Autumn's Last Hurrah

This image was taken in early December 2019 at a local golf course. For some reason golf courses always seem to have the best trees, don’t they ? We had an early December snowfall, followed by a warmer day of rainy drizzle that created a lot of ground fog above the snow. I liked how the last remnants of autumn were clinging to the trees, trying to hold out against the coming onslaught of winter.

I’m a bit ambivalent about the small tree with remaining leaves on the right, but it looks like it may be tough to remove. Do people find this enough of a distraction to warrant trying to remove it?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any critique or comments are welcome.

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

I love this one, Ed. Great dreamy mood. Very minor, but I might pull back on the warm color saturation in the upper background. I find my attention drifting up there instead of with the trees, which is where I want to stay. Not a biggie, though. Beautiful image.

This image grabbed my attention immediately. The symmetry of the two larger trees and the small one in the middle is lovely. The mooed with the snow / fog adds a lot to the scene and makes me want to stay in the image.

I do find the small tree on the right to be a significant distraction and would spend the time to remove it. Yep, it will be a pain, but I think worth it.
I would also desaturate the warm tones in the upper part of the frame. I find they tend to pull me up there instead of staying near the star of the show.

A lovely image. Golf course… hmmm…

I would love to find a golf course with snow and beautiful fall colored trees like that in LA. I agree with Harley about the warmth… to a certain extent. If you can turn that into some sort of spotlight on the tree, that’ll be a different thing altogether. :wink:

Ed, I see that small tree as a sort of imperfection, that makes the image perfect in my eyes. The remaining leaves are well seen and give a touch of beauty to it.


Beautiful! The fog of course creates a great mood and atmosphere. Love the framing of the big trees sheltering the little tree.

I would agree with others dropping not just sat, but color in general in the upper canopy. Not sure if that’s the sun pushing through in the upper center or just more of the autumn leaves, but definitely pulls the eye upwards.

I actually like the little guy on the right. And beyond Ben’s interpretation, I’d say not only is it a little imperfect, but it creates a little added story to me. It’s like the last guy that gets picked for the sandlot baseball game… the little brother who never gets to play with the rest of the siblings… etc. etc. I think it works.

Great eye to capture this one.


Ed, this is a beautiful image! Golf courses really do seem to have some of the most beautiful trees. I agree with the others in the distraction of the warm tones at the top right of the frame. They immediately grabbed my attention instead of the symmetry to the 3 trees.

I do feel like you could have included just the slightest bit more foreground to allow the image to breathe a bit more, but that is very minor, and others may not agree.

Overall, a fantastic scene in gorgeous conditions!

Lovely. The remnants of autumn colors in the snow are beautiful. I find my eye drifting to the ULC, where that gorgeous tree has higher contrast. Maybe decreasing the clarity or some negative dehazing along the top (to bring the contrast down), along with a tiny bit of increased clarity and positive dehazing on the middle tree would bring attention to that middle tree. Maybe desaturate the little tree, but not remove it. I had a crack at it, hope you don’t mind. I would looove to have a scene like this in my backyard!

I like Ed’s idea that it’s the little brother waiting to be picked. In any event, it is a beautiful photo.


This is a very ethereal and beautiful image Ed. I am on the fence about the little tree on the right. It affects the symmetry of the scene but then again as Lon Pointed out it does tell a story.

Hi Ed,

I love the mood here. I would personally try to remove the tree of the right. It’s not a distraction for me per se but removing may take this image up another notch. I also agree with Harley on the saturation in the sky in the upper background.

Striking and cold inducing image, and I agree with other comments. I like Bonnie’s rework of it. It is much better without the reds at the top center.

@Lon_Overacker @Harley_Goldman @Adhika_Lie @Ben_van_der_Sande @Nathan_Klein @Bonnie_Lampley @Eva_McDermott @williamsharber @Keith_Bauer @Kathy_Barnhart

Thank you all very much for taking the time to leave some comments. As I suspected there appears to be somewhat of a split on the issue of the “little brother” tree. I need to spend some more time considering the pro’s and cons of retaining/removing, but you all have given me some interesting food for thought. I also agree with the multiple comments on the de-saturation at the top.

@Bonnie_Lampley, I love what you did with your rework, it touches on the issue of de-saturating the reds at the top, but then takes the tweaks to another whole level by balancing the contrast at the top as well, I think it is a significant improvement. Thank you for taking the time to rework this, you have improved it substantially.

This is a great image…I’ve never looked at golf courses this way, but have always been drawn to their beauty. Now I know I’ll have to give them a closer look.

I think this image would be very successful with or without the 2nd small tree. My tendency would be to leave it in as it creates a more complex story in my imagination and is thus more engaging. Even with Bonnie’s improvements, I’d still be tempted to create more balance at the upper corners regarding contrast and luminance.

Great shot Ed…thanks for sharing.

Ed, I a very late but I am in the camp of leaving the little tree. It adds interest and complexity which I think is appropriate in this case. I do like @Bonnie_Lampley rework.
Golf courses may now begin charging photographers to help supplement off season revenue! :smile:

Just beautiful, Ed. What an exquisite image. I love how the fog simplifies the composition. The color in the central tree provides a wonderful focal point. Personally, I’m not bothered by the small tree to the right. I think @Bonnie_Lampley rework takes the image up another notch further simplifying and focusing the composition.

@Ed_McGuirk Thanks. I have to credit Sean Bagshaw for some of this insight. Watching his videos of photo editing really made me start thinking about the concept of evening out exposure across the frame (at least in the parts that you don’t want to be prominent).

Excellent image and some fine suggestions regarding the color in the upper regions. There is little I can add at the photographic level.

The biggest reason for this is that due to the lack of competition for light a tree grows to it’s full potential. The branches spread evenly in all directions and develop into a full crown. Interestingly enough the full crown develops as leaves compete with one another for light as well. The great frame is a result of leaves searching for more light from above. I have observed a similar phenomena at meadows. Or sometimes a will clear the land and leave a single tree which always looks strikingly luxuriantly beautiful.

@Jim_McGovern @Alan_Kreyger @Dave_Dillemuth @Igor_Doncov thank you all for your comments and input. Igor your explanation of tree shapes at golf courses is interesting, and makes a lot of sense. Now that you mention it, I have noticed the same thing with isolated trees in meadows too.