The soft approach (+1 re-edit)

Here it is with the little birch removed -


Fall is creeping in slowly, but surely. Now the bugs are reduced in number it’s safe to hike in the woods again. I can never resist a trail shot and so stopped a few times on the Jerry Lake Ice Age Trail segment. This is down off the esker from my other shot. The clouds moved in and filtered the sunlight nicely.

In processing I attempted to keep things reasonably soft - increased texture, but reduced clarity. Kept the saturation levels low and the contrast, too. Not too much hopefully. I want it to be inviting and intriguing. So many landscapes are sharpened to death and I don’t want to go there with this image.

Specific Feedback Requested:

Did I succeed in that attempt? How else could I enhance this scene?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Is this a composite? No

Tripod and CPL

Lr for a crop and some lens correction. Also messed with the color sliders a bit so there would be more balance. Judicious use of radial and gradient filters to keep your eyes where I want them.


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This image is so evocative for me for it looks very much like what I saw in Alaska most recently. I walked down so many such trails there. The early signs of fall are all there with sporadic yellow leaves here and there. All is green. That lone white tree stands out. Is that a benefit or a detraction to the overall image? I like the busted logs in the foreground.

I like the yellow birch on the right side of the image. The curly, papery thin bark is a hallmark for the species. I think that the image is sharp enough and like how you positioned the path in your composition. Looks like an excellent place to spend some time exploring. Well done…Jim

I think you achieved your goal Kristen. The path through forest and your processing do make this very inviting. The light and color are pleasant. Only suggestion I have is to maybe clone out the white birch on the right.

Thanks much - @Igor_Doncov, @Jim_Zablotny & @Eva_McDermott for your insights & comments. I’ve added an image with that little birch cloned away. I didn’t notice it at all when I was processing, nor in the field.

Kris, I just critiqued your other “woodland path” B&W image, and this color one is also very well done, for a lot of the same reasons. The spacing of the trees creates a very well balanced composition, and again the visual weight of the tree on the left creates a strong entry point to the image. Removing the little birch is a helpful tweak, not only is it bright, but the fact that it is a diagonal line also draws a lot of attention to it. I also love this time of year in the woods, when the ground cover starts the earliest transition to autumn. Nicely done…

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Thanks again @Ed_McGuirk - it isn’t easy managing the chaos, but after a decade in the woods I can recognize a good composition when I come across one. Then I give it my best. Looks like the birch removal was a good idea!

I liked the scene but wondered if creating better separation within the green elements might add some texture to the overall pervasive green-ness. Here’s what I came up with.

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Thanks, @Tony_Kuyper - the color separation is an interesting idea and one I’ve played with before. Will have to give it a try and see if I can balance that with managing texture/local contrast.