Big Cypress Preserve

Recently made a fishing trip in south Florida. I brought my camera mainly for fishing pictures but had some time to explore the Everglades and I regret not bringing my tripod. I managed to get some handheld shots hiking through a beautiful backwoods swamp filled with alligators! Do you think these would make the cut for online use with the wide aperture and high ISO needed to shoot handheld? Also, which crop do you prefer? Thanks for any feedback.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

I had to shoot this handheld as I did not have a tripod. Is the sharpness acceptable?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Would You process the greens differently?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
Handheld Nikon D610 ISO 800 F4 1/160

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Hermann, I like them both but for different reasons. You don’t mention focal length, but good job hand holding at 1/160. The exposure in the second seems better and the greens show nicely, but the comp on the first looks a bit better, and it removes the tree on the right with that bump in the trunk, which I find to be a distraction. I really love the assortment wild epephites. Having photograped in the 'Glades and the Okenenokee a number of times, needless to say I’m a huge fan of swamps.

Herman, for handholding in what looks like very dark conditions you did very well. Sharpness looks okay, and if you are worried about it, the image could easily take a small bump in clarity. I prefer the second (lower) composition because I prefer seeing more of the tufts of vegetation growing on the trees, and I like seeing the wider view, I think it tells a better story on the environment. In terms of processing I think the exposure and contrast look pretty good. So overall, i like this image a lot.

Processing color can be very subjective. I like your greens here, but if you want to get more color separation, I would use LR HSL to shift the hue of yellow towards orange quite a bit, and slightly shift green more to green. Also to my eye the shadows in this image look too warm, and would cool the shadows down, while keeping the highlights warm. One way to do this is via TK luminosity masks, applying a cooling filter to a Darks 3 selection. Here is a re-work where I did that.

@Bill_Leggett Thank you for the response. The focal length was 32mm on a 16-35mm nikkor. Iv’e seen some of your swamp posts and they look great. I’m from New Orleans, so I’m familiar with a lot of the lakes you post. The everglades fascinate me because they are similar to the swamps in Louisiana but have many different bromeliads and other epiphytes, as you mentioned. I think the limestone ground content and the more tropical climate is the main determining factor in the plant species.

@Ed_McGuirk Thanks for the response and the rework. I see what you mean about the shadows. Iv’e been exploring more with HSL color adjustments as you mentioned, and my first thought was to try and take most of the cyan out of the image to keep the colors throughout more similar, but I can see how the cool shadows can actually separate the colors more.

I like the image overall I just think I will have to make my way back with a tripod at some point. Thank you for the detailed input!

The first image has a stronger composition. I think the sky and it’s reflection is hurting this image. The white is making the scene look busy.

Nice shot Hermann, I like the first image. I really like the growths coming out of the trees as well as the highlighted tree in the background. I feel the editing and composition bring out these elements better in the first shot.

Herman, the sharpness of both of these looks fine. I like prefer the comp. of the 2nd view, but am strongly drawn to the extra contrast in the first post, where there’s a fine, warm glow to the sunlit parts, especially that tree, left of center towards the back.

I’d choose the tighter crop, both for the comp and the color/lighting. I’m intrigued by the warm highlights and the reflection from the tree furthest back. I think the clarity is fine.