Loss + Rework

REWORK (Mark’s suggestion for deeper blacks):


It seems like a lot of the valley oaks here are dying and losing large branches. The branches that break off are as big as many trees themselves. The fog on this day made for a melancholy mood for this oak.

Specific Feedback Requested

I’m good with this so far, but any comments welcome.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
a7r3, 55mm, f/16, 1/60s, ISO 640


Lovely Bonnie, and as you did, it does have quite a moody feel. Very nicely seen and captured.

Excellent forlorn look and mood. Maybe a little CCW rotation? The high key look is very effective and looks great.

This image reminds me of a tree near our house that recently lost a huge branch like this one. I like your processing and like how you left just a touch of the background forest visible. The tree is detailed but has a pleasant and soft feel to it.

This is indeed a very melancholy view, with the massive fallen branch and the overall greyness. I wonder about raising the brightness of the sky, but that may destroy the melancholy… It would also be interesting to compare the mood of this version with one where there was a bit of deep black.

Thanks, @linda_mellor, @Harley_Goldman, @kelly_cole, and @Mark_Seaver for your thoughts.

Does it look crooked? I can’t see that.

Initially I tried going for deeper black using a global curve, and didn’t like it because it increased contrast. After thinking about it, I did a targeted adjustment to deepen only the darkest bits. I do think it is an improvement. Rework posted above.

Bonnie, this is a beautiful capture. This tree has amazing structure. It reminds me of an oak in Yosemite’s Cook’s Meadow which has about 1/3 of the branches that have fallen but not necessarily broken clean off like your tree here. I do think that targeting the very darkest backs in your rework pops this image just the right amount but at the same time it loses a little bit of that atmospheric soft fogginess that the original has. It depends if you want the image to pop or be more muted in keeping with the scene. I can go either way. I agree with Harley that you could do a little bit of CCR but not much. Great capture Bonnie!

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Bonnie, the deeper blacks do show off the tree trunk and fallen branch better. However, the lightening of the branch ends lessens the melancholy for me. Here’s a version where I did some burning of the main trunk, the fallen branch and the branch tips through a mid-tone mask. (If you want more info on what that means or a copy of my version for easier comparison, send me a message.)

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Thanks, Mark! I know exactly what you mean. :slightly_smiling_face: