Back Modifications (2)
Views 89 Unique 36 Award Shortlist   

Reaching upward

By JoeColorado
The frame of a tree in a West Des Moines, USA park stands out against the fullness of the summer growth. You're welcome to comment and criticize my photos. Thanks for doing so!

Tags: Summer Morning Nature Forest Woodland Wilderness Iowa Wildlife and nature West Des Moines West Des Moines parks recreational trail suburban neighborhood

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Offer: 1-Month For FREE!


iancrowson Plus
10 215 168 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2020 3:29PM
Looks like an interesting tree. As the subject is an unusual tree and the main point of making the images must have been to record this, I would like to know how big it is. Maybe something in the photo like a hat would help.
Photo looks sharp and well exposed.

pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2201 United Kingdom
15 Jan 2020 5:48PM
It's been a year since you visited the Critique Gallery, Joe, so welcome back.

You found the tree interesting and so you simply filled your frame with it. This doesn't make for a dynamic image that will hold a viewer's attention. Dynamism may not necessarily be your intention, but a little extra impact might have been achieved by stepping back a bit and including some more of its surroundings. Also, as Ian says, adding something to indicate size and context would be good.

Offsetting a tree in your frame will immediately make it more interesting, and including some foreground can even add drama, depending on what is there.

You mention the way the tree stands out against the foliage. The light that is hitting your tree is dappled light, and more bright on the right-hand branch than elsewhere, and it's here that it is beginning to lose detail. There probably wasn't much you could do about this because other trees were shading only a part of your chosen subject.

The tree itself isn't very sharp, Joe, and it looks as if the focus fell upon the surrounding foliage rather on the trunks themselves. You needed to carefully lock your focus on the tree itself.

HERE is an EPZ tutorial about taking pictures of trees which you might find interesting.

I hope that some of this is helpful to you.

dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 749 England
15 Jan 2020 8:50PM
Welcome back from me too.

It'd be interesting to know why you chose Manual mode and Spot metering. There's nothing wrong with either choice per se,. With this type of subject I'd go for Aperture Priority - though there'snothing wrong with your chosen aperture, I may have gone for f/8 to be on the safe side, there's not a requirement for huge depth of field as the tree doesn't extend that deep).
Similarly with spot metering, it needs to be used carefully because of the very narrow angle of view it uses - you may opf course know this and be happy with using it to get the results you want, which is fine but for many I'd recommend sticking with Evaluative.

Your shutter speed is slow if you're handholding so if you hadn't got a tripod or trr to leam against I'd increase your ISO. With that camera ISO 400 doesn't impact on image quality and even a bit higher is good.

That's the technical bit pout of the way.
The tree does have a very attractive shape so I can see why you took the image. There may have been wider framing options, and maybe a landscape format would work. Nothing wrong at all with what you have, it's just worth thingking of alternatives.

The main issue, as Pamela touches on, is the dappled light. what may look and feel fine while out walking doesn't always translate well to an image on screen. Dappled light creates lots of light and shade which can make an image confusing and make the subject merge in. The principle of camouflage.
If that's the only chance you had, ok, optherwise waiting for softer light under cloiud will be less contrasty but will make that trunk stand out mor. Or you could try early or later in the day so the trunk is highlighted (I take it that the tree would still be illuminated at those times/
Then there's different times of year - I'm sure this would look great in the fall. A stark winter image would be striking too. So there's a series through the year for you to consider.

banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4217 Canada
15 Jan 2020 10:53PM
Nothing much to add Joel except a modification.

I reduced exposure, decreased contrast, tweaked white balance to be closer to sunlight.


dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1809 England
15 Jan 2020 11:21PM
Nothing to add on the technical side: m yonly contribution is to suggest shooting when the sun is lower in the sky and the light warmer and softer. There's a reason that most landscape images are taken quite close to sunrise or sunset...
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2375 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2020 9:19AM
Welcome back!

It's a good tree, with strong lines. When photographing trees in sunlight, watch the light on the bark, that area can easily look washed out. Willie's mod addresses that, my instinct would be to reduce contrast, use the burn tool very gently, then bring back some brightness.

You chose portrait format, which I guess seems the obvious choice for a vertical subject, but it's not the only approach. You mention the tree standing out against surrounding foliage, my first thought was - let's see that contrast! So place the tree off-centre in a broader frame, square or landscape, in order to set it in its context.

My second thought was - this is an deal subject for b&w. Lines, contrast, texture...

I have to go out but I'll try later. Really my point is that it's a subject with loads of scope for further development.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2375 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2020 12:09PM
I've now added a modification which combines various ideas - extra breadth, off-centre placement, B&W conversion. I also used dark vignetting which can suggest a private, enclosed place. The mod is really to show how a subject can be developed further.

For ideas on expressive compositions with trees, have a look back through this member's excellent portfolio.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.