Using the absence of light – Norway Pine Forrest

Just joined NPN and I am looking forward to reading and writing with you all.

This first image I would love some feedback on is one from a recent trip to Norway. The summer had been beyond belief, compared to the usual northern summers, so I was imagining stunning sunrises/sunsets throughout my trip. But – as luck would have it – my one week in Norway, was spend in rain and fog. I think we all have experineced this in one way or another. However, the challenge of ‘missing’ light resulted in a series of darker-toned images like this.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

The difficulty of this image was hitting the right balance in contrast and tones. Especially avoiding banding in the image was challenging – this in spite of editing in 16bit. (I believe some banding is still present in the green tones, the lower portion of the image). I have read several articles about banding, however, no method seemed efficient, what are your best tips for these types of scenarios?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Are these types of darker-toned pine-wood images cliché / too commonly capture? How does the, more or less, centrally placed horizon work in terms of composition?

Any pertinent technical details:

Shot on Sony A7r, 200mm, f/4.5, 1/320
The original image was 1-2 stops brighter, could this have been a cause of banding?

I like the image a lot, and I don’t see any evidence for banding. But then, when I click on it, I don’t see a larger image for some reason.


Thanks for the feedback! I’m not sure about how to enlarge the image(?). Regarding the banding, it was most prominent when I viewed the image on my smartphone – which might have caused me to obsess over the potential of it being present.

I see no banding…
I like images like this, although I would bring up the bottom from total blackness.

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I really like the simplicity of this image. For some reason I cannot make the image larger. But I do not see any banding. I would probably expose the darks on the bottom portion of the image. But thats about it in my opinion.

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Malte I see no banding either. If you use Lightroom to view your images, sometimes the LR preview shows banding that doesn’t exist in the full size image.

I don’t think these type of foggy pine images are necessarily cliche, they can create some wonderful abstract scenes if you can compose an interesting arrangement of pines poking of the fog. In this image I’m not too keen on the horizon dead center, the image feels too static to me. The pines are also a little too dark for my taste, I would like to see more shadow detail. I would suggest cropping away some of the white sky at the top, and increasing exposure in the pines. This would put more emphasis on the shapes of the trees.

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Welcome to NPN @Malte_Klarskov-Hermansen!

I love these kinds of images… trees and fog are a classic combination and this one has a nice soft feel to it. I do love the shapes and layers you have in it.

I don’t see any banding either but can not view the larger image as others have said. When were you seeing the banding? If it’s in photoshop… make sure you’re zoomed in past 67% otherwise photoshop renders the view in 8 bits which results in the appearance of artifacts/banding but once you zoom in further they disappear.

As for the image, the green hue overall sounds as if it was intended. I, personally would shift to the bluer/magenta side for an image like this. The bottom layer does feel too dark, as I’m sure there’s a lot of tasty detail in there, but the shapes of the trees themselves are nice and I think it’s personal choice on whether you want to brighten them up a little.

I’m seeing three distinct layers in this image but the one that’s taking up the most real estate is the top layer which has no detail. I would suggest cropping in or even playing with a non-standard pano style crop to help even out the weight. If you were to keep the same ratio I would pull the top right corner down and in to lose that tree on the right edge of the frame which is just a little to close to the edge for comfort IMO.

Very nice image indeed. I’m debating wanting more of a pano crop to eliminate a bit of the top as the brighter part distracts a bit from the awesome tones and shapes in the middle. Could see a slight graduated filter dodging the bottom 2/3 as well. Overall though it’s a great image and good to make the best out of the situ.



Welcome to NPN!

Have no idea why the large view isn’t present. I’m wondering what are the dimensions of the image you uploaded? Maybe there’s some minimum size in order for the large view and resizing. Not sure.

As far as your composition, I don’t really see or feel a central horizon. You have several layers here from the darkness, to the enshrouded pines, to the very faint trees, then to the lightness of the empty fog up top. I think you could even exploit the light/dark by increasing the luminosity of the fog while retaining the darkness below.

I like the impact and mood. Just wish we could see a larger view.

Look forward to more, welcome aboard.


I love the mood, the one thing I don’t care for is how dark the bottom portion of the image is I would like to see a little more detail here.

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This image is absolutely outstanding.

To answer your questions: No banding evident however the image is quite small and I can’t blow it up. I believe if you upload a larger file it will automatically display in-line with text and expand when clicked on. One tip with banding is that it often shows in Photoshop when zoomed to odd numbers. If you stick to viewing the image at 25%, 50% or 100% the prevalence of perceived banding in what you see should go away. One other thing I do is that I’ll export a version using TKActions Web Sharpening using my standard export settings (2000px long edge) and view it again at that size which usually tells me if there is banding in the file or if it is just Photoshop rendering playing tricks on me. It’s so frustrating!

This image seems in no way cliche or too commonly captured. The middle horizon is by far the best option for this type of image in my eyes too.

The only thing I’d change is finding a little more detail in your shadows. It doesn’t have to be much - just enough to distinguish the trees from one another. In the same way that the top of your image isn’t pure white, the bottom shouldn’t be pure black.

Congrats on an amazing image!

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Sam, thank you for the amazing reply! It is great to hear others’ opinions, and you like many other seem to share an interest in the darks portion of the image – you are absolutely right that the intention was having neither clipping white parts, nor clipping blacks. I’ll definitely make a new edit where they are brought up a bit.

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