Branching Out

Exploring along a local marsh at sunset, I was really drawn to the shape of this fallen tree. Honestly, I’m not sure if how I feel about this one. I like it, but something about it bugs me and I don’t know what. I may be overthinking. LOL

I really like the light and wanted to emphasize the golden tones. There were a lot of distractions elements to the left and right, which is why I went for a vertical orientation. I tend to fall towards a more moody editing style. I also included a 4 x 5 crop as I was torn between the two.

What technical / artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Single exposure • Nikon D850 • 16-35 @ 19 mm • ƒ/14 • 1/8 sec • iso 64

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It’s definitely a cool tree and the mix of warm light/blue sky is a classic combination. You seem to have a good angle on it with minimal branch overlap.

A couple of issues that jump out to me:

  1. It feels like the horizon is slanting down towards the right side
  2. The horizon cuts right through the centre, and the foreground is not interesting enough (to me) to have so much space. the star of the show is the tree, so focus more on that.
  3. I find the vignette a bit too strong for my taste, but a strong vignette seems to be very “in” these days.


Chris, this is a wonderfully shaped tree, and the light is really sweet, I can see the attraction to this scene. Your processing looks very good, it captures the richness of the light. Really nice work here…

I prefer the 4:5 crop, because as you said “I wanted to emphasize the golden tones” and the tighter crop makes those tones (and the tree) even more prominent. The first image is less appealing to me because it has a static 50/50 horizon at the shoreline, the 4:5 crop takes the horizon off-center.

This is a matter of personal taste, but I think the vignette is too strong in the sky (but okay in the ice). The transition of the vignette is too abrupt, and would suggest feathering it more.