As Fall Fades + Rework #2

REWORK 2 - per Igor’s suggestions (cooled darks/midtones + dialed back yellows); also fixed the higher contrast accidentally imparted in first rework.

REWORK 1 - dodged dark bits and central background tree (reduced blues, also) per David, made upper parts of tree more translucent per Diane, cropped per Alfredo (off left and top, which helped with Diane’s suggestion, also)


Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


We’ve had lovely fall color here this year, but it’s starting to fade now with the storm we just had. This is a composite, and the base photos are nice by themselves, but I’m feeling the need these days to abstract the landscape.

Specific Feedback

Any comments welcome. Too busy? One of the aims of the ICM layer was to blur the busyness of all the small branches.

Technical Details

This is a composite of three photographs - two straight and one ICM, layered in PS and blended in various ways. Basic processing was done in ACR (color balancing, a few targeted exposure adjustments). Here’s the PS layer stack:

Screen Shot 2023-11-21 at 2.39.19 PM


Wow!! I love this!!! The “negative” tree is wonderful!! And the “BG” is unfathomable and stunning!

My only thought is that I love the way the tree subtly fades out at the edges on the sides and bottom, and I wonder if it would be nice if the heavy branches did the same at the top.

This is very cool, Bonnie. Great use of subjects. Definitely not too busy for me. I love everything about this. the fall color looks just right and the main tree, front and center in high key, is very shapely. I see a dark spot in the bottom center of the frame that could be dodged quite a bit but the other dark areas in the URC and LLC don’t bother me at all. The gray branch that is right behind the main trunk is a little out of place and could maybe be dodged as well or maybe even burned but that gray color pulls my eye and it’s right in the center of the image. Well thought out image.

Wow from me too. What an abstract multiply tentacled, transparent tree glittered in gold leaves. The effect is above and beyond. I appreciate your adding your post-processing workflow, and I’d love to learn how to do this, but the dazzling aspect for me is how you visioned and saw this as such a composite in the field. Amazing!.

Beautiful work that is full of character Bonnie! The subtle layers of the ICM image in the background pair wonderfully with the main tree with its arms outstretched adorned by flakes of gold in the leaves.

May I suggest a slight crop in from the left so that upper left branch closes the distance to match the right upper side?

Beautiful Bonnie. The transparency of the image really appeals to me. It has a very “oriental” feel to it and as you noted, the base images were fine in and of themselves which makes them support this technique very well. Excellent concept and execution. I have no suggestions for improvement of this image.

This work of art is stunning Bonnie! I was looking through the “editor’s picks” category and this attracted me immediately. This is something I would definitely exhibit. I agree with the “oriental feel”. I would love to learn how to do this process. I have nothing new to add, and I wouldn’t change a thing!

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I love this, Bonnie! You are so creative and artistic. Looks like a collage done with tissue paper and paint. Has a definite oriental feel to it. I like the subtlety of it. Thanks for including your processs.

Roberta, I hope Bonnie doesn’t mind but I have a tutorial of sorts on my site. There is an additional article on my image “Chasing Sakura””. Bonnie has the technique dialed in!

Thank you, @Diane_Miller, @David_Haynes, @Larry_Greenbaum, @Alfredo_Mora, @Dennis_Plank, @Chris_Baird, and @robertakayne for your appreciation and suggestions. All the suggestions were good and I’ve incorporated them into a rework.

Oh, not at all! I enjoyed reading about your process.

Thanks, Larry. For “how to do this”, see Alfredo’s link to his example. I basically do the same thing as far as experimenting. And it is a big experiment - I don’t visualize these kinds of things in the field. I put things together afterwards to see what works, although I’m slowly learning how different kinds of images work together (or don’t) to get different effects. LOTS of failures ensue. But when things click, it’s great!

I began playing with ICM and blends over 15 years ago and it quickly got to the point that I just couldn’t do a “straight” tree anymore. It’s so nice to find like-minded souls here!


What a beautiful and ghostly image @Bonnie_Lampley. I absolutely love this and not nits from me.

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From super good to super amazing!!

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Bonnie, I just saw this. (I need to pay more attention.) I love it.

I prefer your original crop to the revision. I get a feeling of imbalance with the revision.

Thanks, @Don_Peters. I can go either way on the crop - I’ll live with it for awhile, then decide.

Excellent rework, Bonnie. A great image made even better.

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@Alfredo_Mora Thank you Alfredo. I read your blog post and it is very interesting and informative… I will try it.

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Thank you Roberta!! I look forward to your results.

@Bonnie_Lampley, I’m late to the party, but just want to say that this image is wonderful! I love the ethereal effect your processing produced, the colors, and last but not least, the tree limbs that you positioned so effectively in your compositing! Thanks for the inspiration, :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks, @Susanna_Euston!