Joshua Tree edited

Walking in this area of the Joshua Tree National Park this time of year was quite pleasant. Not too hot like it will be shortly. It would be amazing to be here during the cactus bloom. As I was walking the short path, I noticed these drooping trees. I am assuming it is due to it being just an old tree, but could be from a lack of water. Not sure. But I did notice the more vibrant tree behind it and thought it would tell a story of old/new, dead/alive.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I like the image for the things I have already related above. I would hope you can see my previous photo and see if this latest photo is more telling of the story.

Technical Details

I edited this image from the feedback previously given. Let me know if this is the best place to put image or I should have added to my previous post. I had a hard time deciding whether or not to do a black/white image. I think that would have worked as well. I edited out some distracting bushes on LL. I added a bush instead on LL that is a copy of the one next to it. I darkened up the sky and lightened up a bit below the drooping tree


Margaret: I looked at your other images of this scene and like them all. The square crop does work well. I might be tempted to move the camera just a bit to get the framed tree out of the center of the frame or crop your original asymmetrically. I especially like that you got some detail in the sky and not just a homogenous gray. Wonderful find and a fine capture. Looking forward to more of your work. >=))>

Lovely use of conceptual contrast here (dead/alive).
What are those bundles on the ground - those have a lot of visual curiosity for me.
I might be compelled to push the grey sky a bit darker too.

I see compositions like this quite often in the desert and can never decide whether I like them enough to make an image. Jack Dykinga loves these type of arching see-through subjects. He’s made a reputation making such shots. I think the composition is pretty solid although ordered. I like the two large bundles at the bottom. I think they add a bit of variety to this. I agree that the sky looks a bit heavy for this scene. I like the arch itself. I think it has enough character to stand on its own. I don’t feel any really strong emotions here. Perhaps that’s due to the pale colors. I wonder how this would look in b&w.

Hi Margaret,

First, not a problem reposting. You’ve changed it quite a bit and you’re likely to get a refreshed response rather than posting in your original thread - it’s now like 4 days ago. At the same time, it’s always advisable when folks have a new and active thread to post their re-work in the same thread so viewers can cycle between original and edits. but again, not a problem for you to repost a considerable rework as a new post. Pretty flexible around here…

This new version is wonderful! Great job getting rid of the more unsightly dead bush in the lower corner. The framing and processing still look great. I’m indifferent on whether or not the sky needs adjusting, but will put in another vote to experiement with b&w.

The only concern on this new version is the “copy” of the bush, or bundle as Matt referred. It looks like you made some attempt to make the copy a little different, and I like the idea. I think though the two are way to much the same and it comes across as that, a cloned copy. Actually, your cloning in the LL area is quite good! and since you’re already there, there are a few things you could do to try and make it not look like a copy: 1. rotate/flip the copy 2. transform/skew/warp the duplicated element in to a much different, or at least slightly different shape/orientation and 3. There’s a brighter vertical stick that repeats between the two. Consider cloning on of them so the duplicate is less recognizable as a copy. Another option might be to clone in some other grasses in the lower left area to break up the blank dirt.

Bet you didn’t think this would turn in to a project? Certainly a scene worth playing with until you’re completely happy.


Margaret, the slightly darker, more contrasty view here is a good improvement. It gets me to spend more time exploring the details between the bottom and the rock piles. The square crop also help focus on the “happy” tree seen through the arch.