In and out of sight

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


I don’t often go to B&W with fall photos, but this scene didn’t have a lot of color to begin with and when some thicker clouds moved overhead, it got just a little darker so I wanted to preserve that in my edit. Going to monochrome seemed the best way to do that and to introduce the feeling I had of entering another realm. This section of the trail felt really different compared to the others, and also the other boardwalk sections, of which there are many. This is more of a true bog than where the other walkways are placed and most of the trees had shed all their leaves so the vibe was quite different. Plus I love a boardwalk so much. They are my catnip. I’ve driven to trails and walked them just because of this feature.

Specific Feedback

Anyway…I’m quite pleased with it, but am open to ideas for processing and I’d like to know if this accomplishes my goal above. Could I have done something in the field to better capture that aspect of otherness?

Technical Details



Lr for most all processing including a bit of a crop and the conversion to B&W. Lowered exposure, highlights & blacks. Raised whites and shadows a bit. Added texture and a bit of clarity. Adjusted color sliders in the B&W panel to refine the gray scale somewhat. Lens correction & Transform to fix geometry a bit. 3 masks to further massage tonalities to direct the eye more effectively. Sharpening & nr. Ps to remove a rather obvious distraction and a few minor ones.

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Good choice on black and white. I like how the image transitions from light to dark.

That’s awesome! There’s that brief moment where you think you are looking at railroad tracks disappearing into a tunnel; I really like the affect. I think everything looks great, and it was a perfect idea to go black and white.

I wondered what it would look like slightly toned to run with the idea of a train track (slight cooling always makes me think of metal for some reason); here’s the result. (I also even exaggerated the tunnel affect slightly more, and lowered the brightness of those leaves on the right just a bit so they didn’t snag my eye so much.) Not suggestions for improvement, but fun to play with ideas.

Thanks @Allen_Brooks - that transition was what I wanted to get across…glad it worked.

You know @John_Williams, I forget about toning in B&W a lot of the time, but seems like I shouldn’t. This looks pretty darn good. Thanks for giving me something to think about.

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This is awesome! Truly a mysterious vibe. I thought of split-toning and rather like the effect:

That looks cool, too @Diane_Miller - clearly I need to revisit!

Newbie here, but I’ll go out on a limb anyhow.

I was hooked by the lines leading to the dark. I feel a sense of mystery tinged with foreboding. Bwah ha ha. The B&W is essential for that feeling. And I think it’s not far from what you intended… ?

Yet, I saw it first as train tracks (on my phone, I’ll admit). I’ll also admit a bias: I’m not interested in train tracks. So the image would be more compelling to me if the “tracks” were burned and the central footpath on the boardwalk dodged (slightly, in both cases) to minimize the train feeling which is quite different from the walk in the dark woods feeling. Although the overall histogram may be perfect, perhaps decreasing the overall exposure a notch could enhance the gloomy mood?

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Hi Kris,

A bit late here, but had to chime in.

Love this - and I too had the immediate impression of train tracks. In fact, that impression lingered as I couldn’t figure out why a train track would be so “wobbly”? These tracks must not be used anymore cause a train would certain jump the tracks… :slight_smile:

But then I figured it out… and yes, there is a distinct feeling of entering the darkness… light to dark and most certainly an uneasy feeling like I don’t think I would keep walking in to that darkess.

And too that, I like what both John and Diane did to further enhance the darkness.

Beautifully seen. Can’t think of anything you could have done different. Well done! And great choice going monochrome as this is NOT about fall color… :slight_smile:


Thanks @Cathy_Proenza & @Lon_Overacker - good to have more ideas kicking around should I revisit this one. I hadn’t realized the train tracks thing would be so evident since it is what it is to me and so the idea didn’t occur to me. Doh!

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Looking at this again, I now see that my version has made the “tracks” so strong that it needs a fairly strong graduated burn up from the bottom.

I think it has a rather nice progression actually. From light into dark - there are so many ways to interpret the scene.

Hmmm – you may be making me rethink an old habit… I’m so used to thinking of a darker base on pictures. But you’re right – this one is predominantly light to dark across the frame.

And of course, it’s your vision!! I’ll get my nose out of it and get back to the kitchen where our contribution to the family Thanksgiving is taking shape. I got off easy this year with daughter Annie hosting and their serious foodie friend doing some heavy lifting.

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