I recently went on a scouting trip to Amelia Island in northern Florida. While I was there, I visited Fort Clinch state park among the other state parks in the area. As I drove down the entrance road, I noticed how incredible the trees and forest looked. So many different textures and shapes to entice any photographer. The problem is, how do I make sense out of the chaos? One way I use often is isolation. I took this photo of a single tree that stood out among the crowd. I loved the diagonal shape of it and the palm fronds that surrounded it. 

fort clinch

While I like this photo, the "chaos" part of it still exists in my opinion. Even isolation is not working the way I want it to here. So, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve. I brought the image into NIK's Color Efex Pro and applied the Glamor Glow filter. This filter has an amazing ability to "de-clutter" for lack of a better term. I've used it on water that had too many little things floating on it and looked messy, forests and trees, flowers, and other scenes. It's a very handy filter that's good for more than just making people look like super models.

Even still, it didn't do enough so I performed another trick of mine, my dodge and burn layer. You can see a video on how to do this here. Kate's Dodge and Burn    

I selectively brightened and darkened certain areas of the image to give it an almost etherial look and feel. It also helped in creating more depth. How you use light, whether in the field or in your processing, greatly determines the mood of your image and where the viewer's eye will fall. Creating areas of high contrast will draw a viewer in and hold their attention...at least for a short while. By heavily darkening the background leaves and brightening only some of the palm fronds in the front as well as the leaves that lay on the branch, I've chosen to give this image a different feel. It's my privilege as an artist to guide the viewer however I wish. In this case, I wanted to emphasize the feeling of a dark forest with a hint of light to break through that darkness. I hope I succeeded.