ICM Northern Hradwoods

This is a re-post as I wanted to get your comments.

Taken in Michigan’s UP in the fall, it was my first attempt at ICM. I tried a number of techniques, but I like this one the best. I tilted the camera slightly up while the shutter was opened for this photo.

Specific Feedback Requested

I would like your comments on my original photo. This is a re-post, and after input from the community I found that square crop, eliminating the darkest trees on the left and right works very well.

All comments are welcomed.

Technical Details

Canon5D IV | EF17-40 @ 33mm | f22 | 1.0s | ISO 100
Processed using ACR and Photoshop

Hi David –

I very much like the texture you were able to get with your ICM technique. The lower half of the photo looks almost like layers of leaves on the ground, which adds to the autumnal feeling of the photo. I also like the feeling of texture and directionality in the trees. These qualities both add visual interest that ICM photos sometimes lack.

My first reaction is that the trees on the left and right (especially the right) feel really heavy. They add some nice framing but I think I like a simpler scene with a tighter crop, as suggested below. If there was more room on the right of the dominant tree, I think it might work a bit better but since it is the heaviest thing in the frame and is right on the edge, I think it dominates a bit too much without some breathing room. With this crop, the repetition of the trees feels pretty balanced across the frame, which I personally like because it feels more harmonious.

I also played around with the color balance in Photoshop. You could consider shifting the colors to a deeper golden tone and a bit away from the strong yellows, especially at the top. I also did some rough brightening along the bottom edge to even out the tonality a bit. There is a section along the lower left side that is pretty dark in your original and I think the more consistent tone across the bottom helps the image feel more balanced.

PS - The colors look more yellow in my upload than I intended. Pretend that they are more orangy and golden!

I think this is gorgeous! I love the amount of blur on the wispy trunks and the impressions of leaves at the base. I agree with @Sarah_Marino that the two dark areas on the edges are a bit heavy, but I think there si an alternative to her crop. I cropped less from the right and cloned a bit to remove the base of the dark trunk, then lightened the darkest areas on the left, admittedly with a slightly clumsy mask. Added a slight burn at the bottom.

Thank you for taking time to provide your input. I find the openness in this forum very helpful to my growth as a photographer.

I re-posted this photo because it’s my favorite of the ICM photos I have taken so far. I’m considering having it printed, but I need to dial in the editing before discussing with my wife again.

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