When I got home from the Colorado trip, one week at the peek of fall color there, almost every image was somehow "wrong" based on what I was expecting them to look like. Many had an indistinct almost blurry look in the fine details. It was crushing, given I'd coughed up a lot of money and spent a whole lot more time than just that week getting ready and making travel arrangements, etc. Nevermind and credit card nightmare at the beginning and a travel nightmare on the way home.....
Ultimately the problem with the pics, I think, was that I had made a setting in the camera to take double exposures of an image - one a little high and one a little low ( this is called bracketing). I should have unselected this setting when I'd completed the shots I wanted to take but just plain forgot and took almost every shot of the trip with this setting on. Combine this setting with some wind and you get some motion in your pic you most definitely do no want. Imagine every leaf on a tree having moved a quarter inch during the two exposures. This did something weird to the metering as well and the exposures were often wrong.
So, lesson learned. Always reset the camera to some minimal default condition at the end of each photo, or each group of photos intended to have the same look.
The image was edited in Camera Raw. If the photos you take are filed as either RAW or NEF format Photoshop opens the files in Camera Raw Editor which is just editing software for adjusting colors, exposures, and the other basics that aren't gimmicky Photoshop tricks like putting horns and a tail on your mother in law. :)
So, in Camera Raw, there's a slider for Saturation. Slide it all the way to the left and it takes every bit of color out of the pic - ergo it's now black and white. From there just some adjusting with a brush for exposure to show off certain areas and to bring out some details in the otherwise blown out featureless sky. I'm thinking about putting a prettier sky in there just for more and better interest. That's the real power and strength of Photoshop - the tricky and gimmicky abilities to change and swap things within images.
Which is why I'm now calling Photography..........The Art of Things That Didn't Happen........
Many many many many pics you see anymore are fabrications, composites of many images to make the best possible presentation of the subject of the photo. Basically anymore if you see a pic and go WOW and wonder how the hell the photographer managed to accomplish the impossible with available light HE DIDN'T, he edited or changed the living shit out of it in Photoshop.
Don't get me wrong. There are guys who are absolute masters of setting up lights and staging shots to capture both flowing motion and crystal clear sharp images of the very same subject over two or three seconds with just one or two shutter activations on the same pic BUT these are studio and lighting wizards who also understand the intricacies of their cameras better than painters understand blending colors.
Photography is the perfect blend of science and art. One might learn all the capabilities of his camera before he dies, but probably not. They're jam packed with features that can be used separately or combined for different effects or to overcome problem lighting conditions in situ, which is almost always your first barrier to taking the pic you want to take.
But I'd better stop talking now before everybody goes to sleep. :)