The chasm between "what I think is good" and "what I know is good" might as well be a canyon. I found this covered bridge at Lanier Point Park and waited for the sun to set. I set my camera up on a tripod and took 3 exposures - one appropriately metered, one over exposed, and one under exposed.
Dynamic range is a big deal. My camera has about 11 stops of dynamic range (the range between the brightest and darkest part of an image). However, your eyes have about 19 stops of dynamic range. Those additional stops make a difference. When I got my images out of camera, they looked nothing like what I saw standing there. The camera exposed for the sun and everything else went dark. So, I started to see what I could make happen in Photoshop, but the more I edited the photo the more surreal the landscape became. At some point, I gave up on recreating what my eyes saw standing there and focused more on making what I felt standing there. The image went from documentary to art.
I like that idea. I'm creating art. But, don't be deceived. The romanticism of "art" comes with the realization that certainty is an illusion. For me, this is a problem. I made seven different versions of this photo and over 100 edits. Some more vibrant, others more moody. Some with atmosphere, some without. I sent messages to my dad, I posted options on Facebook.
This is where I landed. Not because it's done or because it's the best version, but because at some point you have to stop. Historically, artists have always made several versions of their works. I have no idea how they settle on one. Perhaps, it's apparent when they look at it. Perhaps, they simply move on.
I don't know that this is good. I think it is, but I'm not certain. Technically, perhaps not. But from a "I want to stand there" perspective, I think it works. Regardless, it's time to put it to bed.