Leidig Meadow Cottonwoods

It’s difficult to not notice these bare Cottonwoods (?) on the far side of Leidig Meadow, Yosemite Valley; the trees are bathed in beautiful reflected light from the massive granite bluffs on the north side of the valley. The gleaming silver tones caused me to take another loop around the valley road to find a parking area to access the meadow. The light on the trees and the starkness of the trees really captivated me. Thanks for looking and leaving a comment.

What technical feedback would you like if any? My difficulty with this image was sharpening, all the fine detail in the trees made my sharpening look too crunchy, hopefully I found a happy medium. I have a 16 x 20 print hanging on the wall and sharpening is not an issue.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Z7, 70-200 @ 120mm, f11 @ 1/2", 64 ISO

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Hi Reno,

Your sharpening looks fine to me. I like the luminosity and colour contrast between the cottonwoods and the pines in this one

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Reno, I love the stark look of these bare silver trees, especially against the dark background. Well worth turning you car around for another look. I like thecomposition, it has just the right amounts of foreground grass, and background cliff. I also like the leaning trees, and the “gap” with the tiny tree. The processing looks good to me, the sharpening looks fine, so you got your happy medium. Overall this is a fine image, I’m enjoying studying all the interesting shapes and details here.

I’ve never been to Yosemite, but I’m not sure these are cottonwoods, they perhaps look like birch or aspen? Maybe some of our other frequent Yosemite shooters can help identify the tree species.

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Reno, great look at these trees I have viewed many a time. The stark look serves them well. No suggestions here, I quite like this one.

Ask Preston for a tree ID. I also thought they were cottonwoods, but I bet he would know for sure. Congrats on making the national news, too!! Most excellent to be quoted in the article. :+1: :sunglasses:

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Love these trees - and especially in their bare winter dress. Great job isolating this line of trees along the Merced. I’ve walked among these coming in from the Swinging Bridge side, but I this angle and comp work beautifully. Like other comments, the bare trees work beautifully against the darker pines and hints of granite wall behind.

Only minor feedback I can see would be to reduce the blues in the darker area, mostly the ULC. Subtle, but maybe worth looking at. Have you considered b&w? I think this may be a good candidate.

As far as the trees go, I’m putting my money on Alder. I don’t think they’re cottonwood, I’m not aware of any birch, unless water birch, but those aren’t and certainly not aspen.

Thanks for posting, great to see you posting.


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I think you are right Lon, these look like Alders, and not aspen.

After further research into the trees of Yosemite, I believe these are black cottonwoods.

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Very nice image from a place I know well. The trees look fabulous against the conifer and granite background. I agree with Lon about reducing the blue. The sharpening looks fine here, and the tones in the bare trees works very well.

Yes, Reno is correct; those are black cottonwood. The bark is smoother than the more common Fremont cottonwood, and the leaves are a little smaller. Alder have lighter bark with ‘birds-eyes’, and the leaves are small and serrated on the edges.

Nice image, there, Reno.

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Reno, I should have done my research too… :wink: I stand corrected as I believe both you and PB are indeed correct.

And I have a bunch of leaf pics from the sandy river bed beneath these trees from a few years ago. Definitely cottonwood and not alder. The alder leaf is more narrow…

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