Improving the Scottish landscape

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A couple of years ago we went on a family holiday to Oban on the west coast of Scotland. I took a lot of photographs of the Scottish landscape during our stay, so many that I’ve still not edited them all.

I’ve taken a rough, colour image taken on a family break near Oban, converted it to black and white and softened the focus. See below for the before and after pictures.

I kept returning to one particular landscape shot I had taken. It had a lot of shadows and it didn’t quite look right, but I felt I must be able to do something with it.

As I often do, I took at look at some YouTube videos for inspiration. I watched several different videos and eventually decided I’d convert the original image to black and white. I also used several different layers and light settings to soften the focus.

I am going to break with convention by revealing the edited image first. Here is the ‘after’ image of this particular slice of the Scottish landscape once I had finished working on it.

Here’s the black and white image which looks a bit more atmospheric and moody.

Here’s what the picture looked like beforehand. It’s a nice landscape, but I just don’t think it does the scene justice.

Scottish landscape, landscape photography
The original image I took of the Scottish landscape near Oban.

While I think I improved the image, there are improvements I’d like to make. the clouds in the sky weren’t quite as dramatic in black and white as I’d have hoped and some of the contrast is a bit heavy in places.

That said, I think the image does work better in black and white. The edits only took a few minutes and so this has been a useful exercise. I’ve discovered the limits and capabilities of this kind of editing and I’ll hopefully put it to greater use in future.

Do pop a comment below telling me which version of the image you prefer. Also, if you have any ideas for improving the picture further, let me know as I am always keen to hear other people’s suggestions.

2 thoughts on “Improving the Scottish landscape”

  1. Hi John, you have to love YouTube, there is a video for anything and everything! I actually like both photos, although the coloured one looks a bit washed out in the top half. I’m a big fan of dramatic clouds, but maybe that would have been too much in your black and white image as the bottom half is quite dramatic… My laptop died (it was a long time coming, the screen pixilated every time I moved/ touched/ breathed on it). I’m hoping my new computer will give me inspire me to go through and finally get on top of my folders of unedited photos… Or are they something that goes hand in hand with loving photography?


    1. Folders full of unedited photographs? This is definitely a sign of loving photographs! And yes, YouTube is a great way to get photographic inspiration. Interesting what you say about the black and white landscape shot. You see I wasn’t sure about the bottom left corner. Half of me things it’s just a bit too dark.

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