Acadia Ground Cover

I have not been active posting, because I recently made my annual summer pilgrimage to Acadia National Park. I had such interesting weather conditions, that it was virtually non-stop shooting, so no time for NPN posting :laughing:

I had rain, fog randomly appearing at all hours of the day, 3 clear nights for Milky Way shooting, spectacular sunrises over the Atlantic ocean, and the best sunset that I have ever witnessed in my life. More on these things in future posts.

Despite these spectacular weather conditions, the thing I enjoyed most were some of the intimate small scenes at Acadia. Spruce forests come right up to the edge of granite cliffs along
the ocean, and this environment contains some interesting ground cover. These plants reminded me of those I have seen in alpine environments such as the Canadian Rockies.

I have no idea what plants these are, but the berries are not the ubiquitous Maine blueberries, instead I think they might be some type of juniper berries. I spent a long time cloning away minor distractions in this small scene. With ground cover this dense, distractions are virtually impossible to compose away, and after a while I got tired of cloning, so I’m sure that I will receive tons of cloning suggestions despite my best efforts.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any critique or comments are welcome.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Canon 5D MKIV, Canon100mm Macro Lens, ISO 160, 1.6 seconds at f 16.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.
1 Like

This is a very engaging image, Ed!

I know these kind of intimate scenes are not for everyone, but I really enjoyed discovering all the textures and shapes here. I think you handled the color tones and contrast nicely.

I may consider cropping out the pine needles merging at the top left of the frame, but that is all a matter of opinion and nit picking on my part.

Thanks for sharing this lovely capture!

Hi Ed -

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. As you might expect, I love this scene. It tells a perfect story of the details you can find in a forest if you slow down and look closely enough.

I like the mix of plants and textures a lot and think the processing looks well done. I also do not see any things that I think are in need of cloning. The one thing that catches my eye is the conifer branch in the upper left. Since it is the only plant like that on the edge of the frame, it pulls my attention away from the rest of the scene. You could consider darkening it a bit or as Chris suggests above, cropping out that portion of the scene. This is, of course, personal preference but I mention it because I think that branch takes away from the rest of the scene in a small way.

These plants could be some form of crowberry. I have seen the same type of foliage in Iceland and deep in the Canadian Rockies. I know that the plant that looks like this in Iceland is called crowberry but the berries there look like blueberries rather than what you have here. Either way, it creates a wonderful subject for photography! Well done.

The conifer on the UL aside, Ed, this is gorgeous. I would definitely consider rotating this 90deg CCW.

I am looking forward to seeing more pictures from the trip!!

What a beautiful little scene. The pops of red and purple in the green are lovely. I like Adhika’s idea of rotating CCW - maybe cropping to 9:16 to make it pano-like. I don’t see the need for any more cloning of bits; it looks quite “clean” to me.

This is spectacular, Ed. I love the colors, the textures. The composition is solid, though I find the conifer branches along the left edge to be a bit of a distraction. I think you could potentially crop this a bit (off the left and down from the top) to get a composition that feels more pleasing and emphatic.


I love the colors and the textures in this image. Are those blueberries? One nice thing about this composition is that if you want to change it - you just eat some of the berries.

As everyone pretty much agrees on, it would be nice to remove that branch on the ulc. But I wouldn’t crop it out. The plants are all just the perfect size within the frame. Increasing them by cropping would hurt the comp.

We missed you here. Your absence was noticeable. Looking forward to more images. Is this the best time of the year to photograph Acadia?

@Igor_Doncov @Sarah_Marino @ChrisNoronhaPhoto @Marylynne_Diggs @Bonnie_Lampley @Adhika_Lie Thank you all for your input and comments, as usual, I got some good advice from others perspectives.

In hindsight I agree with the comments on the branch in the ULC, I got tunnel vision cloning away little spots, and thought the branch would be acceptable (foolish of me). I do agree with Igor though, a crop would change the size of everything else, which I like as is, so I did a major clone job on the original image. For a second rework, I then rotated the cloned version CCW as suggested by Adhika (thanks for the suggestion, it works well). Then I added a third rework where I cropped the rotated image for balance, I’m allowed to be inconsistent :wink:


Rework #1 Clone to ULC

Rework #2 Rotated CCW

Rework #3 Rotated CCW and cropped

@Sarah_Marino thanks for the flora identification of crowberry, the berries were in the process of turning from white to red to blue, in some spots they were all blue. The harsh environment on the Maine coast has similarities to Iceland, so I guess that makes sense.

Sarah, after a little research, it appears you are indeed correct, this is from an Acadia NPS seminar description “The habitat includes maritime spruce-fir, coastal headland, salt marsh, pitch pine-broom crowberry woodland known for coastal communities and rare arctic plant species that reach their southern range limit in this area”. Good call !!!

@Igor_Doncov regarding Acadia seasons, August is most popular with tourists. Despite the crowds, I like August for the frequent fog, and the early Milky Way hours. Most photographers would say October is their favorite due to having both fall colors and seascapes in the same place. I would say my best images are from February, because that’s when it looks so different from how people envision Acadia (and you have it all to yourself).

“I’ll take Acadia Plant Life for $800 Alex…”

They’re all gorgeous Ed. Before getting to a preference (not sure I have one,) I just love the notion of capturing such intimate and beautiful details. the colors, saturation, textures and details are just fantastic. I’ve only been to Alaska once and never to Acadia (or anywhere back east really…) but this reminds me of an image I captured on the tundra near Wonder Lake. Just beautiful details… and kudos really for just slowing down, “turning down the volume” as @Eric_Bennett just recently wrote about. Love this.

The nice things about great images - are the countless and viable options you have. If I were to vote, I would give the last one #3 the edge - and then if I could vote for that one rotated 90deg cw… :wink: The fir branch in the original wasn’t so much of a problem or distraction - but for me, more of a need more of it, or none of it kinda thing… But as mentioned, there is so much great material to work with, you’ve got a winner no matter how you slice and dice it.


Ken Jenkins better watch out for @Sarah_Marino, she can give him a run for the money on this Jeopardy topic.

Thanks for the kind words Lon, they are appreciated. I agree with your more/less philosophy on the pine bough, the original looks like a composition mistake.


#3 looks like a winner to me.

I am in love with Rework #3, too!

Ed, I am late and have the benefit of seeing all of the comments and reworks. I won’t echo them except to say this is both engaging and a wonderful image! My vote is for rework #3.
I look forward to seeing more from Acadia!

I sure do hope that you saved a little bit of that exceptional weather for me next month when I visit Acadia. :grinning: This intimate landscape is stunning and full of visual treats throughout the frame. Rework # 3 is also my favorite of the group. For me the colorful berries are what elevates this image another notch. BTW, good to have you back and I look forward to the rest of your Acadia scenes.

This is exquisite, Ed. Really well seen. Beautiful rich colors and assortment of shapes and textures. I think I slightly prefer your rework #1 but also like the rotated uncropped version.

I think the rotation and crop works really well, Ed. And I am glad that you learned more about the berries - that is such a beautiful plant!

I’m for #3 Ed. Looking forward to seeing some of your takes on the Acadia icons.

@Alan_Kreyger @Ed_Lowe @Dave_Dillemuth @Michael_Lowe thank you for your comments, I’m glad that you enjoyed this small scene. The tiny shapes of these plants were quite interesting to me.

@Michael_Lowe “Looking forward to seeing some of your takes on the Acadia icons”

Hey Mike, haven’t you heard about “Turning Down the Volume” :star_struck:

Actually I spent 6 days on the Schoodic Peninsula, and did not get over to Mount Desert Island, it’s much too crowded for my taste at this time of year. There are no icons on the Schoodic, only good photographs and relative solitude.


Rework #3 has my vote. I love these types of images for their shear detail and ability to hold one’s attention. Good work.

It’s like a hidden world. Good eye to spot this one.