Ghostly Trees at DeadVlei

What makes this image expressive?

The trees at DeadVlei in the Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia are over 900 years old. I saw this grouping and decided to make a double exposure, hoping for a ghostly photo - showing the spirit of the trees in the white clay pan against the bronze colored dunes. I feel the pain of these trees as they were starved of water and turned to petrified wood. I want the viewer to see whatever they want to see.

Specific Feedback Requested

Just want feedback on your thoughts of the image. Should I lighten, darken, less vignette, more vignette? I added content aware at the bottom because the 2nd tree on left was touching the bottom of the photo. - thoughts on that?


Original image SOOC.

Thanks for posting Roberta, and the image is really very striking. I like reading the comments you make about the intent and the process. Part of expressive photography is to convey using colour, contrast, atmosphere, geometry and luminosity; emotions, stories: a feeling.

The use of the double exposure immediately creates a flowing, softer and more ghostly feel, however, the rich red tones of the dunes are always going to feel energetic and probably positive. Each of the elements has a consequence, and changing any of them will change the impact. I’d probably level the line between the clay and the dunes, the frame feels like it is drifting down to the right. The content aware is unnoticeable and I agree 100% in that choice. Creating space there is critical.

All in all, I think the presentation really works. It can be agonising to make endless choices, as each one is a different image. A good gut reaction is to process until nothing bugs you any more then move on…

A beautiful image, filled with ghosts… great work.

Thank you so very much Alister!! I’m honored that you took the time to give me such a detailed and thoughtful critique. I did boost the photo a bit in Nik with"Reflector Efex" because it was kind of “drab”, so it made the trees darker and the sand dunes more ochre, which is the effect you saw. I am working on the photo again, and I leveled it andwill work on your suggestions and see what I can do. Thanks again - I hope you get my thank you @Alister_Benn !