Magnolia shadowplay

This magnolia image was taken in our local botanic gardens. The flower is pink and the background a very messy mix of leaves, branches, and bright highlights. It was quite high and I couldn’t get a better angle to reduce that background ‘clutter’, so instead I thought I’d just create a B&W image from it.

Specific Feedback Requested

I adjusted the tonal range and areas of highlights with the aim of reducing the light areas to just small parts of the stem so the eye could move along the stem and then rest upon the flower (hopefully…maybe?). Do you think this works? Any comments would be very welcolm as this is pretty much experimental for me. Thanks.

Technical Details

1/500s, f5.6, ISO200
M4/3 60mm macro

LR, PS, and TK8 for B&W conversion and tonal adjustments.


A great image indeed. The shape and tonalities of the flower are just great and your described stem leading line works very well. A very good idea to turn it into a b&w image.

Very nice usage of black and white to eliminate clutter and concentrate all the attention on the subject. I also like the tones and gradation of the light on the subject.

This is a beautiful image Phil! Your B&W treatment and processing are excellent. No nits from me.

Lovely Phil. The subtle touches on the branches are superb.

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Thankyou @Ola_Jovall @DvirBarkay @Steve_Kennedy @John_Williams for your kind comments. Much appreciated. Cheers.

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Wow!! This works beautifully for me! The tonalities on the flower are lovely and the composition, with the light on the branch, leads me to the flower and supports its visual weight very nicely. I love the frame, too. My only thought is maybe to add a bit more canvas top and right, and shave a bit off the bottom, but that’s a small point.

Thanks Diane. Good suggestions…I didn’t think of giving the flower a bit more air on the top and right but I can see that it may be very effective. Will try it soon. Cheers.

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Quite striking and dramatic. Reminds me of a classic Hollywood portrait of a beautiful actress. I think the way you’ve handled the stem works, gradually getting darker to the side. Agree with Diane about giving the flower some more space in which to yearn into. That’s how the lighting strikes me here, the plant and flower are stretching and growing into it and want more. Good detail and soft shadows, too. Fabulous.

Really stunning! Great that the background could be completely blacked out.

Thanks Kristen, much appreciated. I have added a bit of air top and right and cropped a wee bit off the bottom as you and Diane recommended. Looks better to me. Thanks for your help …the two of you. Cheers.


Thanks for your comments Charles.

Yes, the flower now has more breathing room! Gorgeous image!

Phil, Beautiful image! Love the subtle tonal gradation with light fading off toward the branch. Black and white works very well. Darkening the background not only removed the clutter but also brings the attention to the flower. Composition is also excellent. Rework is better than the original post. Excellent work!

Thanks for your kind comments Ravi. Much appreciated.

I am late to the game but I want to add my “great image” to the list.

Thanks @Don_Jacobson . I appreciate that.
I have just had a look throught your portfolio. You have some wonderful images there, I especially like Big Leaf Maple.

Yes! I think this works! :slight_smile:
I always have trouble deciding which image to shoot or convert to B&W, maybe it’s because I know what the colors look like so it becomes a choice?

Glad you decided to go B&W with this because it’s a great image. :slight_smile:

Congratulations on the Editors Pick, Phil!
Well deserved! :slight_smile:

This is really beautiful Phil. So simple and elegant! Great job with the composition, light and black and white conversion.

Thanks Mervin ( is it Merv?). The original shown below. Cheers.

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