Closed for winter

It was a cold wintry day today and I decided to take a walk at Taugannock Falls park. I love walking this area in winter. The water is bluer, the skies are more dramatic and people are nestled in at home. I walked by this big beautiful Northern Red Oak (I think) and remembered that I had taken this photo last winter around this time. I dug it out tonight and though it would be a nice image to post. The lake is Cayuga Lake. It’s one of the 5 Finger Lakes in this region. I actually swam across this lake a couple of times for Hospicare. Every summer this organization has an event called Women Swimmin’. It brings in thousands of dollars from donations to support their 10 bed unit where they care for people who are dying.

Specific Feedback Requested

Anything you see that would make this image better. Is composition ok?

Technical Details

Sony s7r iv 24-70mm @ 53mm
ss/1/15 handheld
ISO 50
Basic adjustments, D&B, no crop
Nik CEP4 for contrast


I’m dying to see this tree. It’s magnificent.

The tree is quite elegant, Donna as @Igor_Doncov said, and I too would love to see the entire tree. But must admit that little sign keeps pulling my eyes away. Any chance of removing it? Great shot.

These are magnificent trees and this park is full of them. You would love walking the shoreline here.

Thanks Linda. The sign you see is really a standup grill for cooking. They have them throughout the park for people to be able to picnic there. I kept it in because I thought it went with the picnic table and log next to the tree that was probably used for a chair. This tree is so big I figured including the whole tree would take away from the enormous trunk it has.

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Donna, this is a wonderful composition. What an interesting tree. I think the inclusion of the picnic table and grill add to the sense of place. Nice. My only critique is that I notice a bit of haloing around the tree trunks and limbs against the sky. Not so visible on the larger version, but with the smaller one they really stand out. Probably due to highlight/shadow use…

A wonderful image, Donna.

Wonderfully expressive tree, Donna. Would love to see more of it but what you have here is very enticing for sure. If you have more canvas, I would add some to the left side. It feels a little bit cut off but that is more of an observation than a nit. Wonderful tree.

Wow; I agree about the wonderful tree. What personality! The dark mood behind it really adds for me.

I too would clone out the grill (While likely a good way to get a Ranger scolding, I probably would have tried to drag the table out of the scene too.) O noted the halos too, but that should be an easy fix.

@David_Bostock @David_Haynes @John_Williams Thank you for taking the time to critique my image. I’ll have to do better at checking for halos. Still learning. I turned off all the layers one at a time in Photoshop to see which layer was causing the problem. The problems still existed in the BG layer. Looking very closely, I saw some chromatic aberration - blue & red. I used the lens correction filter in Photoshop to take this out. I also saw in the BG layer a faint white line along some of the trunk edges. That may have come in from acr. I just decided to use the clone stamp to take those out.

I can see why some viewers would like to see the picnic stuff gone. I have always loved these gigantic trees in this park. I thought about how to capture them often, but couldn’t come up with anything that would really do them justice. This particular day when I got out of my car, the sky, the waves from the wind and the picnic table tucked under this tree for winter made me think how different this looked from summer when the picnic tables are filled with people, kids running around happy and the air filled with smells from the grill. I decided this scene could be something I can work with. Anyway, since everyone likes this incredible tree and I got many suggestions, I think it’s worth revisiting this spot to take several different shots and see what I get.

I did swap the photo out with the one I corrected. I’d be interested to know if I took care of the halos you were seeing. Good learning lesson for me. Thank you.

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Nice image , great story . Always good as the people are at home ! And heavy swimming for a good case. Well done.

Nice improvement, Donna. Well done.

Love, love, love this image, Donna. There are many beautiful trees but capturing their essence is no small feat and I think you have made a very fine portrait here. The colours, as you said, are very moody and I can really feel the weather. The shades of blue, the hint of white caps, the impending sky, and the almost but not quite leafless tree take me right into the mood and the moment. I also love the empty picnic table which heightens the sense of, I don’t know, melancholy? I find it difficult, when taking portraits of trees to know quite where to draw the frame but you’ve made excellent choices here. Well done.

That really is a lovely tree, with beautiful conditions and a fantastic composition. Congratulations on find this scene and making such a nice image. I have to admit, I wish you had shoved the picnic table over to the left a bit more so that it was more fully silhouetted against the grey lake, but that’s just me being “that guy” :grinning:.

Looks better! I’m still seeing a tad, although to clarify what I still see is subtle and nit picky at this point. (The right edge of the tree from the near shore up to the lower clouds is an example.) I’m not sure I’d worry to much unless you wanted to do a fine print; in that case it might be worth the effort to minimize them.

Again, they are so subtle here that I don’t know that I’d worry about them too much. If you wanted to learn where they are coming from for the future, you could pull various versions from ACR to analyze. For me, it’s usually coming from the Shadows or the Clarify sliders.

Kudos for swimming for a good cause!

@jefflafrenierre Thanks Jeff for your review.

@John_Williams Thanks John for replying back.

I’m excited about going back and taking more shots using every ones suggestions. I’ll have to wait for a similar day since I think that’s what really helped captured the power of this tree. I’ll post again if I get a better image.



This brings me an incredible sense of melancholy. Such a poignant scene with the ominous sky and majestic tree with an empty table and and no fire, and no one there. It has gripped my attention. Great job.

Thank you so much, Youssef. I’m very happy that you liked this one. It’s such a beautiful tree.