Witch haze (+ 2 re-edits)

Cropped some off the left & took down the saturation in the orange areas on the right. Thoughts?

And now one in a 4x5 crop -

Dipping back into my Fall Cypress tour in November 2020. The scene was pretty arresting IRL and was taken just as the sun was cresting the tree line. The transition from deep shade on the left to brighter fog on the right gives it implied energy and while not movement, a sense of an ever-changing environment. The shaded areas remind me of a Bruegel painting in the browns and low contrast. The cypresses in this area were amazing and grouped together very differently as you moved through the water. It’s a backwater attached to Caddo Lake on the extreme end of east Texas.

Specific Feedback Requested

While I do love it for its wildness, I’m not sure it works as well as it might because of the light and dark areas being so divided. It is what it is, but who knows. I have a similar shot that doesn’t have this transitional story layer and I’m torn between the two as to which is the better shot. Even if they’re worth comparing. But anyway…thoughts? Emotions?

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Lumix G9
LUMIX G VARIO 12-35mm F2.8
Focal Length 23.0 mm (46mm equiv.)
f/5.6 | 1/30 sec | ISO 250
Handheld in a kayak freezing my butt off

Lr for majority of processing - managing highlights in bg, yellow in leaves + luminance & saturation, lots of adjustment brush work in the tree branches & moss, some dehaze brush to enhance and even out fog on the water, but mostly that’s real. Sharpening, texture & a little NR. Ps to remove distractions in the water.

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Hey Kris, I like the shot. I can feel the stillness in the air and the fog gives the image a very quiet feel. The small yellow leaves tie in nicely with the low sun entering on the right. The only thing missing is the monster rising up out of the gloom.

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This is gorgeous. I love the muted colors, with the pops of yellow leaves and the incipient sunrise lending some joy to the scene. I could see cropping from the left, so the left side is close to the leftmost yellow leaves, so the wash of yellow color would extend all the way across the frame.

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Excellent scene, with great deal and color. I quite like @Bonnie_Lampley 's crop suggestion. I also might play with slightly desaturating the colored sky along the right edge, to keep attention in the frame, but quite minor. Really good one.

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Thanks @Bonnie_Lampley, @Merle_Cook & @Harley_Goldman - I’ve taken some of your suggestions and put them into another image in the OP. How does it compare?

I like the crop. As to my desaturation suggestion, I think it looked better as posted now that I see it, but it is pretty dang minor either way. Real nice image.

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What Harley said. Nice shot.

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Kris, this does have a nice mysterious feeling. I like the contrast between the yellow leaves and the foggy distance on the right. While your crop is an improvement, I’d suggest taking it even further (maybe to a 4 x 5 on the original)

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I agree with Mark S on the crop - 4x5 is more what I was thinking. The idea would be to have bits of yellow touching each side of the frame.

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Thanks @Mark_Seaver & @Bonnie_Lampley - I’ve added a crop at these proportions. Very hard to do since it cuts off trees in both directions. Such is a cypress swamp.

Stunning! I vote for the second one as I’d hate to lose any of the orange sunrise light. Spectacular trees in wonderful light!

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Thanks, @Diane_Miller - I’m seriously tempted to do another workshop down in the cypresses. It’s like being on another planet.

I prefer the original version. I’m wondering what a very slight blue cast would do to this image. Would the yellows become even more noticeable?

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I think it would. I have two shots of other scenes where the fog is much more blue. I can post them over the next few days in keeping with NPN rules.

Quite the mood with the morning fog and light, Kris. FWIW I like the crop of the second image, but the orange glow of the rising sun in the first scene. I also like the last one as well because it seems to have an air of mystery to it with the sunlight cropped off. It looks like you did very well photographically on your Fall Cyprus tour.

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Thanks Ed, it was a great trip. Not just for experiencing the environment from a kayak, but the # of ‘keepers’ was pretty high. Not every session (one sunrise netted one picture), but overall I think I have enough for a photo book which is partly why I’m putting them up here - to make sure I’ve got the best out of every image.

This is a very good image, I really like the mood. IMO the fog is very important, so I do not want to crop at the right side. However, the orange part to the right somewhat take the attention away from the tree with the yellow leaves. Hence, I like that you reduced the saturation of the orange in areas to the right. One idea would be to take that even further as examplified below. I also darkened the URC somewhat.

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Thanks, @Ola_Jovall - you’ve produced another good version. I used a graduated filter on the right to dim things a bit, but maybe didn’t take it far enough.