Cathedral of Trees


I found this lovely woodland scene on our trip to Blackwater Falls, WV a few weeks ago. Mike had already hiked down to the falls because I had to go back to the truck as I had forgotten my CPL filter. On the walk down I was struck with the beautiful glow of light behind this grouping of trees. It seemed to be calling out to me; just waiting to be photographed. I hope this does it justice.

Specific Feedback Requested:

All C&C welcome.

Pertinent technical details or techniques: Nikon D800, Nikon 80-200 @ 145mm, f 14 @ 1/15 sec, ISO 800, MLU, CPL, cable release & tripod

Is this a composite? (focus stacks or exposure blends are not considered composites)

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Ed, I am a big fan of using back lighting, and you made great use of it here. There is a wonderful glow to this image. For an extremely chaotic environment, you did a remarkable job of organizing the chaos. The arrangement of the three trees does a good job of providing structure to the scene. I also like the variety of yellow and green colors too.

My only suggestion would be some highlight recovery, but localized just to the brightest patch at the top center, where the glow is the brightest. It doesn’t need much, just a slight bit.

Great title by the way, this does have something of a stained glass window look to it.

I love the subtle silhouettes here, with the lovely BG glow setting them off. There is a very interesting variation in the greens.

I think this is super lovely and the composition is great. I really like how you have “arranged” the trunks and branches. I see what @Ed_McGuirk says about the brightest highlights but it’s not a dealbreaker for me as presented.

Really nice Ed. At first, I was thinking of suggesting a crop off the left to balance the the spacing between the main trees and the frame edges, but then I noticed the pairs of trees in the background on both sides, and so I like the crop as is. I also think Ed M’s suggestion on the highlights is good.

I really like the composition you have come up with and the green glow is marvelous. To continue in the direction Ed is moving, the image is a bit more contrasty than optimal. But it’s not only the highlights. Some of the darks could be brought up as well. Not the very dark trunks but the darker branches. For some reason I can no longer open the large version of this image.

Thanks so much everyone @Ed_McGuirk , @Diane_Miller , @Adhika_Lie , @Craig_Moreau and @Igor_Doncov for your thoughts. Here is a repost with your suggestions of a little more shadow detail and bringing down the highlights at the top center.

Great job, Ed. I am really attracted to shots like this but find them hard to pull off. Especially composition wise. The light is great and I like the comp with the pairs of trees along each side. The D800 has some nice greens doesn’t it? I see you’ve addressed the highlight issue and I was also going to suggest some shadow recovery as well but you’ve taken care of that. Nice work.

Thanks @Michael_Lowe , glad you liked the image. I agree, the D800 does produce some nice greens.