Forest as Stained Glass

Edit: Thanks to all who commented. I took your advice and did some more work on this. Also brightened it up overall.

On a hike around Phoenix Lake in Marin County, went down to a promising cove and it didn’t disappoint. Phoenix Lake, one of the water-supply lakes for part of Marin Co., is rather blah, landscape-wise. The wind made the perfect ripples, though, for this scene.

What technical feedback would you like if any? What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any comments welcome.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Single frame, Sony a7riii, 24-105mm @105mm, f/8, 1/80s, ISO 800; processing = localized dodging, burning, hue/saturation.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.
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This looks like something Monet would have painted. Nice abstract.

This makes a lovely, interesting reflection. The colors are great. I’m sure many who walked past didn’t see this, so good job at a “blah” place.

This is awesome Bonny, it really grabbed my attention when i was scrolling through the thumbnails. This is a wonder reflection, it’s like the stained glass of the “Church of Nature”.

What I like the most about this image is how you kept the greens and grays somewhat cooler toned, with the warmer orange colored leaves sprinkled across the reflection. The combination of those colors is very appealing to me. I also like the rich black shadows you used in your processing, it adds a lot of pop to the image.

My only suggestion would be a slight crop from the bottom, the darker tones there don’t add much IMO, and I think a crop would draw more attention to the “stained glass”.


Oh my, this is out of this world fantastic! So unique and wonderful. The colors are rich and vibrant, yet not over the top (not even close.) I might agree with Ed in some crop from the bottom. Even the large view reveals plenty of interest and mosaic patterns, it’s almost like there’s a top and a bottom half. If anything a slight crop off the bottom would take this out of the 50/50 camp - ok, it’s not exactly 50/50 as presented…

I have a question if you don’t mind. These reflection patters have come up recently (my recent post and TJ’s earlier.) My experience is that one can’t really see the reflections as captured until you view them after the fact, given a higher shutter speed. I see your ss was just 1/80th. I’m curious if you were able to see this patters before hand, or did they manifest themselves because of the shutter speed and capture. No doubt and regardless if you see the patterns or not, recognizing the potential here is a big deal.

Love this image, thanks for sharing!


Thanks, @Richard_Teller, @Kathy_Barnhart, @Ed_McGuirk, and @Lon_Overacker!

Lon, I could more or less see the patterns and it’s why I made the photo, but you’re right, it’s difficult to tell exactly what you’ll get until later. I probably should have had a higher shutter speed, but I didn’t think of that. I do that quite often - slow the shutter speed without regard for what it will do (just doesn’t enter my mind :roll_eyes:). I made some more photos after this series, with a faster shutter speed, but it was a different “subject” (the ripples had changed), so it’s hard to tell if that would have made a difference.

Ed, I agree that the darker areas at the bottom aren’t as interesting. I cropped some off the bottom right away, as there was more of the “muddy” looking area, but didn’t want to go further and lose the faint line of the tree’s shadow angling down towards the lower left. I can work on the dark area a bit more.

Bonnie, I love reflection abstracts and your shot here shows why, it’s spectacular. The shattered, stained glass look is terrific, especially in the branches region. Shutter speed makes a huge difference, with longer shutters washing out the details but enhancing the textures. I think the dark area at the bottom adds considerably to this, but I would suggest some midtone dodging to bring out the colors. A bit of burning in along the lower left would reduce how much attention that area gets, letting the top half gather even more attention.

@Lon_Overacker, you can see some of the pattern. In particular, you can see whether there are fine ripples roughening or degrading the larger individual shapes, depending on the wind speed. This looks like a gentle breeze view possibly with some shoreline reflections.

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This is quite wonderful. I love the mood it creates, and the detail in the ripples is excellent. No nits here, Bonnie.

Well done!

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This really does look like an impressionist painting. Pissarro comes to mind. He was one of the early ones.

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Hi Bonnie - This is such a fantastic photo! The patterns in the water are fantastic and I love the mix of colors. I think your revision looks perfect.

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Nothing to add; this is the bomb Bonnie. I need to go find something like this to shoot…

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Thank you, @Mark_Seaver, @Sarah_Marino, @Igor_Doncov, @Preston_Birdwell, and @John_Williams! I really appreciate your appreciation and advice.

Bonnie: My first impression from the thumbnail was that this was a Photoshop effect but the fact it’s natural makes it all the better. Really well seen and a delight to view.>=))>

You’ve lost some color in the leaves in the rework. I find it too contrasty as well. I would raise the luminosity of the original and reintroduce the lost colors. Just my opinion.

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This is spectacular Bonnie. you have captured a very painterly abstract. I like the second image best since the color and patterns really pop.

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