This image is mine. It's the final edit. I am just as critical of my images (if not more so) than others might be. I have learned that in order to step up my game, I needed to be. When I first looked at the original I considered tossing it into the trash and moving on. But I thought it might be a good learning exercise for me. I really love the end result. Here is where I started:
I knew it needed help. So I started playing with it. I have started a new (learned) editing technique of adjusting the highlights, shadows, blacks, whites, clarity and vibrance in Lightroom. I also cropped it to get rid of that annoying branch at the top.
I like this edit much better, but I was still not happy. I was dreaming of autumn colors and thought I would processes it with the acquired by Google Nik Color Efex Pro. I used the Indian Summer setting to turn all the leaves a rusty gold. My buddy Jim Begley took a look and said, you know it would look more natural if you paint back in some of the green. A DUH! of course it would, I'm glad I thought of it (thanks Jim). I took it back into Photoshop and layer masked some green and yellows back in to create the final image seen above.
Critique your own images. Keep striving to make yourself the best photographer you want to be. Don't be afraid to play with and learn your software. I am truly surprised on how far software has come (or maybe it's always been there and I am now learning how to use it).