Critique Style Requested: In-depth

The photographer has shared comprehensive information about their intent and creative vision for this image. Please examine the details and offer feedback on how they can most effectively realize their vision.

Self Critique

The background of this image was pretty dark to start with, so it made a good candidate for a low key edit. I like the water drops and the luminescence of the flower and the leaves. Do yo think the leaves should be darker, or should the surrounding leaf litter be lighter?

Creative direction

I have been drawn to a darker processing style lately. If you’ve ever been to a Redwood forest, you know the deeply satisfying feeling that it brings. I hope the dark processing style and the water droplets on the flowers really pull the viewer in to the moody experience that a walk in the Redwoods brings.

Specific Feedback

I’m always open to any and all critique of my images.

Technical Details

Nikon D850
Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6
ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/5 sec, 300mm

I’ve used a mask in Lightroom to darken the background and another to further isolate the subject. I’ve reduced highlights and saturation globally, reduced the luminance in the yellows and increased the luminance in the greens. I added a linear graduated mask on the foreground to bring a little more detail out there.



With dense fog rolling off the ocean just to the west and the thick canopy of towering Redwoods overhead, it was nearly dark an hour before the sun would officially set. The fog traveled through the forest like a living thing, swirling around the huge tree trunks and passing effortlessly through the plants closer to the surface. As it did, it left behind a little bit of its life giving water. It had rained earlier in the day, and everything was still dripping wet. This is an ancient forest, with memories that go back thousands of years. As I sauntered along a well worn trail in the quickly fading light of evening, I absorbed as much as I could, adding to my personal memories of this incredible place. Out of the darkness of WInter’s gloom, a harbinger of Spring’s hope emerged from the shadows of the Redwood forest. There were a few white Trillium Flowers searching for the sun. There were also a lot of Redwood Violets like this one, hiding under the bushes and speckling the landscape with their bright yellow blooms, looking like tiny dots of sunshine on the landscape. The sight of these tiny 3” tall beauties surrounded by trees that are several hundred feet tall is a contrast of beautiful proportions.

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Paul, while the flower is clearly the main theme, I’m enjoying those lovely green leaves and the hint of fallen leaves around them. For me, the color in the leaves is a scene stealer (that I like a lot, so I don’t suggest darkening or desaturating them). I do wonder how a slight dodging of the upper half of the flower would effect the overall viewing.

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Thanks @Mark_Seaver

. I was afraid to lighten the flower too much, but I think you’re right. I brightened the flower and brought out a little more of the area around the bottom.

Beautiful image … great tone and has a real nice vibe … both images work in my opinion…

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Thanks so much @Gill_Vanderlip