Lens-Artists Challenge #134 – From Forgettable to Favorite


“We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow.”

H.G. Wells

Here in the U.S., the phrase “Your underwear is showing” is used when others see something we’d prefer they didn’t. This week we’re hoping you’ll show us a few images that may not have met your original expectations but that through editing you’ve turned into “keepers”. For example, I edited my opening image using a texture overlay around the edges to emphasize the ethereal quality of the flowers. It is also cropped to focus on the heart of the image and the morning dew. Its original (along with all of my other originals) is shown at the end of today’s post.

bouquet of dead leaves

“Our ancestors have invented, we can at least innovate.”

Amit Kalantri

I created the leaf image above for a photography class focused on extracting a subject from a larger group of subjects. The idea was to find and capture beauty where it was least expected. For my submission I used a group of dead leaves I’d gathered from the ground. The black background was extended via photoshop, as was a bit of added contrast. The contrast brought some vibrance to the subject and protected the reflection in the lower part of the image.


“If something is perfect, then there is nothing left. There is no room for imagination.”

Tite Kubo

I have a clear memory of the sunrise shown in the image above, which was quite simply astoundng. The location is about 90 minutes’ drive from my home, followed by a bit of a hike to the location. To arrive and be ready to shoot before dawn is quite a commitment for a night owl like me. I went with a friend / fellow-photographer which gave me some extra motivation. I’ve often said that if I’m waking that early there had better be a heck of a show 😊, and what a show it was! Not only was it glorious, but a year later a hurricane destroyed the very small beach and took down all of the trees that had stood in the water. Timing, as always, is everything. As you’ll see in my original, the only edit was removing branches from the image edges to allow the single tree to stand alone.


“Practice does not make perfect. Imperfect makes us practice.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Speaking of trees, the copse above is meant to illustrate what happens when your subject is too far away for a “foot zoom”. This particular grouping stood on the opposite side of a large lagoon, which held the reflection I visualized as a key element for a circular composition. Fortunately, today’s technology delivers large enough files to allow cropping when positioning oneself simply isn’t possible. I framed the circle with a square crop, and because the colors of the day were drab and flat, used Nik Silver Efex Pro to convert the scene to B&W.


“We make our discoveries through our mistakes.”

Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

Earlier this year I photographed the family of a good friend’s daughter. The timing was built around the baby’s schedule – thereby putting us in mid-day sun on a beautiful but highlight-filled day. I cropped the image, removed the post of an umbrella I’d used to shade the scene, and did some P/S work on the blown out sky. Fortunately the little one was an adorable, happy baby, thereby making the day much more fun than it otherwise might have been.

As many of us mentioned in last week’s posts, photography is more about “seeing” than shooting. Used effectively, editing can help us to realize our vision by overcoming technical challenges and/or by facilitating our artistic interpretations. I’ve included the originals of today’s images below, despite my reluctance to “show my underwear” 🙂. Here’s hoping you’re willing to share similar experiences demonstrating your use of editing to improve results. Please remember to link to my original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.

We very much enjoyed your responses to Amy’s “Photography Journey” challenge last week. It was great fun learning more about all of you – where you started and the paths you’ve followed to arrive where you are today. We are excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be hosted by Sheetal of Sheetal Thinks Aloud. Be sure to check out her ever-interesting blog and watch for her post next Saturday at noon EST. Until then, stay safe and be kind.


195 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #134 – From Forgettable to Favorite

    • Thanks Sylvia. Botany was such a beautiful spot. I’d heard about the storm wrecking it but haven’t been out there since. As for the leaves, I’d never had given that a go if not for our class, and was pleased with the result.

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    • Many thanks I.J., I too enjoyed seeing the responses – always interesting to share perspectives on editing. Each of us brings our own personal slant to it. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this one!

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  18. Fabulous, Tina! I too am in love with the first one – but all of them are wonderful works of art. The brown leaves really speak directly to me – I could easily have them on my wall.

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  20. Tina, your brown leaves are amazing. The cropping made a huge difference, taking them from ordinary to spectacular. I still have no idea how you edited the first photo, but that one may be a favorite of mine for all times. It should be a book cover for a romance novel. 🙂

    • Well for those of us who LOVE leaves Andrew…. 😊! But seriously, that is my favorite of this series. A breath of new life to their faded beauty. As for the week ahead, a dismal, rainy forecast but there are worse things, right? My family in NJ is up to about 18 inches and still snowing

  21. Do I need to be kind? LOL 😉

    First, Botany Bay. That’s a beautiful sunrise sky. (I presume it to be sunrise. If it’s a sunset one, still quite pretty.) Botany Bay … does it have a similar history to the more infamous Botany Bay in Australia, or the other Botany Bay reference in ST: Wrath of Khan? Or, is it name only? In the old days of film (I’m still intrigued by film), I probably would have tried different camera angles to get the lone tree view. If I was unable to do that, get the possible image, then cut it out during the development process. It sounds like a lot of work, but I consider no different from the “new” way we do it with a computer.

    H/T to John: I have to get cracking on backing up my files.

    Stay well, stay extra safe.

    • No relation David, just a name. And yes, sunrise. As for the angle, there was a tiny beach (since washed away) and no possible angle other than the one I chose. A crop IMHO would have lost too much of the beauty of the sky and water. Personal preference. That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla, right? 😊

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    • LOL thanks Sue. SOOC is always the goal but sometimes conditions are less than optimal and editing can be very helpful. Even Ansel Adams said 12 significant images in any one year is an excellent crop! Of course, he didn’t have photoshop LOL.

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    • Brave indeed Sarah, and very much appreciated! I too prefer to keep my underwear to myself but editing is a nice tool to have in the arsenal for times when conditions get in the way of our vision. I find it especially important when traveling as conditions often disappoint and there are restrictions on the amount of time we can spend in various places.

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  25. What wonderful examples, Tina, and a great theme. I really enjoyed this one. That sunset shot in Botany Bay and the curling leaves have captivated me. The vivid colors, composition, and light are fabulous. Showing us all your edits is very helpful in illuminating what’s essential in an image and what is distracting or less important. I hope you had a chance to go out on a photo shoot today. As I mentioned, we are in the middle of a snowstorm today. It looks like winter waited until February to bring all the snow! Take care and enjoy the day.

    • Many thanks Patti. I too enjoyed this one and have also really enjoyed seeing the other responses. “Essential vs distracting” is a great way to describe the essence of editing – well said! As for the day, fairly miserable here this week too. No snow of course but cold, damp and dreary with lots of rain. Definitely not a day for photography. 😩

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  28. Tina, you could photograph the yellow pages (remember phone books?) and it would be a work of art! Wow, I loved your images and your explanation of the editing details. What an amazing difference in each image from their original to finished product! It really takes an excellent eye and instinct to get the images to “favorite.” You just “know” when you’ve achieved it. Great theme!

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  30. Beautiful work! That circular tree and reflection is my favorite of the bunch, but that sunrise is spectacular, as well.
    I am looking forward to meeting the new challenger next week!

    • And I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with John! Glad those drew your eye. Interestingly, the circular tree original was used for a recent class our photo club did on editing. 8 members each took a pass at editing the original and presenting a final result. It was really interesting to see what each of them came up with. 2 or 3 saw it as I did, but others went in a completely different direction. A very fun exercise.

      • It will be an interesting week for me. On Friday, my computer “bricked” on Friday. Yesterday, I bought a new computer and neither my Skylum nor Adobe software will operate right now. I have support emails in to both companies involving licensing.
        I own Lightroom v. 6 (not the subscription version). The serial number is listed on my online account, but when I load it into Lightroom 6’s installer, it tells me that serial number is for a version earlier than v.6.
        Luminar AI won’t let me type text into the fields where I need to put in my credentials, so it won’t operate at all.
        Good thing for this week’s challenge that I have all my original and final image files on my backup drives and/or online, so I will be able to create my Thursday challenge post. 🙂

      • YIKES John, what a mess. I never update my O/S until months after it’s release because the software products I use often lag behind. I love the Nik tools and updated last time on release. Suffered through crashes for weeks until the last release finally stabilized it. I feel your pain on the versioning my friend – good luck!


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