Fall at Newfound Gap

Fall colors are starting to be spectacular in the Smoky Mountains. This images was taken this morning at Newfound Gap. Any feedback appreciated.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

Taken with Fuji X-T30, 50-200mm lens, RAW converted in Capture One with dodge and burn done in PhotoShop

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Hi Shawn. Quietly spectacular scenery. Just wondering, what about the scene is most important to how you feel about being there? The foliage colors, receding rows of terrain, sky mirroring the hills? To my eye, the image could use more processing to emphasize what the emotions and elements you want me to appreciate. If I knew more about what stirs you about the scene then providing suggestions would bd easier. If the fall colors then consider increasing saturation and luminescence in parts of the forest. Maybe crop out most of the sky go let the foliage be the star of the show. If the hills or sky, work with contrast or saturation to let them shine a bit. Depends on what stirs you. Let us know what that is.

Shawn, I think the comments by @Dick_Knudson are very important. This does have quietly spectacular scenery, as Dick said. The ways we can use processing to emphasize elements within the scene can create a lot of impact. I agree with Dick that some folks might consider this image under-processed, and that target application of saturation and luminosity could further enhance the image.

Personally, I love the light and the warm/cool color contrast in the top third of the image. In many images the colors of autumn foliage become so dominant that they can overwhelm other aspects of the image. But for me you have the opposite issue here, the fall colors in the foreground are so subdued that they suffer in comparison to the light and color above. But it is a balancing act, increase the luminosity/saturation of the foreground too much, and it will pull the viewer away from the gorgeous light above.

If this image were mine I would crop some from the right, and try to tweak the saturation and luminosity in this direction. I dodged and increased color saturation the foreground yellows using luminosity masks. I would also add some contrast at the top to further emphasize that sweet light.

I’ve been to Newfound Gap, but I didn’t have those conditions. Wow. This is pretty awesome. You’ve gotten some good feedback already. If this were mine, I’d stick a little more closely to what you have but enhance it a bit. I like Ed’s crop, but I wouldn’t go quite that far. The below was my rendition:

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I usually over saturate my photos not under, LOL. I agree the colors are a little muted. I enhanced them a bit below. Actually, the conditions were not that great. The skies were bluebird in the valley and at Newfound overcast except a little break that allowed the sun to peak through. You had to stand at a certain spot and grab this with a telephoto.