The Misty Lane

The Misty Lane

This image, taken at f/22 with the 75 mm. Ross Xpres lens on my Ensign Selfix 16-20, is a good example of what can be accomplished by vigorous cropping and creative processing in Photoshop.  Although not of gallery quality, this is a pleasant and somewhat moody image of a road in the mist.  The original image (see below) was a thoroughly unremarkable color photograph of a lane in light mist taken on Kodak VC-160 film.

The mist was not thick enough to produce much effect.  However, on viewing the original image, I thought that there might still be a picture hiding within.  After converting the image to grayscale in Photoshop, I cropped out the busy sky and trees, isolating the lines of trees and road converging into the distance.  Cropping off the distracting, light-colored space between the trees at both sides, I anchored the image between dark tree trunks.  I then used the Curves function to accentuate the darker tonal values, darkening the trees at the beginning of the lane, and similarly accentuated the lighter values, brightening the early rays of the sun as they struck the end of the lane where the misty effect was most pronounced.

Misty Lane Original Image

The take-home lessons are twofold.  First, much of the artistry of photography occurs after the shutter clicks, and the same original image can be interpreted by the printer, be he/she at the sink or the mouse, in multiple ways.  Learn to scrutinize your photographs for interesting lines or elements that might be extracted to form the basis of an artistic picture.  Secondly, for those who still debate between digital and “real” photography, I would suggest that rescuing this image could have been done by traditional burning and dodging, but only by a master printer.  Using Photoshop, I drew out the essential monochrome elements of this image in about fifteen minutes- and didn’t have to clean out the sink!


Recently, a kind reader, Scott Bilotta from the International Directory of Camera Collectors, offered me another insight into the many images that can hide within a seemingly ordinary negative.  I must admit that I don’t think well in square format; as a landscape photographer, most things are side to side or, occasionally, up and down, but rarely square.  Scott reworked this image in Photoshop, using the square format to capture the critical elements in a way that I had not considered in my rectangular mindset.

The Misty Lane, Scott's Version

In this image, I think that the delicacy of the mist adds to the overall impression of early morning sun and colorful fallen leaves.  Thanks, Scott for showing me more creative possibilities.

4 thoughts on “The Misty Lane

  1. I met you at Pikes Market and I really appreciated your graciousness.
    Your photography and your insights are very inspiring to me.
    Thank you.
    Jeff R

  2. Thank you for the lovely feedback. I enjoyed meeting you, and am glad that the comments on my site are helpful.

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