Take 2: Just leave

I live a ten minute walk from the Avery Hill Winter Garden. They are currently running a photo competition so I grabbed a keen photographer friend and we both went over there at the weekend to take some pictures and try to inspire each other.

I got one or two nice enough pictures but will probably go back at another point over the next week or so to get some more as I don’t feel I have anything especially competition worthy yet. I always like to have pictures to practice editing with however and this little photo escapade has proven to be quite educational in terms of trying to create more interest in images even if I feel I haven’t necessarily achieved anything particularly brilliant straight from the camera. It has taught me to look more closely at images I might normally dismiss at first glance*.

I’ve mentioned before how much I find editing a bit of a bind, but it is undeniably a pretty nice feeling to elevate a photo that maybe didn’t appear to shine very much at first. I liked the composition of this image of leaves, so I took some time with it to see how I could introduce some dynamism into what was originally quite a flat image. It was a very overcast afternoon and most of my photographs had minimal contrast.



I made edits in black and white and with some split toning as well, as the lines and shapes look good in monochrome, but decided in the end to go with colour to stress the luscious, deep, shiny green of the leaves. This picture went through a good number of incarnations until I rested on making a final colour edit.


What I did in Lightroom for the final edit:

  • Raised clarity
  • Deepened the blacks
  • Upped the vibrance a fair way but slightly lowered the saturation
  • Made a gentle s-shaped tone curve (lights were slightly raised, and darks & shadows slightly lowered)
  • Yellow saturation and luminance were slightly raised
  • Green luminance was also slightly raised
  • Added a brush stroke to the surrounding leaves towards the edges of the image with slightly lowered saturation and slightly lowered clarity, just to make the central bigger leaves pop a little more

*Like a Kinder egg, this image also contains a little hidden secret surprise. When zoomed in closely, the raindrops on the front leaf reflect the central point of the Winter Garden’s glass roof. You can view the full size image by clicking here.


When you take time to move about and look at familiar things from a slightly different perspective… Take time to just take a breath and absorb your surroundings… These moments can take your breath away and change how you relate to the world. 

Well Hall Pleasaunce

The Well Hall Pleasaunce is only down the road from me and yet after nearly two years of living in Eltham I hadn’t visited it until today. It is specatular. Even though I was there on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon there were not many people around at all. I have no idea why. It was extremely peaceful and beautiful. The various ponds teeming with dragonflies. I think it would make for a stunning location for portraits.

I’ve lived in South East London for the vast majority of my life. It’s not exactly the first place you might think of when picturing beautiful surroundings but it really does have its shining gems. Besides which, there’s beauty in everything of course.

I have no idea where the cat came from.