Foggy Forest - Bend/Don't Break

I shot this image early in the morning last weekend trying to catch some fog in a coastal forest. This section of the hike seemed to be recovering from a fire in recent years (can’t find info on when though) causing the bases of the tree trunks to be charred and black in areas.

I noticed this spot and composition where the trees were leaning heavily to the right. The consistent motion contrasting against other vertical trunks caught my eye. I shot this pointing up the hill trying to convey the somber mood of the recovering forest in fog with trees that are stressed by unnatural angles.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

How well does the composition and processing work for this image?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

As far as conveying a mood/emotion, did I hit the mark or miss it entirely?

Any pertinent technical details:

Is there anything off technically?

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Oooohh! Now this is different. Thought provoking. You split the image in half with the tree. It’s a bold comp. Maybe a tad more room at the base of the tree would be good. Just a smidgeon. And the fern in lower right draws away from the story.

It’s a scene of devastation. Not very uplifting but it does pack a punch.

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Different to be certain and a more somber mood to be conveyed. Placing the tree in the center like that was something I wasn’t sure about when shooting either. Glad it isn’t just me and others think it still works! I see what you are saying about the base of the centered tree as it is an awkward place to cut off the image at now that I see it. Thank you for the considered feedback!

Hi Kyle,

Lovely image. If it were mine, I would consider cropping it just to the top 2/3rds or so and removing the bottom 1/3rd. I can see why this appealed to you with the very cool bent tree in center but the issue for me is that other than that element, the bottom third is rather lackluster compared to the area above it. If you could crop in such a way to still leave some sense of the bending tree and leave the mood more centered on the beautiful foggy area above, I think you would be onto a winner. This would also leave you with more of a panoramic crop which I feel would work beautifully for this type of image. Well seen!

You’re right. The top 2/3rds of the image is more interesting and more beautiful. The main reason I am hesitant to lose the bottom 1/3rd is the story it tells in the foreground with the centered and blackened bark of the tree. I’m not sure it would work the same to tell the story I want to tell if I cropped too much out, and it would become a story about a beautiful foggy scene. I am going to have to keep playing around with the crop though for sure to find that balance!

That’s a good reason, I respect that. I would just say that remember that to tell a story, you don’t always need to be specific/explicit. A suggestion is often good enough and leads to a more satisfying experience for the viewer for them to draw their own conclusions. But yes, I’m sure playing around with the crop will allow you to get this balance right. Curious to see where you end up with it!

Subtlety and mystery are always more fun! Well said Anthony to those points.

I think this crop is more along the lines you were thinking cutting a generous amount from the bottom while retaining crucial storytelling elements!