After the Fire #3

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This is the last of my ICM abstracts from my trip with @John_Williams and @James_Lorentson. This was in a stand of “silver firs”. There are a couple trees shown with obvious burn marks but mostly I wanted to highlight the silver trees. The bright golden grasses behind the trees show the color of the season and adds contrast to the image.

Specific Feedback

This image isn’t as abstract as the last one I posted, but does it work? Do the partially blackened trees detract? Do the golden grasses add too much distraction? Any other thoughts welcome.

Technical Details

D850, 24-70 @ 52mm, f22, 1/13th sec, ISO 64, hand held

If your intent is to convey fire damage and rejuvenation by new growth, it works very well. I think it needs to be less abstract. The blackened portions of the trees clearly indicate that a fire has occurred, and the yellow grasses are new growth indicating there is hope for the future of the area.

I think this is very engaging and lovely. I love the endless variations of shapes that tree trunks can create in an ICM. I can see what the subject was and I like the degree of abstraction. It’s like a quick colored pencil sketch that captures the essence of the scene. I find the composition engaging-- the larger trees close to the edges make me feel that I’m standing very close. It is very interesting how the darker tree merges into the darker BG. There is a hint of depth in the grasses, with the darker area at the bottom providing a nice base and the golden grasses are lovely. Then they fade into a mysterious darker curtain of… what?? I am left to wonder. Isn’t that an important element in art? But then I come back to the lovely trees and they are shimmering – not shivering. Life will go on!

I agree with others that the degree of abstraction here works very well for the intended purpose, Steve. I feel like I’m looking through a curtain of the dead trees into an area of rebirth. The lovely lines of the tree trunks hint of an enduring beauty even after death.


I really like the colors, contrast and really the boldness of this presentation. Bold, meaning it just jumps right out at you; especially the nicely textured silver trunks up front. The autumn grasses help along with the dark/light patches of the burnt forest.

The large and smaller trees on the right come together and I see a tall and slender human figure . So I’d say when an ICM or any image for that matter triggers my imagination, then I’d say it’s a successful image!


When I posted it needing to be less abstract I just realized that has two interpretations: one, fine as is (which I intended); two, as is, is too abstract. In any event, it’s just right.

@Jim_Gavin , @Diane_Miller , @Dennis_Plank and @Lon_Overacker , thank you for your kind comments! Jim, I took your comment as your #1, but thanks for clarifying.

Steve, another terrific image filled with story and emotion! I love the distinct vertical shapes and the section of warm color which without it, the image would lose its impact. I’m torn whether to crop off that sliver of ground on the bottom towards the left. I like that it serves as a boundary to the image and helps “sandwich” that warm section of golden grass.

@Alfredo_Mora , thank you for the kind comments!

You sure got a lot of great ICMs from this trip Steve. I knew you were fiddling on the hike out, but didn’t realize you were capturing so many good ones; this is another great example.