Finding the Best Compromise

Today’s image was taken on the same walk as Tall Trees Big Sky, and Solo Walker. I can honestly say that the images I shot that day were more instinctive than deliberate and it was only back home that the possibilities became obvious. And in each case I elected to produce a B&W conversion, and in each case to go for drama.

Today’s image, however, is the one that caused me the biggest problem. Let’s start with the unedited RAW original.

IMG_6196It was the figure that caught my attention and I liked the way the tall poplars dwarfed that figure. The light was flat and uninspiring – the image was shot with nothing really expected of it. It was the success of Solo Walker that prompted me to consider a similar treatment for this shot. And here is the initial derived image.

IMG_6196_1The white gash of bare sky straight down the centre is over-powering. I’ve wondered since if I could have found a POV that would have avoided that, but by stepping leftwards sufficiently far to avoid that ‘gap’ I would have lost the curve and spacing of the left-sided trees. And, incidentally I removed the post that was just left of the figure.

So, if the image was to be worth anything, the gap had to be removed.

IMG_6196_2It was too big to completely fill, so I made my first crop and cloned out the remainder of the gap. Not totally successfully in my opinion. This first crop was smallish: it helped preserve the sense of height, but somehow the image now felt a little suffocating.

So, I went back and re-cropped the original conversion more radically and then cloned out most of the remaining sky, but not all. I left some so as to allow some limited light into the centre of the image, and I also lightened the image slightly. That somehow felt better but the letter-box shape meant that I lost that feeling of height.

IMG_6196_wpHow would you crop this and what are your feelings about that white gash? Which image works best?

All three B&W images can be seen enlarged and with better quality if you click on them.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
This entry was posted in Black & White and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Finding the Best Compromise

  1. oneowner says:

    In my mind, the gap between the trees at the top of the frame are at odds. The gap seems to point down but it’s pointed at the path and not the walker. I like the landscape crop but I would clone the walker so as he is directly under the point of the gap in the trees. But even that may throw off the nice balance in the frame. Your last version works for me.


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for that constructive comment, Ken. I hadn’t considered moving the walker altho I can see your reasoning. I will experiment, but I’m wondering if he will look a little over-large placed further away down the path. This I suspect will be one of those ‘if only’ images that never quite makes it. All part of the learning experience…


  2. says:

    I loved the negative space and it enforced the curve in the path. I would have enhanced the green a bit and left it just so. I am always drawn to pathways and trees planted symmetrically : ) Nice photo !


  3. Lisa Gordon says:

    I definitely agree about the white “gash,” and I really like the way you handled it in the 3rd image.
    Have a great weekend!


  4. Nelson says:

    When it comes to post-processing I am an apostle of less is better, for me I prefer the second photo


  5. Chillbrook says:

    Hi Andy, I think I might have used the clone tool to give the trees on the right more height thus closing the gap. You wouldn’t lose the sense of height in the original aspect, in fact you’d enhance it, and the white space would be reduced. How high you ‘grew’ the trees would be a bit of trial and error. I much prefer the lighter tones in the final image. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Adrian. Many thanks for the suggestion. You’re the first to spot that the third image is not only a new crop but also a slightly better re-process. I think the original version was just a little over-harsh. I will experiment with your suggestion. Looks like a wet day in prospect today, so I can’t paint windows! Came back from London last thursday with 180 images so there’s some work to be done


      • Chillbrook says:

        Enjoy your processing. We’ve had a few thunderstorms this morning. Bright sunshine and very warm now. An evening trip to the beach might be in order! 🙂


  6. Len says:

    I think you ended up with the best version in the last image Andy. One thing that might have the walker stand out a bit more would be to reduce the clarity on the road and trees maybe making the walker pop more. The amount of clarity makes him/her blend in a bit. Just a thought.


Comments are closed.