The Gentle Path to the Beyond

Your Favorite Inclement Shooting Conditions?

Okay, let’s take perfect weather, sunrise, and sunset off the list. So, do you prefer a rainy morning, a snowy evening, a good lightning storm at night, or what?

Daily Photo – The Gentle Path to the Beyond

The little train that carried me into Hakone started winding through misty mountains. The trees were thick and a fog was rolling in. I had a feeling that it would stay wet, moody, and fairly perfect. It had that heaviness that made you feel like it would remain like that for a few days, and it did.

Before I get on train rides, I have a wonderful but dangerous habit of loading up with pastries. Train stations seem to have nice little selections of all sorts of foreign twists on the usual subjects. And, since I consider myself an explorer, I thought it would be good to get a TON of pastries and try them all. It’s very nice… sitting there… looking out the train window at a new land… rain falling… eating pastries… (and I’m only a little ashamed to say that, upon arrival, my pastry bag was empty.)

The Gentle Path to the Beyond

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-01-04 15:27:04
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/11
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure Program
  • Exposure Bias

  • Susan

    Beautiful little path Trey- love the bokeh look here too – yes, I would be more than happy to walk down this path….pastry bag in hand of course! Always love your stories!

  • John Cox


    I love the little train into the hills. And yes, love those pastries too.

    Have yet to see a “magical” photo of the pirate ships on Lake Ashe 🙂

  • Wonderful shot; nature so harmoniously colored. Well done.

  • amy


  • Randy Dietmeyer

    Did you use Topaz’s new toy lens filter on this?

  • Beautifully done with falling leaves as if it were added but it does make the picture.I wish my skills were half as good I’d be happy.
    i take it the pastries were wait watchers? (wait and watch) at least they were enjoyable the bag was empty.

  • It like the bokeh effect – its post-processed, right? It creates a kind of toy/magical feel. I’m a sucker for paths and lanes like this 🙂

  • Steve

    Wow , cool shot trey, love this effect, not quite sure whats going on ,but it looks cool. TS/Bokeh etc etc and glorious colour..

  • I REALLY love how this piece turned. The crop (especially the fact that it is square) is awesome, and the compositing (at least my assumption) of the leaves into the work, combined with the use of what I assume are focal plane adjustments (again, my assumption) really really rocks this shot! This is fine art, my friend!

  • Amazing Trey! Just amazing. Another highlight of the year so far….

  • YOUR FAVORITE INCLEMENT SHOOTING CONDITIONS? – To be precise, I’d say an almost overcast day with occasional gaps in tall clouds, and the sun coming in at a 20°-30° angle under the clouds 🙂 It produces great shadows, interesting contrast, warm color, dramatic skies, lighting reflections and nice HDR results.

  • Oh my God, dude! This one is freakin’ awesome! How did you make this one?!

  • Simon Morris

    WOW, this is stunning Trey – wonderfully processed… I sure hope you explain to us all how this was achieved!
    I’m guessing maybe a Topaz plug-in? Just viewed the image again (for about the 10th time) and it looks very much like a tilt-shift image (probably not though)… almost toylike, excellent work! 🙂

  • L O V E, love it! The falling leaves are awesome! Although, I must say that I think the blur on the sides does not “flow” smoothly enough into the sharp middle.

  • Fantastic Trey – possibly my favourite of your photos to date, and I’ve been following for at least 3 years now!

    I’d love to know how you achieved this effect – post process, tilt-shift lens, or really wide aperture?

  • Dan

    Trey, the first thing I look at when I wake up is the window… If there’s nice fluffy clouds I love it.. if it’s blue and cloudless = boring :). I definitely get more ‘keen’ to go out if there are some clouds I feel it makes the image much more interesting (as you say make sure the bottom, middle and top) of the photo have something interesting in them.

    Today’s image is epic! nicely done, the bokeh leaves have been ‘tinkled’ with though right? lol. Must be good if everyone has to question it.

    Mind you it probably wouldn’t surprise me if you say they really were falling like that with all the magical places you visit :).


  • Great depth, distortion and color!

  • Oh yeah, I could see this photo illustrating a children’s book or fantasy novel. It looks like you’ve stumbled into another world.

    As everyone else has said, I hope you spill the beans and tell us how it was done!

  • MadWorld (Scientist)

    ok, imagine Leonardo DiCaprio lost in a dream within a dream, in an unknown island near Japan…working on an inception but at the same time falling in love with the architect. Chris Nolan gotta see this picture somehow! 😉

  • its really so amazing

  • What a cool image! This is really great! Have a look at this cool sunset I recently shot Let me know what you think.

  • Beautiful!!!

  • Richard (oldhickory)

    Wow… ulta interesting. Almost has a tilt shift look and the falling leaves are a great touch!

  • Gail in Montana

    Great photo of the Gentle Path, Trey. It does indeed look gentle, and I would love to walk down it, also. Shame on you for eating all those pastries, lol. I’m just jealous as I don’t dare eat them 😉 . Beautiful shot, thanks so much for sharing!!! Have a wonderful Monday. :-). And please, everyone, keep all the victims and the families who lost homes, in your prayers this week. Very sad!!! Thanks. 🙁

  • Beautiful photo. And I like how all of your photos seem to have an interesting story to go with them.

    We got snow really early a couple years ago during the night, the grass was still green and there were still leaves on the trees. After eating breakfast I went for a walk around the neighborhood and took photos of some of the trees, it looked really cool. Wish I had a nicer camera at the time but it was fun. I’d like to get some good lighting photos at some point, I think good lightning photos look great but have never gotten any myself.

  • Hi Trey, this photo is pure awesomeness!

    Did you use a filter/plugin to get the out of focus look there? And what about those red leaves? The whole dang thing is wonderfully strange….

  • Damien Stenson

    Lovely tilt and shift effect. Nice

  • Very interesting shot. I don’t see many pictures of yours with such a sharp focal plane. Creates a very mystical image.

  • Thanks everyone… wow this seems popular. And no, I did not use any special paid filters like Topaz or anything…. just built-in photoshop. (and many hours hehe)

  • Magical scene. Beautiful work.

  • Fabulous image, Trey. Love, love, love the falling leaves. (or are those falling pastry crumbs?).

  • This remninds me from a scene from the recent Disney movie ‘Tangled’ for no particular reason other than it has a fairy tale forest feel to it – marvellous.

  • This is a new favorite!

  • Patrick Ahles

    Superb! Don’t know what else to say, just superb!

  • Aarthi

    Absolutely love the falling leaves! Talking about inclement weather, I’d say rain and thunderclouds. The rain washed streets make for great reflections and thunderclouds can help dramatize landscape shots. A suggestion.. if you could may be have a map view of your photos (the photos need to be geotagged ofcourse) on your website, that would be awesome. So many of your shots inspire me to go out and see that place where its been taken (if its local), and a map with a pin would help..also it would be great to couch travel and live vicariously through you :D..and speaking of living vicariously, enjoy those pastries!!

  • Amazing shot Trey. Your best in a while! Agree with Simon that it’s very tilt shift like. Love it!

  • All the leaves falling looks amazing! The shallow dof mixed with fog makes it look like a T&S lens.

  • Simon Morris

    Trey – incredible, no special filter/plug-in… well that sums up your Photoshop skills in a nutshell if you ask me mate – fantastic! 🙂
    “We want more, we want more, we want more”… 😉

  • hehehe. I wish Trey would get a quarter everytime someone posts back to their own blogs… You should do that. A traffic-snipe tax.

    Of course.. I love some of the blogs I’ve found from traffic sniper’s here.;)
    Great image. I love the extreme clarity midway with the natural camera focus drop off, while post processing blurring really draws your eyes into the center. It messes with my visual perception in a great way that I can’t really explain but like.

  • This is amazing. I love the colors, what a cool shot.

  • WOW Trey! love it, thats really something different and one of your best shots lately for sure! keep up the awesomeness!

  • Wow, definitely my favorite.
    That is something different and beautiful !

    You made my day. Thanks!

  • Very cool photo, Trey!!

  • Stunning photo. One of the best.

  • An absolutely stunning picture there Trey. I really need to learn how to do HDR photography, so much that I will try something out this weekend.

  • Yes, the pastries here will get you. I can never avoid them!

    Amazing image! Wow… Just wow.

    By the way, I picked up your workflow ebook a few days ago. Very nice. I use a similar system, actualy, just doing the sorting and final portfolio storage both in Aperture. But I’m considering switching to yours just because Aperture runs soooo slllllow on my 3yr old iMac, where as both LR and iPhoto run pretty quickly.

    Question (one of many) how do you do your keywording? The iPhoto keyword manager seems a bit limited (esp when compared to the one in Aperture)

  • it’s amazing, Trey. Great, totally different image.

  • Great pic – looks like a miniature set up!. so Japanese.. My fav lighting – daytime in southern Australia with light cloud cover – gentle crisp clarity and colour. Had a few amazing intense orange sunsets lately too..

  • Love image & visual of ‘cake in a bag’ …Sweet

  • Thanks everyone – very much.

    David – Keywording is a problem… I do the basic keywords myself – Japan, Hakone, treyratcliff. But then I have a wonderful guy that works for me and does dozens of other keywords per photo too.

  • wow. this looks really good. i like the blurry parts in contrast to the sharp leafes falling… nice one! best

  • Dayton

    Excellent mood!

  • This HDR photo is so idylic! It looks like a small model because of the tilt-shift effect. Great HDR processing. You are an inspiration!

  • Incredible photo. I have a “snacking on trains” habit too, ha.

  • this is the best of the best!

  • Angela Mulkey

    Please make more photographs like this.

  • To merge or not to merge. I just started playing with the trial Photomatix. I do not understand how you can combine images and still have a leaf fairly sharp in mid-air or capture a farmboy closeup (shown in portfolio) with three images and maintain a still life like motionless end product, or get a night shot of Manhattan that requires super long exposures and requires a few exposures, but comes with minimal movement. Are you shooting and merging or are you not merging and achieving amazing results in post proccessing? Sorry, gotta know.

  • Super DOF

  • absolutely insane! love this photo. i’ve been following your blog for a couple of years and this photo is by far my favorite out of all the amazing others! wow. thank you for posting 🙂

  • Auset

    This is the most inspirational photo I have ever seen. I am a newbie but I am going to try and recreate this effect with Photoshop Elements and Filter Forge on some of my own photos. It looks miniature almost & the fading mist is magical. Thank you for inspiring me 🙂

  • Oh my God! I wanna be there 🙂

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