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Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Autumn colors - what are your thoughts?

Hi guys!

The fall / autumn is in full swing and I finally got some time to jump right into it. I spend whole day on driving and shooting around one of my nearest mountain ranges. I got one photo for you today, as I find your critiques very informative and inspiring. I'm happy to hear your thoughts on this one!

It was a foggy morning with no direct sunlight. I found this small vignette of landscape at one place, right after sunrise. I wanted to leave that morning feeling by leaving sky blue, but at the same time (to add more contrast) I saturated and warmed leaves' color. I've also added the contrast to the mist closest to the foreground, to make it more white and prominent. I left the most far ground little greyish and blueish (to convey perspective better).

Compositionally, I chose to have the two trees in (almost) symmetrical distance from the center. Also, there are some lines pointing toward the center of the frame, and one strong diagonal across the whole frame. I feel like a right top corner is little empty, providing slight unbalance to the frame, but I really have no idea how to overcome this, except of pasting in a Superman. ;)

On the funny side, I feel like this shot is little in a Bob Ross style. ;D What do you think? Did I manage to do the justice to the early autumn morning in the forest? What would you do different, if any?

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user-146450's picture

I like the saturation and I like the frame. I don't think that it is unbalanced right top corner, the darker clouds are enough of an interest there and quite honestly, (for me) if there was something there (unless a mountain) like more trees, it would seem too busy. Nice job.

Agree with Loretta, this is a pretty decent picture. I'm a bit on the fence about the twigs at the top, I think the image would be better off without them.

One more remark: If your subject is made of multiple objects, try to pick an odd number, there's even a "power of 3" rule.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Deleted User - thanks for your thoughts. Didn't have a mountain with me that day, so had to left the upper right empty. But if that doesn't look that unbalanced that I'm happy. :)

Thorsten Westheider - I'm not so sure about those twigs myself, although they sum up with the ones on the left to form some frame around the upper left corner, that's why I left them. I made (a real quick) cloning out to check out how it would look without them. I was afraid that sky may be too empty, but I think it may look ok, giving it some more work. WDYT?

And yes - I'm aware of a rule of odds. But I don't always use it. Here, I didn't have much choice given such composition. And I think the two works here quite well. :)

joseph cole's picture

great shot Andrzej wish my colors looked like that.. nice clouds, fog, contrast . those tall pines definitely help out the composition all in all great find

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Thanks Joseph!

Colors are just matter of work with contrast / saturation / brightness - if you're shooting forests at fall colors are already there. You just have to help them get out from the flat and desaturated RAW file. ;)

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

I've made another edit, based on Thorsten Westheider suggestion. I've removed the branch from the top, helped the sky blend little better and cropped it ever so slightly from the top. I think it may work little better than my previous edit. WDYT?

Yeah, I like that better!

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Thank you for all your help with this one! :)

Trevor McGoldrick's picture

This is an excellent shot, friend.

anthony crouch's picture

Beautiful picture... sigh.. one day... , I am new to fstoppers. Threads like this are such a great way to learn. Thank you. Curious how did you make the mist have more contrast in front without affecting the rest of the photo, do any of you recommend a good lightroom course that goes into this kind of detail. Hope these questions are not inappropriate on this thread.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Hi Anthony! You're more then welcome to ask questions - after all, that's the point of community. To learn by sharing and asking. :)

I did enhance the mist in photoshop, but for lightroom I could suggest using an adjustment brush with "+" whites and/or "-" dehaze sliders. Just be gentle with it.

As for starting with lightroom, I remember that I've learned a great deal from a guy called Anthony Morganti - he's got lots of materials and goes really deep with explanation of tools. Check his videos out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AnthonyMorganti/playlists

anthony crouch's picture

Thank you , much appreciated

Anthony Morganti - check. I figured you were working with Photoshop Andrzej, it's somewhat awkward to remove stuff in LR.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Yeah, nowdays I'm doing most of my work in Photoshop. I do some light-balancing in Lightroom and sometimes some initial contrast / color edits, but I land most of my images in Photoshop anyways. ;)

user-187388's picture

A beautiful image Andrzej. It does remind me though of a book I have on early landscape painting in Australia. The early settlers were mainly from England and when they painted the Australian landscape they made it look just like europe. The pictures they made are not recognizable as anywhere in Australia.This has a painterly look to it. I do like it. Just musing about what is real and what isn't.As far as rules are concerned I think we sometimes overthink them.Just a lovely image.

They're not rules, exactly, just recipes for what works and what doesn't.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Thank you Geoff for your thoughts. Although I don't know much about painting history I did want to achieve this painterly quality to the image. It just felt right at the moment. Although this is central Europe (Poland, to be exact) I got curious by the fact of European painters and their different take on Australian landscapes. I'll dig into that!

As for "what is real" - I don't think a RAW file would do this justice. You all know how RAW comes out flat and desaturated SOOC. But nothing here was "added" except for different types of contrasts, saturation and D&B. And, of course, I've removed some distracting stuff like branches and dust spots. ;)

Here's an older shot of mine that is somehow similar. Same division, fall colors - but 3 trees balancing what is happening on the left.

user-187388's picture

Classic image Thorsten.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Yeah, that's really nice composition and light you got there. I also like the fact that one of the subjects (trees) is different color than the others. Are you willing to give it another try with post-production? I see that your style and technique have developed over the time quite significantly, so it would probably come out very different from this one. :)