Early spring growth

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This is an attempt to capture the soft colors of early spring (well, it’s still early here in Michigan) in a stand of woods along an inland lakeshore. This view is from about 1/4 mile across the lake and was taken at 400mm with a 70-200mm lens with a 2x teleconverter. Unfortunately, a closer vantage point was impossible without a boat.

Specific Feedback

General feedback on compositing, processing. I was not happy with the sharpness of the image out of the camera and processed the RAW image in Topaz Photo AI. Would welcome opinions as to how well it rendered, particularly from those of you who have used Topaz. Also any thoughts on additional processing you’d suggest. I wanted to keep the colors soft and pastel as they were in reality.

Technical Details

Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8, 2x teleconverter at 400mm, 1/125, f/20. RAW processed in Topaz Photo AI; minimal processing in Lr for contrast, texture, clarity.

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This is wonderful! Fabulous job isolating this scene from afar; the long focal length compresses any depth - and then creates kind of a tapestry. If that makes any sense? One of the key elements that I think anchors this scene are the darker branches of the tree(s) with the spring greens up top. A nice visual place for the eye to return to after exploring all the colors throughout.

I love the variety of spring colors here too. So delicate as the timing of the season is just right there.

As far as sharpness goes, I think perhaps this is about as good as one might expect at this distance. In fact, any sharper and you start to lose that softness or delicateness of the scene. I use Topaz DeNoise which I imagine is the same engine in the Photo AI app. I expect it worked great with this particular scene (not having any reference to the RAW image of course.)

Can’t say I have any nits or suggestions, although I suppose if I did, I would wish for a skosh more space up top. But this is quite wonderful as presented.

Thanks for posting!


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Lovely!! You captured some very nice sweeps of soft color. I’m with @Lon_Overacker that aiming the camera up a little would have been good, bu there was probably a distraction there – so often the case. One trick I like with very detailed scenes like this is to try Nik CEP Glamour Glow – it can work a kind of magic sometimes.

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@Lon_Overacker and @Diane_Miller , thanks so much for your encouraging comments. I recently acquired the Nik collection bundle, but haven’t yet had an opportunity to experiment with the tools.

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Fantastic image. I love the subtle pops of color here. I think you could have even gone further subtle or even more color - both might work! Love it!

Thanks. I was having the same debate on colors. Good to know there is more than one option.

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This reminds me so much of an Eliot Porter image (Appalachian Sprint?) in both subject and the soft treatment of colors and tones. I would have suggested a composition build around the framework of those trees Lon mentions. That would be a significant crop, however, and not likely what you would want. I’m on the fence on whether those cyan greens should be desaturated a bit or not. They do draw the eye a bit.

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Now that’s the nicest compliment I’ve ever received. Many thanks for your thoughts.

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