During an agricultural tour for a leadership program, our group visited many locations in Sussex County. One stop was a commercial farm located in a rural town in Laurel, Delaware. The original farmhouse had long since been abandoned by previous owners, and behind the old house was a large dead tree, with spindly, bare branches, covered in vines – the kind of tree that is a perfect backdrop for a horror setting.
But we were nowhere near Halloween. It was a bright, hot mid-August day, and I snapped a picture of the house and the tree without much thought, possibly thinking I might be able to do something with it.
Here are the two original photos and as you can see, other than the cloud formations, the photos are rather unspectacular:
And here they are running them through the SnapSeed app (both) and Mextures app prior to SnapSeed for the tree shot:
For the house, I cropped out the pole, the back shed and most of the road in the foreground. In SnapSeed I processed the photo through HDR and Drama to exaggerate the detail and contrast, typically what I do if I want to convert to black and white. Next, I went into the black and white filter and decided on a dark option, but lightened the default with the glider. I went back into Tune Image and warmed the black and white ever so slightly to give it a very weak sepia-type of tone. I added a very cursory vignette and ended with a thin white frame with a slight burning/bleeding.
I was very pleased with how the tree turned out. I had tried the same steps above with this shot, and got some cool results, but I decided to set aside those choices and look at some of my other apps. One was Mextures which allows for layers of light leaks and filters. I added a filter that added the effect of a nighttime sky. It darkened the the color sky in the picture somewhat. Once added and saved, I brought the photo into SnapSeed and added HDR and Drama. That accentuated the light flecks. I added the vignette, changed the saturation and tweaked the blue with a warming filter. I finished with a plain black frame. I think it would work for a cover of a spooky novel. I knew I wanted to something with this old dead tree form. It was ho-hum straight out of the camera, but with some experimentation with photo apps, I’ve created an interesting photograph.