Autumn light show

This is one of those photos that I had no idea I had taken, because the camera bokeh so dramatically changed what I was looking at.

Specific Feedback Requested

It’s definitely interesting, but not sure it works. Opinions?

Technical Details

f 5.6, 400 mm, ISO 400, 1/350 sec


Hi Tony! I like the white birch against the yellow. The composition is really nice, but there is something I’m not quite sure about, maybe the lighting? I am intrigued by your statement about bokeh. Have you never seen it when you are taking a picture? When I shoot toward the sun I can see it through the camera and by adjusting my angle or waiting for the leaves or whatever is in front of the sun to blow so it changes I can control the results. I love bokeh and love to see it through my camera and know what results I’m going to get! Like in this photo, I think you could have gotten a lot more if you wanted. Anyway I really like the colors and composition. Hope you don’t mind me talking about bokeh but I hope you get to experiment more with it and see how much fun it is to work with!

My experience with creating bokeh in the background is limited to hand held macro flower closeups in which I depend on a colorful background bokeh to fill out the photo. Truth to tell, I’ve never concentrated on trying to predict or manipulate it. It always seems like a crap show so I just shoot a lot of photos and hope one has pleasing bokeh. This shot was with a 400 mm lens at f 5.6 so out of focus depth of field was to be expected. But I have never found the “look at depth of field” option on my Canon 5dIV very useful, so I never check. And because I rarely shoot at 400 mm up close, I’m not in the habit of checking my photo after shooting. So, that’s why this photo was a suprise.

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Interesting, I don’t have that fancy of a camera! I’m just talking about what you can see when looking through the actual viewfinder and holding the shutter partway. I usually only use a 70-300mm lens. And usually go for the wide aperture to get as much light in in darker conditions like in the woods or low light. I think maybe with a wider aperture you can see the bokeh more when you’re actually taking the shot, that’s just been my experience anyway.

I like the focus contrast here between the really sharp trunk and the background. I think you could really play around with the BG, desaturating it, or for fun altering the colour as its pretty monochromatic. A black background would really make the trunk sing!


This is really great Tony. I enjoy the simplicity of the composition and the interesting forms you found on the tree. I think the sunlight catching this leaves in the background just seals the deal.

Tony, while not a pure abstract image, there are some nice elements in your image. The two “eyes” in the tree for example. Zooming in on those details and playing with various compositions could help push this more towards abstract. As an intimate landscape, I do like the vertical line of the tree and the soft golden background.

Hey Tony! I think you’ve done a really great job here adding depth to this photo. Of course, aspen trees are beautiful in their own right but when you’re able to add depth for the image, it takes the subject of the photo to another level the goal in any nature photography is always to create 3-D space in a 2D subject, which is photography. And I think you’ve done that really well here.

Hi Tony,

You did a great job with your surprise image! I love using my telephoto lens for landscapes and intimate landscape images. The bokeh is lovely here, and the tree being off centered allows for a nice balance. I do agree that possibly coming in closer to emphasize the two eyes on the trunk could have been nice, while still keeping the 3D aspect of the near/far relationship you have with the trunk and the background. Visual depth is really important in a lot of photography and you’ve done a good job of that here.

@Cameron_Wilcox @Alfredo_Mora @Vanessa_Hill @David_Johnston @brenda_tharp @Mike_Friel Thank you so much for the comments. I really appreciate your feedback.

You bet! Keep going! You’re really progressing!