Bygone + Repost


Raw file:

I’ve posted a revised version of this thistle with @Diane_Miller and @Ed_Williams suggestions. Basically cloned out the blanket flowers and reduced the saturation and the opacity of the burn/paint layers I had applied to the background. Also included the raw file just for reference.

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


We have fields of thistles here in the Texas hill country. They are not particularly welcome and spread like wildfires. While on my morning walks I see them everywhere and have been enjoying watching them evolve and finally getting to this stage. Just couldn’t resist trying to photograph some while blowing in the wind.
I photographed a series of this particular thistle to document it’s demise but didn’t post them here as the challenge is for one image. Maybe I’ll get a chance to post them under flora later.

Specific Feedback

I did crop a bit from each side. Does the crop work for you. Also, added a color layer and a burning layer to subdue the background a bit.
Any other thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Technical Details

Nikon Z6ii, tripod, f/11, 1320sec., iso 800 @ 116mm (28mm-300mm). Cloudy windy day.
Post processing in ACR - for basic highlights/shadows, denoise, sharpened thistle pod. PS for background.

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I love the tumbling array of seeds, and how sharp and well-defined they are! Almost looks like one of those super-fast shutter speed motion stopping shots.

The BG isn’t ideal, but the DOF was probably necessary for the subject. I wonder about lowering contrast by bringing up darks quite a bit and desaturating greens. That might still let the seeds stand out as they are so well-defined.

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I really like the story this image tells Linda. The old thistle is breaking down and giving life as the new seeds are just beginning. I can see cloning out some of the darker spots to reduce the impact of the BG a bit.

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Thanks, @Diane_Miller and @Ed_Williams for your thoughts and suggestions. I’ve attached a revised version, along with the raw file. I think the revision work much better. Thanks again.

Or you can go even farther if you desire. This is a simple Hue-Sat layer with no masking and just working in the green channel – changing the tint, sat and lightness a little. Color is sometimes a powerful selection.

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Hi Linda, I really like your thistle image, quite interesting and admire the sharpness in all the seedlings, getting ready to take flight. I think I’ve seen the flowers here in CT…aren’t they purple cone-shaped? I doubt I could have offered the same advice as Diane and Ed, but I do see the improvement in your latest image.

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Thanks, Diane. I’ve never used that technique and just gave it a shot. Wow! Love how the changes/adjustments are very subtle. Thanks again the the suggestion.

Yes, Jim, they are purple. This image was from a different walk.

Part of what I enjoy the most about NPN is the different perspectives and suggestions. Great stuff!

Beautiful, with a visitor no less! Thanks Linda.

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