Break the silence

So this might be a fun one for folks to try. I took this yesterday while tooling around back roads. It was very windy, but not super cold and the sun was trying to break through the cloud deck. This is typical of how fields look in winter when the “hedgerows” are the only things visible. Plus a tree or two and ditch weeds.

Raw File

Kristen_SmithMarch 22, 2023_1113296.dng (18.5 MB)

You may only download this file to demonstrate how you would process the image. The file is Copyright of the photographer, and you must delete the raw file when you are done. Please post a jpg of what you created, along with an explanation of what you did and why you did it.

My Edit (click to see)

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Kris, I am sure you’ll know that I would consider this a terrific candidate for B&W. :grin:

I originally went with the full crop, including the foreground, but as I was working it, I realized the main subject is that so cool tree. So, I simplified…here’s my take…

Thanks for playing…this is a fun challenge.


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Nice! I do have a weakness for ditch weeds. It shows. Maybe I should do a project with them.

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Hi Kris! I too saw this as a black and white. I kept your weeds but also cropped a little off from the right as I thought there was a little much dark tangle of bushes in the row with that tree. Also tried getting the background trees lighter so that the big tree could stand out more…


Oh good idea about the trees in the back. I hadn’t thought of that! I like the crop, too.

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Well, I had the same idea as @Vanessa_Hill - b&w, crop from the right, lighten background trees. The story for me was the main tree and the foreground weeds & shrubs. Here’s my version:


Interesting that you made the sky much less of a presence and that certainly does let the tree stand out for more attention. Cool.

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Late chiming in here after mulling over this one for a bit. I’m pretty sure I’m venturing in to questionable territory by making a modification that alters your original fairly significantly. I’m taking this challenge quite literally as a “Processing challenge.” This is clearly not a reflection on what your intent or vision of the scene is/was. Interesting, at my day job I mentor my peers on a software tool we use. I have a saying. “Just because you CAN do something… doesn’t mean you SHOULD.” I try to follow this… and will tell you I have never done something as drastic as this - other than typical dust cloning, CA-fill in small areas, etc. - but almost always the scene is not altered from what one might expect to see if they were standing there. This edit does change that view.

From a pure processing point of view, I see these challenges as learning opportunities and again, quite literally a challenge to see what new things we can do and practice our skills.

ANYWAY… so the big thing I did was rotate and transform that diagonal row of “ditch weeds.” I had noticed the shallow diagonal line of the bg treeline and the other horizontal lines formed a very subtle zig-zag. And so I came up with the idea to make the ditch weeds align and contribute that zig-zag visual.

Below is a screenshot of the layers panel. The BG layers were all for tranforming the field and weed line. I also closed the distance between the line and the first row of bushes and tree.

I cropped on the right like the others, and brought back in to ACR to do some healing in the clouds.

A couple of luminosity mask selections on Levels layers to lighten the bg line of trees, and darken the main tree.

Then I thought I would go B&W. But ended up masking/painting to allow some color to return to the sky, but also allowed the B&W layer to reduce the color cast in the treeline and specifically near the main tree (a little red?). Then lastly I dodged/painted the field of snow for some added brightness.

Thanks for the challenge! And I sure hope you don’t mind the transformation.

Mind? I love it!

Lately these kinds of angles have been a part of several images of mine (a couple I’ve posted and some I haven’t) so I’m glad you picked up on this and “had the tools & had the talent” (couldn’t help going there) to make them work better than they did IRL. I forget that we can do things like this in Ps and this just takes it to another level. Will have to dig out my Sean Bagshaw Smart Objects Master Class videos and see if he goes into this tool at all. Really fabulous and a challenge to me as well.