Bark....Life Support

Shot in Carmel at Point Lobos State Park on one of the many trails (Whalers Cove Maybe???). Many of the trees are covered in various colors of moss and Lichen but I found these where the bark was nearly completely swallowed up. These were fairly large trees so I had to put on my 80-400mm lens to get a shot. Unfortunately, these were hand held so I couldn’t really focus stack meaning depth of field is not great, but it may also eliminate or at least reduce some of the overall busyness.

Specific Feedback Requested

This is cropped and finding a good composition was difficult. Is there anything that jumps out about the composition?
Is it too busy?
Any and all feedback is great!

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Nikon D850, ISO 250, 120mm, 1/20 @ f/13, 80-400mm, hand held with VR on.


David, this looks great. It’s an outstanding mass of moss covered tree limbs, that seems to go on forever. Having that major branch wending its way from lower right to upper left holds this view together well, giving the eyes some main spots to follow before the wander through the rest of the image. The dof looks fine.

I know those trees, and you have made the perfect capture with a wonderful composition in a very busy situation. I think the DOF works very well, isolating some of the nearer branches a little. So much to enjoy in this image!

What a great shade of orange. Do you know what kind of lichens these are? I’ve always been fascinated by them.

This has an apocalyptic feel to it, like an explosion. I could see making the whitish mosses a bit cooler, to contrast more with the orange. And I see the tiniest of nits - there is a spot of green background showing through, just below the mid-point of that largest branch and some sky bits towards the top right. Maybe cloning them out? At any rate, this is great.

From my algology I remembered it as being algae, not lichen. So I just googled it up and incredibly enough it is algae that grows on those cypresses.

An image I admire used a blue filter or cool white balance which rendered the cypresses very cool and the orange looked great in comparison. I would experiment with that.

Although there are dominant elements the image feels a bit too chaotic. It’s an interesting problem because you want the chaos yet imo more structure. I can’t really explain why it’s too much. It’s just a feeling.

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@Bonnie_Lampley @Igor_Doncov @Diane_Miller @Mark_Seaver
Thanks for your comments. I had no idea that this was an algea. Igor, thanks for taking the time to look that up and clarify. My initial feeling was that this was too busy and I think Igor has said as much. It is definitely a chaotic scene and I may try and find these trees again and shoot more wide open to try and minimize depth of field so it’s not so chaotic. My thought was that the main trunk running from the LRC to the ULC might guide the eye and give the chaos at least some structure.
Thanks again for your feedback.

The red rust lichen color is gorgeous, David. I like the larger limb going across the bottom of the frame. It seems to hold everything together. These kinds of scenes are tough for me to see and photograph. Congrats on this.