This time I have a photo which should go well with the current theme of 'atmosphere'.
When we visited the Frankland River region in the south of Western Australia earlier this year, we were able to experience a great foggy morning. We stayed in a slightly more remote location overlooking a large paddock and the best parts of staying there were the peace of quiet which we experienced, as well as, being able to freely explore the area of what used to be a farm in the past. Having walked around on a previous evening, I knew that the area had wonderful potential should fog be present in the morning. There were lots of trees around, a small creek and also a river nearby. They all made for interesting compositions and fortunately the conditions allowed me to take lots of photos.
This was the kind of photography that I was hoping to get into for a long time. I have seen and admired many photos of woodlands and trees in the fog and they all kept on my interest going and it was amazing to finally be able to experience it. I have to admit that I am not a morning person and have missed out on many great mornings because of that, and especially so when we were at home. During our travels I make a greater effort to get up for sunrises and moments like these are a wonderful reward for that effort.
When I was walking around on that morning, I was looking for a couple of things - interesting foreground elements and/or a layered scene where different hazy layers showed interesting dimension and depth to the scene. This image falls into that second category. What I liked especially was how the large tree made for a great main subject and how the other trees all faded gradually into the fog. There was also a lovely light glow coming from behind the main subject and for me it accentuated it very nicely by increasing the contrast around it. It made it even more prominent. Another aspect of the scene that got my attention was the way the two closest trees kind of stood against each other with the outward facing branches balancing each other.
I converted the original image to black and white using NIK Silver Efex plugin. This is my favourite tool for black and white conversions as it offers a lot of control on various aspects of the conversion. I then fine tuned the image in Photoshop, concentrating mostly on dodging and burning to build on the depth and mood already present in this scene. I darkened the foreground field substantially as I was weary of having a lot of harsh texture present there otherwise. The texture itself is not so much a problem, however, I find that highly structured textures often look very rough and ghastly when sharpening a smaller version of the image for web presentation. Too much sharpening and they look like they were chopped up with a scalpel, too little and they could end up smudgy and washed out. Darkening allowed me to find a good solution of the issue (I hope).
I was a little bit in two minds whether to go with colour or black and white here but in the end I felt that monochrome would bring out the atmosphere a little bit more. I might be tempted to work on the colour one in the future as that contained a lot of subtle tones and nuances as well. In any case, the day when this photo was taken will now forever be remembered as the one when Darkelf Photography discovered fog :-)
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