Behind the Veil

I took this picture at midday in very flat light. I made the picture because I was drawn to the aging solidity of the wall and the tenacity of the vine running up it. But when I went to take the shot, I had the strangest feeling of seeing something behind what my eyes were seeing. It was the feeling of glimpsing another, almost alternate reality – one that was lit from within. Very strange. I did four complete, from scratch attempts to post process this in a way that captured that original feeling. This, the final attempt, gets pretty close to what I experienced “looking between worlds”. Your feedback, as always, would be much appreciated.


I like this a lot. In simple terms it appeals to me visually and emotionally. I think I would lose the black frame. It getr lost within the image. JMHO

To me this image has an almost haunting mood. Did you apply a sepia tone during processing?

Well done, Kerry. I love it. Glad you pushed through this edit because it is unique, visionary, somewhat scary, and positively strange.

I’m a big fan of images that push the boundaries of reality, whether in content, color, B&W, processing, light, etc. Normal images just don’t excite me like they used to and this one really stirs my interest. I like the depth of light on the subject - that not all parts of the vegetation are evenly bright - so my eye wanders around. I appreciate the vignette, too.

I wonder if the wall could use a tad more brightness because, while I appreciate the mystery, I wasn’t sure what that background was as I began to view the image. It is purely my curiosity and perhaps you’ve already discovered that brightening the wall detracts.

Again, nice work!

I love your processing on this evocative image, Kerry. It has an old time feel to it which I think suites the mood beautifully. The lighting on the vine is magical and I like the fact that the BG stone wall is darker and more somber. This is just my opinion of course, but I think I would ditch the black frame. Great visualization on this image.

I really love this image for the sense of mystery it has. “Behind the Veil” is a great title, the image strongly hints at a hidden world beneath. You are right, the processing does make the rocks look like they are lit from within, it’s a very cool look, even though it’s sepia toned :grin:.

The way you have processed the image reveals just enough of the rocks to tell the story, but leaves plenty of room for the viewers imagination to fill in the rest. I also like the sine wave shape of the tree branches, man does that pull my eye throughout the comp. My only suggested tweak here would be very slightly dial up the luminosity of the leaves/branches in the URC, to balance it a little better with the luminosity of the left and center parts of the tree.

But I’m going to admit a personal bias of mine, I’m usually not a fan of sepia toning B&W. In general, if I want to tone a B&W image, I prefer cooler selenium toning. However for this particular image I think your creative choice works very well, the sepia tone conveys a sense of age, of weathering, of holding out against time, all of which fit well with the nature story.

I really like the way the sepia tone tells the story of age, time and tenacity, it nicely fits your vision of this scene. I think some cooler toning could create a second take on this that increases the sense of mystery. Warm tones are gentle and inviting, perfect for a story of aging / weathering. Cool tones play more on a sense of mystery and foreboding. I’m not trying to step on your creative vision, but this image has enough going for it that IMO it could be effectively interpreted several different ways.

1 Like

@Michael_Lowe, @Nathan_Klein - thank you both for your very positive feedback. As you can see, Michael, I immediately removed the black frame. Obviously, I don’t want readers of this image focusing on the frame lol. And yes, Nathan, I did apply sepia toning. I don’t use any kind of preset but rather use a Ps technique that I learned from Tony Kuyper. You can see it here:
@Matt_Lancaster - I really appreciate your comments. I’m hoping that this image is the start of new and probably lengthy process of redefining what photography means to me. I am learning to find peace with what I can’t know or see and I’d like my photography to somehow reflect that. I did play endlessly with the brightness of the wall but in the end chose to assume that anyone who really wanted to know what was going on back there would take the time and keep looking. Also, I ultimately create my images with the intention that they will be seen as prints, not online display , which implies, I think, a somewhat different relationship with a picture.
@Ed_Lowe - thanks so much, Ed. As you can see, the frame is gone.
@Ed_McGuirk - once again, Ed, I appreciate the time and effort you give to your feedback and it is so much appreciated. As to your last point concerning warmth vs cool, I couldn’t agree more. My original intent and my first attempt was much more in line, tone-wise with what you have shown here. It has more the feel of death, which I think does work and is very strong but not quite what I was after according to my experience at the time of taking the picture. Thanks again.