Around the Bend

I’m a little disappointed in this image. I was hoping I could bring out the sense of mystery and contrast in post but I think there is an inherent problem in the composition - it doesn’t quite hold together for me. I’m not entirely sure why - maybe too much visual mass on the right. It feels a bit clunky. I would love to get constructive criticism, it would make the time spent in post more worthwhile :upside_down_face:
I decided to add a revised version thanks to the Adhika Lie’s valuable insights. I think the revised version works, which surprised the hell out of me.

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I can understand you sense of uncertainty here - especially with the composition. On the one hand you have the mood and atmosphere with the rising mist - then you have the crisp details of the rock and forest. Combining these two worlds is a bit awkward. Add the 3rd element in the reflection - which combines reflections of both elements - and you have a very difficult situation to make a cohesive image.

I’m not sure that my alternatives are any better… but one of my first thoughts was that I wanted to see more of the reflection; in fact make it more prevalent relative to the other elements. So, I extended the canvas at the bottom and stretched the reflection (one of the easier scenarios to add canvas here.) I cropped much off the left and a little top and right to try and balance the elements - the mist, the island and the reflection. I’m not convinced these are any better, but by coming in a little closer, the details in the rock and pine are greater, but also the details thru the mist come through a little more.

Oh, and I added a slight TK vignette to reign in the eye

Your processing is excellent and I appreciate you don’t want your efforts to be in vain. Personally, I prefer the original with more clarity throughout in terms of processing.

I would agree with your uncertainty over this one. My mind wants to see more of the mysterious fog, but the land mass is pulling my attention. I still like it but with some reservation.

I like this a lot actually. I prefer your original crop over @Lon_Overacker’s , but I really like Lon’s canvas addition to include the reflection. I would definitely consider adding the additional canvas to include the reflection while leaving the left/right crop the same as your original. As for the processing differences between your 1st and 2nd uploads, I can’t tell enough of a difference at this size to make a choice.

I’m with Bill on this one. I rather like this image. Thank you for letting me know your objective or vision for the image. This helps us who want to share our thoughts as we can speak more directly to what YOU wanted to achieve. For me SUCCESS! Well done.

Kerry, I think the stumbling block for me in this image is the reflection. The rather block-ish shape doesn’t help to convey that mysterious feeling to the image and its relatively darker exposure doesn’t help either.

I played with it a little and removing that reflection seems to help.


@Lon_Overacker, @Harley_Goldman, @John_Barclay, @Bill_Chambers - Once again and yet again, thank you all for your thoughtful feedback. There is always the issue of, as one of my most valued mentors, David duChemin puts it - “polishing turds” - you know, working on something endlessly in post hoping to make it into something that it never was or will be. So although I appreciated all your suggestions - and I worked with some of what Lon suggested - I just felt like, “maybe next time”. But then @Adhika_Lie, you posted your suggestion and I was blown away. I think you really hit on something. I really like the image with all fog - much more sensual and seductive. I think you were right to see the checker board effect of the reflection, nice as the reflection is. I mean, in real life, fog could never work quite this way, but my eye accepts it and it is what I’d like to convey even if it wasn’t exactly what I saw (well, how could it ever be exactly what I saw?) Adhika, would you mind telling me what you did - exposure, brightness, dodging? Much, much appreciated.

I should’ve saved the PSD, but first I did a dark selection using Luminosity mask on a curve layer to brighten up the dark area. And then I cleaned it up using the clone tool at low flow setting and a very soft brush. I am glad you think you could save this file. It is a very beautiful image!

@Adhika_Lie. Just wanted to thank you again for your valuable insight. I was pretty much ready to write this image off as a miss but your take on the blockiness caused by the reflection got me excited to keep going. Up top you can see my revision - not terribly different than yours . From the scrap heap to the keeper pile - it doesn’t happen that often.

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I am glad you salvaged this, Kerry! I think you nail this one with the revision!

I think the suggestion by @Adhika_Lie was brilliant. And Kerry the rework reflecting his suggestion surprised the heck of of me too, how a small, subtle change could make for such a significant improvement in the image. I tried to think about why that is the case, and for me it comes down to this. In the original image, the dark water in the LRC creates a static duality, surreal in the left half of the image, and and a very realistic look in the right half. Because it has equal weight, the realism on the right diminishes the surreal-ness of the left. Adding the bright mist in the LRC makes the island seem to float by itself in totally surreal surroundings, making the image more mysterious and ultimately, appealing. Great suggestion Adhika :+1: :+1:

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@Ed_McGuirk I’ve given it a lot of thought too. In my experience, turning a picture around like this through what is technically, a pretty minor tweak, is, I was going to say “unusual” but actually for me, it’s “never”. Your analysis, Ed, is spot on and after considerable reflection, I realize I couldn’t have said it better myself. So I won’t. A great learning for me. Thank you all.

Kerry, I apologize in advance, but my intent is not to hijack your thread. The composition of your image reminded me very much of an image I posted here at NPN in 2019. After seeing how @Adhika_Lie’s suggestion enhanced the “surrealness” of your image by making the island “float” in the fog, it made me think of similar implications for my own image.

Adhika, you killed two birds with one stone. My original image posted last year

Rework inspired by Adhika’s suggestion and Kerry’s rework

This discussion inspired me to go back and try a different interpretation 6 months after my original post. Kerry, I sincerely hope this has not intruded on your thread. In no way is my intent to do anything to take away from your wonderful image. Rather, I want to thank you and Adhika for inspiring me to apply this insightful concept to my own work. This was a great learning experience for me too.

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@Ed_McGuirk No, no, not at all. This is wonderful that it has inspired you to play with this notion. It’s what I love about NPN. I think it does have a positive impact on your image. One comment on your revision - the dark, vignette-like bits in the LLC and LRC undermine the illusion. I would bring that misty feel right to the corners. Keep in mind, if you use a TK panel, you can use frequency separation to add mist “colour” to darker areas without affecting the texture below and that might be a good way to bring in more of the mist without denigrating the reflections.

You are absolutely right on the vignette, thanks for the added help !!!

Wow, it’s amazing what a difference the removal of the reflection makes. I never would have thought of this myself. Thanks @Adhika_Lie for the great tip!
And congrats to @Kerry_Gordon for the beautiful (revised) image.