Ghostly Shape Shifter

50% Less Sharpening

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


This solitary Joshua Tree was located away from the many in the distant view here. Sunrise during late summer at JTNP.

Specific Feedback


Technical Details

Wista DXIII 4x5 - Schneider APO 120mm lens - Velvia 50.

1 Like

Paul, you really captured a great isolation scene. I also give kudos to the color palette in the photo. It captured the sunrise tones really well. The one thing I would like to have seen here was more separation between the Joshua tree and the mountain in the BG. If you could have lowered the camera a little, I think that would have made the image stand out even more separating the tree from the mountain.

Paul, As I look at your effective image with great light and magenta tones, I think of the woeful state of Joshua Tree and our other national parks that are suffering from climate change. I believe Joshua trees are on the endangered list. I like your composition, the lonely ghost in the parched desert. Your title for the image is right on. I agee with @Egidio about separating the tree and background. His thought of a lower point of view is a good one. Perhaps you have this image over sharpened; what do you think?

@Egidio @Larry_Greenbaum thank you both for the review and positive comments on this image.
I do see the point of the background mountain and tree overlap. I can’t make any changes there per se but I did lower the sharpening for another look. That is a challenge for my aging eyes as time goes by… :upside_down_face:

Paul, the less sharpened photo is more pleasing indeed.

About the aging eyes, I hear you loud and clear. I have keratoconus in my right eye, and it keeps getting worse. Some days that right eye is good, some days not.

Egildio, although I’m not having anything as severe as what you’re dealing with I do have very similar issues day to day with my right eye as well…UGH !

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Hi Paul,
what a great tree. I love the shape of it. And the bark looks really interesting as well.
The colors are awesome.

I agree with the others about the position of the tree against the background.

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Paul, the struggling J-tree is amazingly well isolated here. The subtle colors in the sky look great and add some pleasing warmth to a stark landscape.

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Hi Paul,

Always enjoy your work from JT - and this is no exception. Terrific entry for the Challenge as this is most certainly an isolated specimen - and from what I can tell, no doing well? But for sure, the story of isolation and really demise, are showcased here.

Love the colors, especially the hint of earth’s shadow in the sky. Ok, I’ll chime in about the merge of the branch and mountain, but honestly quite a minor point. The definition of nit-picky (mine.)

Thanks for sharing this beautiful and poingnant image.


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Paul, what a touching way to highlight life’s struggle in this world that is our home. Enough has been said about the branch and the mountain. The play of delicate tints in the sky against the warm hues of the foreground play off each other in powerful ways. The sky’s “softness” emphasizes the angular shapes of a struggling tree. Your photo has much to say. Thank you. I tend to push sharpening and not judge what is desirable for others.

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@Jens_Ober @Mark_Seaver @Lon_Overacker @Barbara_Djordjevic Thank you all so much for the review and comments on this scene.
Overall Joshua Trees in general are threatened. As we are all long standing photogs we realize this whole planet is under threat from environmental damage. Sadly, not enough decision makers understand or better stated care about the issues.
I was lucky to have this image published back in 2020 in the Inland Empire Magazine here in So Cal… :cowboy_hat_face: