Farewell to Winter

Image Description

I went into town a couple of days ago to do a few small errands and drag myself to the gym. We had received about 6 inches of snow recently, but the weather forecast was for temps. to head into the mid 40s this next week. I decided to bring my camera just in case I decided to go somewhere when I was done in town to catch a last photo or two of winter snow before it disappeared until next winter. Of course, we could still have a winter storm come through at any time, but with the warmer winters we’ve had for a few years, I don’t think we will. By the time I left town, the snow had melted there. I live in a higher elevation so I decided to head home and try walking through a beautiful tall dense forest of giant Red Spruce trees near my home. The sky was blue and I though I might be able to find some nice dappled light coming through the trees. The one image I’m posting is the only decent photo I got, but I did enjoy walking through several inches of snow in the forest. It was a farewell to winter walk.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.

  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

Finding images in these very dense forests is a great challenge. I have become better at finding them, but sometimes I wonder if there are shots all around me and I just don’t see them. Anytime I take a shot in these type forests that doesn’t look like a bunch of clutter, I’m very happy.

Technical Details

Sony a7r v 24-70mm @70mm
ISO 320


I have to admit, the thumbnail wasn’t grabbing me. At least it seemed a little awkward, unbalanced, I’m not quite sure. But that was the first glance at the thumbnail… Then I opened the image and was delighted to see an image where my first thought was, this looks like a painting - or a sketch with color pencils. The sapling so vibrant and the autumn leaves brilliant in the dappled sunlight. Toss in the texture of the pines and all of it creating a beautiful image.

I hesitate more and more editing another photographer’s image - but then again I’m hoping that we’re all striving to make our images “the best that they can be” (of course understanding that the “best” is subjective and we each have our own definitions.)

So I couldn’t help but tinker. This may or may not be an improvement upon your vision. I cropped in from the left to really emphazie those 3 main elements, the backlit birch, the texture in the pines and the vibrant sapling. I think all balanced nicely by cropping. Minor, but I also cloned out the errant branch in the LRC. I’d be tempted to go Orton on this… but I didn’t do anything but the crop and cloning. I even think the hint of left over snowfall works well in the scene too. Here’s my edit:

Hey Lon, I have no problems with anyone editing my photo. Generally when I edit someone’s photo, I do it because I think it would be fun to play around and see what my take would be on it. I see it as a compliment and a great way to look at my photos in a different way which leads to learning. When I first started NPN, I got very confused when I had 2 or 3 members edit my photo differently. I thought my photo wasn’t that good and everyone was trying to show me how to edit it. I got over that, thank goodness. I like your crop. I find merit in both images. I’ll have to study these two versions to figure out which one I’ll go with. Maybe I’ll crop it and keep both. It’s a tough choice. I hope others will chime in on this one. It always help to understand what others think and can point out why they like one or the other. Thanks for taking your time to post this.

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Absolutely. I’m the same way. Last year I went to Alaska for 2 weeks and didn’t make a single shot the first week. There couldn’t have been subjects the 2nd week and not the first week. I think seeing has more to do with what’s within you than what’s outside of you. There are all sorts of things going on inside that constitutes perception. But it is frustrating when awareness just isn’t ‘happening’. I felt it again in Death Valley. You think it should happen naturally and actually forcing it is the worst thing you can do. Then it never ‘happens’. Roger Beatty writes about the perception part of creativity:

The primary brain network involved in idea generation is the default network , so named because it is engaged “by default” when we allow our minds to wander, not focusing on anything in particular. It is active when we daydream and spontaneous thoughts carry our minds away, whether those thoughts take us to recollected memories of the past, alternate variations of the present, or visions of potential futures.

This sort of makes sense to me. The goal is to make an image but you do it by simply wandering unintentionally and letting things take you where they will. It’s a frame of mind. It’s hard to get into it when you’ve made a specific trip to make images. And then tell yourself that it’s not that important.

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Hi Donna,
that’s a beautiful image. I love the nice light and the painterly look of the scene.

If I had to change anything about the image, I would pull down the highlights in the areas between the tree trunks where the bright background shows through.

It’s only a small adjustment, but it removes some distractions.

Oh yes, I can only agree with you there. Forest is a challenge for photographers. I sometimes roam a nearby forest for half a day without unpacking my camera even once. But that’s perfectly fine for me because I just enjoy being out in nature. So carrying a heavy backpack is a good workout. :rofl:

Donna , in my opinion I should leave your fine image as it is. Although the remakes are also making good images. Which shows the possibilities of an image like this. To me it’s always rather personal .


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@Igor_Doncov Yeah, it does make sense. Most of the time when I go out for a day with my camera, I don’t know where I’m going that day. I make a decision on how I feel at the moment when I get into my car or I choose a direction to go and make the decision while I’m driving. Most of the time, I don’t even have in mind what I want to shoot. I think this process helps some or at least I think I bring home more interesting photos. I never care when I’m shooting in my area if I take a photo or not. I think just having that camera in my hand and walking around in beauty is satisficing to me. Of course, it never hurts to come home with a few nice images. Thanks for your response.

@Jens_Ober Yes, yes, I can see that this little tweak makes a difference. Thank you very much for giving me this great tip. I’ll remember this in the future, especially with woodland photography. Thank you.

I’m exceptional at failing at this very thing. I live in an area of great forest beauty, and it frustrates me to no end to be walking through that beauty and to not be able to come away with a decent representation of it.

When I first opened your image large (it is better large), for some reason all of the interesting lines made me think what a wonderful jigsaw puzzle the image would make. My wife loves puzzles, and this image would be both beautiful and challenging as a puzzle.

Donna, I prefer your original version too. I think it’s got a wonderfully calm feeling to it. I too struggle with getting these kinds of forest scenes right. You certainly succeeded here.

Hi Donna,

This is a really nice image, the colors and textures are the highlights of it for me.
Parts of this have a hand painted feel, it’s mostly the brown leaves and the evergreens.
I like the slivers of light coming through the trees on the left, that adds depth IMO.

I’m not suggesting any changes, I’m only sharing my thoughts, the horizontal limb with the line of snow clinging to the top is both a positive and a negative for me.
It’s positive because it has the line of snow clinging to the top of it, it’s also negative because my attention keeps going back to it even after I have studied it for a bit (that’s just me).

The subtle highlights on the brown leaves and the evergreen add to the overall appeal.

@Ben_van_der_Sande @John_Williams @David_Bostock @Merv Thank all of you for your feedback. I am keeping the original. I did darken the highlights some behind the bright leaves like @Jens_Ober suggested and though it made for a better composition.

John, I give you permission to use this photo to make a jigsaw puzzle for your wife :blush:.

Mervin, I went round and round trying to decide whether to take that large branch out. I did take a small section where the branch went behind the other trunk and protruded out the other side out of it. That helped. I think the name I used “Farewell to Winter” kept me from taking it out completely. The snow in the background didn’t show up that much, so the large branch with the snow on it help to justify the name.