Hearty little Aspen +Repost!

Just got back Monday from a few days in the Eastern Sierra. While I shot my share of typical aspen scenes… I’m always on the look out for something different and unique. When I came across this hearty little aspen literally growing out the side of a big boulder, I was attracted to this little scene and had to photograph it. This little guy was a just a few feet in height, but I believe part of a very old grove of aspen where just a few feet away were some trunks where the bark was splitting and peeling away.

As always, any and all feedback and suggestions welcome. In fact, I purposefully did not crop or clone anything here in hopes of getting some feedback/suggestions. I did process for color, saturation, exposure, but also looking for feedback on the processing as well.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Especially interested in any cropping/framing suggestions

What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Any pertinent technical details:

Nikon D800E, Nikon 28-300mm at about 110mm f/18



Thanks for the great feedback! Reposting here with a number of changes. First, agree about the leaves at the bottom and a crop was definitely in the cards, so thanks for confirming that.

Good call on trying to separate color and luminosity between the trunk and the rock. I was able to somehow loosely mask out the trunk, then using a Selective Color and B&W layer (luminosity mode) to cool down and adjust the rock without effecting the aspen trunk. I then inverted that selection and brought up the exposure of the trunk.

Separating the sage was a little more problematic and again I used a loose and sloppy method of a simple Levels layer, tweaking a couple of channels to increase the green/cyan and luminosity. I masked all of that out, and then painted on the mask by hand to bring back the color/luminosity changes in the sage. I’m hoping this looks ok now; subtle, but I think able the separate the sage a little bit.

Lastly, some cropping and edge clean up with some cloning.

Thank you again! This is the great value of the critique and being able to improve our images. Please let me know if this was an improvement or if you have any additional suggestions!

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

This quite different from your usual compositions, and I mean that in a good way.

There is a starkness here that I find appealing, and that is due, in part, to the nearly monochromatic color.

I think the framing works as it is. You might consider cloning out that little branch in very top left corner.

I wondering how this would look with a touch blue/cyan added to the rock and the sage?

Interesting image that I really like, Lon.

Lon, very different on this one for sure. I always enjoy seeing images pushing out of the norm such as this one. I like the “wishbone” tree and it’s overall bareness as well.
As for thoughts of processing I might entertain some possible color balance changes just for fun to see what that might produce. Of course complete B&W is almost a given too. But mostly I might try more contrast or darkening on the BG to get a bit of separation on the tree from that area.
Just some ideas and as always hard to tell without moving sliders and such. You already know the drill, it’s always subjective…:sunglasses:

Real nice little scene. I like the suggestions of Preston and Paul. I also would consider a crop off the bottom to eliminate the ground spot. I go back and forth on it. Might make the tweaks first then play with crops. Nicely seen and captured.

Beautiful intimate scene, Lon. The forked aspen makes for a great subject matter. I second some of the suggestions on attempting to get better color and luminosity separation between the aspen, the rock and the sage. I also agree with Harley’s suggestion for a slight crop to eliminate/minimize that small brown patch of ground.

Nice shot Lon. I love the idea. There are a few things compostionally I would consider. To me the brown leaves in the lower portion of the frame are quite distracting. I think to include leaves like that they need to be more of a feature of the image . See image below. If you crop in from the bottom right this will do the trick and will also put the base of the trunk on a third as well as the upper right main branch. I think moving the tree from the centre of the frame helps balance the image a bit better. As it’s late on friday evening here and i’m tired I did dl the shot and make the adjustments…I dont think I have articulated myself very well :rofl:


You articulated yourself just perfectly @Eugene_Theron. Thanks for the feedback and suggestions!

Repost looks really good. I might even do a clone to terminate the dead branch exiting the image center right, have it terminate within the image. Very minor, but… :slight_smile:

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Good suggestion Mr. H.! I’ll incorporate that in the master file. Thanks!