Cycle of Life

I decided to explore the area around Mt Rainier this spring. I spent so much driving that I never slowed down mentally to create anything worthwhile. My waterfall compositions seemed uninspired and cliche. The mossy trees I coveted never seemed to have good light. Finally I spied this opening in field of trees with dappled light. Let me know what you think.

D810, 70-200 lens.

Dick’s work to better see the changes he made:


Oh My! Cue the strains of Peer Gynt. I enjoy the textures and the waves of bright and dim forest floor from front to back. The tree on the left and cedar branches on the right frame things nicely.
I appreciate the bright and eye-drawing gap between the two logs. I might dodge/burn a bit differently, as foreground edge seems a little bright.

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I have only been to Mt. Rainier twice, but if you are referring to the waterfalls that are right off the park loop road, yeah there are only a few “tried and true” compositions available from the viewpoints and road. Unless you use a telephoto to extract small sections of the falls.

However, this image is a worthy alternative to those waterfalls. I think the rain-forests of the Pacific Northwest are very hard to shoot, because they can be so chaotic in nature. I really like how you simplified this forest image, by more or less removing the trees. This image emphasizes the forest understory, tree roots and fallen logs, and achieves good simplification as a result. I particularly like the echoing repetition of the logs/roots from front to back, and how that repetition ends with dappled light on the log in the ULC. And the way you have used framing elements in each of the four corners of the images is very nice as well. I’d say this was a pretty good alternative to the waterfalls Igor.

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Another carefully thought out composition, Igor. While this image is asymmetrical, it is nicely balanced. The tree on the left is balanced by the dark, mossy clump on the right and the repeating patterns of the dead logs lying horizontally act like steps bringing me into the beautifully lit glade in the background. The light and textures are compelling. The colour palette, with all its shades of green and brown, perfectly conveys the northwest forest feel. I think Dick’s rework offers some good suggestions although I would be careful not to over do the darkening if you decided to fiddle with it.

This image looks like a waterfall to me, it all comes down wild.

Who needs the waterfalls after you came away with this beautifully crafted image. This has a fairy tale look to it that I find very inviting and relaxing. The soft lighting here is sublime and shows off a multitude of textures and details in this lovely section of the forest floor. I particularly like the roots as repeating shapes as they take me into this wonderland of green and let the eye bask in the wonderful light at the top of the frame. Gorgeous image and great eye to isolate this scene.

I like your changes, Dick. I had actually burned the lrc quite a bit but clearly not enough. There are a few other changes you made that I’ll have to examine as well. Thanks.

I went up there expecting a fg of wildflowers with the snow capped peak rising above. The peak was hidden by fog and not a flower to be found. Too early I guess.

Igor, I must admit that when I first opened this, my initial impression was “meh”. But it has grown on me quite a bit. I guess some images without a wow factor are meant to be savored. I do have one nit though. I think there is way too much magenta in the logs twigs, etc.

Igor, what an idyllic small scene you found. I immediately saw steps leading me into a lush forest. Beautifully captured!

Igor this is quite a fairy land on the forest floor. I prefer your original with the “lighter” look. It conveys a feeling of happy sprites ready to run through it.

I find shooting forest difficult because it’s so hard to find open, cohesive areas that are not chaotic. It’s a lot of work. The more I look through this image the more I like it. I immediately saw a huge bird tallon on the right side of the image. Your framing is excellent. It allows my eye to wander around taking in all areas of the image.
I must admit that I much prefer @Dick_Knudson’s rendition on this shot. It feels moodier, more dramatic, less harsh, and more cohesive with light and colors.
I almost always come away with something better and different than what I was hoping to shoot when I have predetermined ideas for a trip. It’s serendipity for sure.

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I like how you created the effect of a waterfall with foliage and trees. The colors look great, and a slight vignette could work or the dodge and burn suggested.

FWIW, to get Rainier wildflowers, it’s usually an early August trip. Alpine meadows in the cascade range tend to peak late July to mid August.


Thanks, Marylynne. I guess I’ll give it another try. I suppose there will be crowds by then, something I tried to avoid.

Igor, my two trips to the Paradise area at Rainier were during the first week in August, and I hit the wildflower jackpot both times. It is an amazing place.

I really like the image, the color palette, and the lighting. I can’t decide if about 20% crop from the bottom would be beneficial.

Lovely. The progression of fallen logs, even though they are perfectly horizontal and across the frame, lead my eye back into the frame, to that mysterious dark space behind the farthest fallen log. the light feels good to me as is.

I like how my eye uses the fallen logs to flow through the scene.

@Ed_Lowe, @David_Haynes, @Michael_Lowe, @Kerry_Gordon, @Eva_McDermott, @Dick_Knudson, @Bonnie_Lampley, @Izzy, @Ed_McGuirk, @Marylynne_Diggs, @Stephen_Stanton, @Mark_Muller, @Ben_van_der_Sande

Thank you for your comments. I still don’t know how I feel about this image. It certainly doesn’t wow you but there are certain qualities about it that appeal to me. Just need to give it more time I guess. I do like the yellowing cast that Dick added to the image.

Thanks for giving an update on when to shoot Rainier. That could be very helpful in the future.

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