Scottish greens

A green mossy Scottish glen from the summer of 2018. I hiked here with my wife and son in the afternoon and back later when the light was less harsh in places. This area was so lush, green and moist, I hoped I could do it justice. I had spotted this big fern nicely spread out like part of an umbrella that I wanted to use in the foreground. I liked how the curving path still got some light through the canopy. I shot there until it was getting too dark for usable exposures.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Does the depth in the image work? The start of the path in the frame on the left actually consist of steps, the water behind the large fern on the right, and the rest of the path, is a few meters lower. I found it hard to get this across.
Also, is there too much going on in the composition? How is the visual flow?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

As always, how are the greens in your opinion? Is the light from the upper right too bright and/or too yellow?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
D810 + 14-24, with f/13 - ISO 64 - 14 mm - 5 s (luckyliy no wind!)
Two exposures for a focus stack, where the background exposure is double processed for dynamic range, and once more to further brighten the light entering from the upper right corner. Some small little things are cloned out, dodging and burning was done as well as local contrast tweaks with curves adjustments, luminosity masks and the brush to enhance mood.

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1 Like

I think your depth of field works very well, for me Ron. Also think, from my perspective the greens are perfect. Not too over saturated look and very real to me. This looks like a wonderful place to hike. Wonderful photo Ron.

Hi Ron, my first critique on here so please excuse me if the terminology comes over harshly, it’s not my intention.
As a Scot the tones and colour come across well and the composition with the path is good and the light in a strong position top right. My only reservation is the lack of any other dappled light making the light on the right a bit strong. I’d be tempted to use a slight grad on the top right to drop the highlights and a radial grad to slightly lift the centre. Both quite minimal but would balance things out a little and keep the mystery in other areas.! Edit to add edited photo Scotland_green_1500px (1)|690x460

This works really well for me, Ron. The path leads from darkness (relatively speaking) into the light. I can see @AndySimpson 's point, but for me, the symbolic aspect wins the day. I might burn or clone out the bright log on the slope below where the trail disappears, but not a big deal. Nice!

I just want to add to Harley’s point that the dark and light portion is separated by a tree placed right in the middle. Very cool.

Ron, it is wonderful to find you in here. I have finally joined this community and hope to improve my photography with a little help from “my friends”. This image of yours is wonderful and I have little to add when it comes to the overall composition and edit. It all looks great to my eyes. Just one thing. It almost seems like you have used a flash to light the ferns in the foreground. Is that just reflected light from somewhere behind you?

I really like this a lot, Ron. The composition really pulls me into the photo. I think the greens are very nicely handled. The soft pallet is very pleasing to the eye. Looks like an amazing spot for a hike.

@linda_mellor Thanks for your comment Linda!
@AndySimpson Best to hear it from a Scot I guess? :slight_smile: Thanks for the thougths, and the rework . I was struggling some with the intensity of the light coming on from the upper right. The rework surely looks nice too.
@Harley_Goldman thanks Harvey! I’ll have a look at the bright line there!
@Adhika_Lie thank you Adhika!
@frank7 Hi Frank and welcome to NPN! Ah, the big fern… it looked horrible in the raw file, indeed almost as if there was a flash involved. I don’t even know how the flash on my D810 works, and it’s always on manual, so it’s not used here. It must have been light from straight above, where it was a bit more open. I tried to counteract this effect with curves and masks etc, but apparently not enough. Well spotted, and I’ll give it some more time…! Maybe darkening it more will help?
@ChrisNoronhaPhoto Thank you Chris, this glen was beautiful after each twist and turn in the path, hard to keep walking haha!


Fantastic image. I think the light balance is just right. I would probably try to dodge/burn the left a big more and screw up the balance if it was my image, but sitting back from this I can see ‘just right’ in the lighting. Very natural, but not blown out or harsh. Composition is just spot on too, nice separation of elements but not too much negative space either.

I think this is a wonderful scene, and I love the way you created a composition that showcased the path in such an unusual way. I also agree with @Adhika_Lie, I love the way that the dead center tree is the balancing point around which the composition revolves.

I know you were going for a dark/light transition image. I think the light in the upper right corner (LRC) just dominates the scene, at the expense of the path, and some interesting details in the shadow areas. While this is a different vision/intent than your original post, I just had to do a rework that took a play at emphasizing different areas of the image, I hope you don’t mind. I also think the crop of the fern in the LRC tightens things up a bit too.

This is a beautiful scene, Ron. It’s very intriguing and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead on the trail. The composition brings me into the image. I feel it is a bit too dark however. You can keep the dark feeling and still lighten select items and allow the viewer to see some of the delightful details even better IMHO. I downloaded it and tweaked a couple of things, but after viewing Ed’s version, I’m not sure my version is much different, but I’ll upload it anyway. All in all, this is a superb image in my view.

This has a really interesting composition with all those repeated arcs. The suggested reworks do improve the image a bit. One thing nobody has mentioned is what looks like some magenta on the trail. I’m not sure if I’m imagining it. I prefer Ed’s rework a bit more.

I really enjoy this scene. Like others have said, it looks like a great place to explore. I like how the ferns at the bottom of the scene point the viewer towards the path below.

I might be tempted to lighten up the exposure just a bit…but I am looking at this on a laptop screen so I might be off on that comment.

@jonfischer Thanks Jon, appreciated!
@Ed_McGuirk Thanks Ed! I like seeing your rework. Like others mentioned, the scene could use just a touch ofextra light. I like the crop, it helps reducing the intensity of the light in the upper right and places the fern nicely in the frame. I have played with some crops, and also liked removing the whole left, leaving a 4x5 vertical of the right part.
@Bill_Chambers Thanks! I’ll definitely be adding a few more touches of light in the darker parts!
@Igor_Doncov Thank you! I’ll play with the color of the path, interesting observation. I guess I was so obsessed with the greens that the path didn’t catch my eye :wink:
@pat2 Thank you for your comment!