Golden Rain Tree, a.k.a Pride of India (Koelreuteria paniculata)



This picture was taken at the start of the pandemic in Holland Park, in the centre of London, UK in the spring of 2020. I first started shooting with my mobile phone and realized that the leaves looked interesting. I returned the next day with my DSLR. These are young leaves. As they mature, they turn green. A few weeks later and after much research, including tracking down the Head Gardener, I found out that this tree is called “Golden Rain Tree”. Quite! English parks and gardens are amazing!

Specific Feedback Requested

To me, the view looking up/upside down (as shot) provides a “floating sensation”. It’s easy enough to rotate, but I find the image more “heavily grounded” and banal. What do you guys think?

Any other feedback welcome.

Technical Details

Nikon D5300 f9 1/640 100 @34mm


Hey Laura! I’ll admit I didn’t get the upside down view until reading the description which is a great thing in my opinion. I always strive to take abstract scenes that make them something that people have to figure out. You’ve done that here. I reminded me of branches reaching down to the surface of calm water reflecting the sky. Really well done!

Hi Laura, I like the upside down feel. I feel like I’m lying on the ground looking up. The only thing I might suggest its to lighten the upper half and two upper corners some. It feels a bit heavy up there.

I love the glow on the leaves. Wonderful.

@David_Johnston Hi David, many thanks for your feedback. I must confess that I rotated the image to post and then changed my mind and braved it. I’m aware that it won’t work for everyone , so am very glad to hear that you like the idea. And I am amazed by your suggestion of the sky being a reflection in water because that’s exactly how I see it myself but , up until now, never knew if it resonated with anyone else.

@David_Bostock Many thanks David. Yes, definitely lying on the ground looking up and floating in the sky sort of thing… so glad this makes sense because I’ve always had big doubts about presenting the image in the way that it was taken. Oh, it hadn’t occurred to me at all to lighten the upper half and upper corners. I shall try it and see what it brings, thank you.

Oooh, beautiful! I didn’t have any issues with the orientation. In fact, I think I prefer the “floating downward” aspect. This is so very graceful.

@Bonnie_Lampley Many thanks for your kind words and for your vote in favour of the “floating downward/ upside down” original take, Bonnie!

Hi @David_Bostock, I must confess that I took the image into PS not quite seeing what you meant but the moment I turned the layer vis on and off, the improvement jumped at me! It’s just a curves adjustment with a simple gradient mask to lighten the top of the image for the moment, as vignetting isn’t my forte… Hopefully, I can return some day to do a finer vignetting job. Many thanks for the advice, David!

@David_Bostock Sorry, David, just realized that the edited image was of different dimensions and have uploaded one of the same dimensions as the original.

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