The Problem with New Tools

The problem with new tools is that we tend to get caught up in their newness, which can result in their overuse/abuse at the expense of the resulting image. These two versions of Natural Water Garden perfectly illustrate this idea (click on the images to view the full size versions).

This image was processed shortly after I purchased Silver Efex Pro a couple of years ago. Even though this version has been accepted into a handful of juried exhibitions, it's clearly over-sharpened and "crunchy" as a result of my, at the time, newfound infatuation with the "structure" tools within Silver Efex. A clear case of letting the tools determine the outcome.

This version was re-processed today using a more subtle process, with just a minimal amount of structure applied within Silver Efex, and some light dodging and burning applied within Photoshop to help draw the viewer's eye into and around the busy composition. This smoother, more refined processing works much better than the heavy-handed processing of the original.