Dead Trees of Marin County

My wife and I did a ten-mile hike to this location over New Years holiday so I didn’t bring my tripod and did whatever I could handheld.

Fuji XT-2, XF18-55mmF2.8-4 at 39mm, 1/40 sec; f/13; ISO 640, handheld

What technical feedback would you like if any?

My first post to the new NPN. Should I have converted this to sRGB?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

What are your thoughts, do you think this would work better as a black and white?

The stark dead trees certainly grab my attention. I would slightly crop the left and right side to clean up the edges by eliminating the trees that are right on the edges. Also, I would darken the top center.

Is this an inlet on a reservoir with a dropping water level?

OOPS, I didn’t see your questions. Yes, sRGB is preferred for web presentation. I’m partial to color, but B&W could provide even more contrast for the trees.

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I really like your composition Richard and really think this would make a wonderful B&W. The highlights are a little harsh in the foreground water. Not sure if post processing can correct that. Guess it depends on quality of your RAW file.

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Richard I really like the concept of having a tunnel of trees lead your eyes down to the back of this inlet, this has a very unusual perspective that I like. The repetition of trees as they lead into the distance is very interesting. I agree with Eva that the harsh highlights in the water create a distraction. I would recommend you consider a crop from the bottom to eliminate most of that bright water. In the lower right corner there is a downed tree at a 45 degree angle, I would crop just above where it enters the waterline. In my opinion this retains the tunnel trees effect, while minimizing the distraction of the bright water. I would do a little tonal balancing here too, the trees and shoreline on the left are much brighter than the right side, and I would reduce exposure on the left side with a gradient.

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This is a very interesting shot Richard. I feel like this is a shot that tells a story about the location, which gives it added depth. The composition works well for me, and I like how the water and shoreline form a triangular shape that pulls me into the photo. The light colored dead trees very nicely accent the light area of the water. The green plants growing at the waters edge tie in nicely to the green trees.

This is the sort of photo that the longer you look at it, the more you see, and I appreciate that about it. It isn’t a “in your face” photo, but more of a calm, take it all in with a cup of tea sort of photo. If anything, I would like to see a tad bit more on the left side of the frame while still seeing exactly what I see on the right side. Maybe there isn’t anything over there, but I think that’s just a matter of me wanting to see even greater symmetry with the water and shore line to help reinforce the sense of calm.

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Richard, Nice first returning post. I like this quite a lot. It tells a great story, which I think is the main asset here. The starkness of the bald dead trees create a nice visual contrast with the rich greens of the healthy forest. My interpretation is that these trees all died as a result of the reservoir first getting filled up. Can’t see this as a result of fire or beetles because it’s only the trees that would have been covered when water filled up. The comp works nicely with the vertical trees against curves and layers of the shoreline.

Re: sRGB - yes, always, but begs the question, what was this save and posted as?

Hard to say whether or not this would work better in b&w, I guess the proof is in the pudding … you’d have to see how it looks. I’m thinking it would work pretty well.


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Thanks Bill. Good advice, I’ll take a look and see how that works. I believe it is a reservoir in severe drought.

Thanks Eva. I’ll try to burn down the highlights and see if there is any color I can get out of it. I’ll have to post a B&W of this soon.

Good stuff Ed, thanks. I agree that the most interesting part is probably in the middle where are the trees are clustered. At some point I’ll probably end up doing the hike again with tripod and longer lens so I can get a bit more focal length reach.

Thanks Ben. I’ll look at some of my outtakes and see if I have anything on the left side.

Good question, Lon. I posted this as regular RGB since I wasn’t sure what to post here. As for the trees, they died from flooding. No widespread bark beetle disease in Marin from what I’ve seen so far. Thanks!