did in my mod which hjas also given the colours more punch and contast, and given it a little mor mystery and mood too. It's easier to lighten a darker image than darken an image with bright areas having little or no detail as there's nothing really here to darken

I cropped a little from the top, as the white area at the edge is a small distraction and now gives the impression of being enveloped by the trees which I'm sure you were but our brain ignores such gaps when we're there but which are much more noticeable once we get back home and view the image on screen.
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2270 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2021 7:13PM
Hello, Hannah, and welcome to EPZ and also its Critique Gallery. I liked your first image in your portfolio, similar to this one inasmuch as you have a path and trees.

My first thought was to crop the top, as Keith has done in his modification, to remove that bright spot top left and also the dark branches. These tended to pull my eye upwards instead of it resting on the bridge and the couple walking.

I feel that you could have captured the couple while they were a bit closer to the bridge, but well done for getting them in your scene in the first place, they make all the difference to a scene like this.

You were obviously aiming for symmetry with that bridge, which you achieved, and it works well.

As for adding clarity and/or sharpening, I think the image looks fine as it is. Sometimes we can go overboard with processing, and even forget what we have done, so keep it simple and be very careful not to let the processing take over so that it's the first thing people notice.

banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4323 Canada
27 Nov 2021 9:19PM
One question I ask about images, especially Phone images is if there has been a camera filter applied?

Its an attractive image overall, - I will download it and see if there are some other possibilities which I will upload..


27 Nov 2021 9:34PM
@Dark_Lord, thanks so much for your constructive comments and modification. Really useful to understand more about softening images, and for you to show me the effect of exposure compensation. I have read about and understood it at a theoretical level but didn't really understand why it was needed. I now do.
banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4323 Canada
27 Nov 2021 9:45PM
Three alternatives uploaded for comparison, as sharp and original as possible; softer, and finally sepia toned mono. Mod2 and 3 are cropped and framed with less space on the left and a little more at the top to place the figures on a third.

The base image is good, so you can experiment.


27 Nov 2021 9:55PM
@Pamela - Thanks for your kind and constructive comments.

I wanted to catch some of the glory of Autumn, but discovered find a good composition in the woods, is tricky - so paths seemed like the way forward. Probably a bit cliched, but starting simple felt like the right way to go, whilst I try to master some of the more technical aspects. So much to learn...

I enjoy Light Room and seeing how a photo can develop, but you are right, it can get confusing, and there is a risk of over processing. My goal is most definitely to get it right out of the camera if I can.

Thanks again for taking the time to provide feedback it is much appreciated 😀
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 826 England
27 Nov 2021 10:00PM
Thanks Hannah, it's good to know when we've been helpful.
27 Nov 2021 10:34PM
@banehawi - Thank you for your constructive comments and modifications Willie. It's really instructive to see what you have done. The Sepia one is particularly interesting and adds mystery. I like it.

In answer to your first question (apologies for the delay). The photo was taken on a camera phone (S10) in manual mode in raw and then processed in Light Room. I cropped it, adjusted the white balance and removed some signage. I did apply a Preset in Light Room to bring up the colours, and then played around with it to refine it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to feedback to me and to suggest improvements, I really appreciate it. 😀
Robert51 13 11 129 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2021 10:35PM
You talked a arty look so here is my take on that.
I use a painted colour look with Topaz black and white. Then from PS filter used a textured canvas look to the image.
I hope you like it and was something close to what you had in mind...
27 Nov 2021 11:42PM
@Robert51 - Oh WOW that is amazing, this is just what I had in mind, only better! I can't believe a picture I have taken could look so good. Thank you so much.
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1954 England
28 Nov 2021 9:42AM
A belated welcome from me, too, Hannah.

You are one of those people who are a delight to have in the Critique Gallery - you've said what you want, and respond in detail. A conversation always makes for fun and happy people here!

You already 'get' the technical ideas, at least to some extent. The thing now is practice, so that they are in your fingers, as well as in your head, if that makes sense.

The technical side fascinates many of us - for Robert, it's the editing, for me, it's largely about what different lenses do. But even if the technicalities mean nothing to you, it's worth mastering them as a cabinet-maker learns and feels a chisel, a mallet, a spokeshave.

Practice a lot, and if you're as methodical as I think you are from what you've done and written, and you will 'own' the whole process in 2022. I look forward to seeing more pictures!

John Smile
28 Nov 2021 11:04AM
@dudler - thank you for your message John and words of encouragement. Much appreciated Smile
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.4k 2547 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2021 11:42AM
Hello Hannah, a belated welcome from me too. I had a busy day yesterday, I missed this...

Everything has been said but I would pick up on your comment that you have done a fair bit in LR. I hope that you have kept the original file, that's important. Always use Save as... And my initial thought on opening this, before reading your description, was that saturation on yellows has been pushed too far, resulting in loss of detail and texture.

My advice would be - beware of adding colour effects for the sake of it, of gilding the lily. Always keep in mind your actual impression as you took the image and work to visualise that.

I hope we shall see more from you in the Critique Gallery, I'll try to arrive more promptly next time!
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2270 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2021 4:53PM
Hello again, Hannah, and thank you for joining in the conversation, as well as showing us your enthusiasm.

There's one thing that occurs to me, especially when someone gets quite a few modifications. That is, when you click on a modifiation, all you have to do is click on it again, and you see your original image. In this way, you can immediately see the difference the modifications have made to your original. I find it very useful because it is immediate, and even small changes can be picked up easily.

chase Plus
17 2.4k 644 England
30 Nov 2021 5:49PM
Hi Hannah and a belated but warm welcome from me.

Great to have sensible questions and details of your hopes and intentions, so lacking in the Critique Gallery sometimes.

One of your questions really jumped out at me....
Quote:Does it matter if it isn't all tack sharp?
I don't think that's where you were heading with this lovely Autumnal image, colours are amazing and so very beautiful.

Try different post processing on copies of your image, then you can sit back, relax and ask yourself ..."which is the one I wanted, does it do what I wanted it to do ?"

I will try a very different mod, see what comes out in the wash.
chase Plus
17 2.4k 644 England
30 Nov 2021 6:09PM
Mod 6 uploaded with quite a painterly feel to it this time.

I cropped from the top and a touch from the bottom.
Darkened the centre with Nik 'darken/lighten the centre'
Took it into Topaz Studio 2 and added a touch of Van Gogh.
Reduced the oranges using Adobe camera raw.
Added a bright border to make the colours pop.
Changed the colour profile to sRGB which is the one recommended for the site and the web in general.
30 Nov 2021 9:08PM
@Moria, Thanks for your message and apologies for the delay in responding. You are I am sure right about the colours, but the raw files look washed out and not true to what I saw either. I understand from some of the earlier comments, that minor tweaking in a wider number of areas ie. clarity and contrast as well as colour and light would be a more sophisticated and balanced approach to use moving forward, producing a more satisfactory end product.
30 Nov 2021 9:45PM
@Pamela, thanks for your helpful suggestion, that did indeed make it much easier to view and further appreciate the modifications made. Having done this, the modifications which work best for me are the suggestion to crop, resolve the lighting issues and toning down of the colour. In terms of the vision for the photo, I liked Willie's Sepia mono which has the mood I wanted to capture but I felt the colour was needed to tell the story about the romance of the trees and the young couple walking amongst them. For me the arty renditions by Robert and @Chase achieve this.
30 Nov 2021 10:31PM
@chase - thank you very much for taking the time to produce this modification which I think works very well. But more than this, thank you for directly answering my question and giving me the confidence I was lacking to present the picture in this way. I have much to learn, but this feels like a fairly significant breakthrough.
@Pamela, have uploaded a version with the couple closer, which I had discounted before. Just wanted you to know I had considered your suggestion.
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1954 England
4 Dec 2021 8:31AM
Thank you for the version, Hannah.

I actually like it better, for several reasons, starting with the fact that the couple largely obscure the slightly bald area just beyond the bridge.

Also, the human interest is greater: definite, rather than distant. That's not necessarily true in all situations, but very small figures are often unsatisfactory: they can occasionally be a good compositional device, and sometimes tiny figures make big spaces more impressive, as in THIS picture by Ron Tear.

Finally, you used a different viewpoint, and have a far less symmetrical composition in the version. Symmetry isn't a no-no, but - like small figures - is often less successful.

And shooting a variety is always good. As they say on CSI, 'work the scene!'
3 Jan 2022 6:40AM
I Like your version the best Hannah far the gold is quite bold …but not overdone by any means . Only thing I would change is darkening the sky a tad …I love the web above of dark and increasingly scraggly limbs up top …Cropping too much of them out would lessen their wonderful look .
Best regards

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