Olympic Giants

This is from the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park. To be honest, I’m a bit unsure of this image. When viewed full screen, I like the depth and the weight of the shot. I’ve managed to isolate the chaos to just the three trees in the comp. Yet still, I’m not 100% convinced of the shot.

The Hoh is in my Top 3 most challenging places to photograph due to the mess, chaos and overwhelming sensory input. Which is why I so enjoy photographing there. I like the challenge!

Specific Feedback Requested

I’m interested in hearing others reactions to the image. What works, what doesn’t, where your eyes go, etc…

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
2.1 sec
ISO 200

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Totally agree with you, John, that the rainforests of Olympic National Park (and many other dense forests) are a challenge to photograph.
This may not be a photo that someone would buy a 40x60 print to hang on the wall, but it works well to tell the story of this wonderful environment. I like the lush, vibrant green mosses, the inclusion of both massive and smaller trees, and the sense of depth with the layers of close, mid, and background trees.

Thank you so much Greg for the insightful comments. I really appreciate you taking the time. Yes, the fore, mid and background layers is what really gets me. Having the darkest tree in the foreground is interesting to the eyes I think. Thanks again!

I love this kind of forest and you have captured a wonderful example. The light on the mossy bark is wonderful. Just a quick reaction is to wonder about a slight crop from the left to eliminate the space behind the big tree. I like the detail on the large tree there and the branches behind it, but that’s the problem – they pull my eye away from the rest of the image. The crop lets me go back and forth between the dark tree and the brighter one on the right.

Hi John, this image has depth and wonder and a sense of mystery to it. Nicely done indeed. I would echo @Diane_Miller’s comment about the crop from the left. That little triangle pulls my eye. The area on the right side feels fine though. The colors look great with the moss standing out nicely. The HOH is definitely a challenging place to shoot. But you got this one down fine.

Thank you all for your comments! I really appreciate it. I agree @David_Bostock and @Diane_Miller about the upper left. I’ll take a shot at it and see if I can improve the comp by addressing that area.

Much appreciated all!

Hoh rates very high for me as well and it’s due to the good light and those rich greens which you have shown so well. May I ask which month was this image shot?

I think a crop will make matters worse because it will pull the bright green moss up against the frame. If you decide to alter the image I would either add to the left or crop the left past the green moss and make a vertical out of it.

PS. I might darken the highlights in the green moss bottom left.

Hi Igor,

This was shot in, I believe, April. My workshop is typically in April and this came during a workshop. Early April.

I agree on darkening the highlights in bottom left. To me those jump a bit more than I would normally like so close to edge of frame. I haven’t figured out if I’ll crop anything or not. Still looking at it.

Thanks so much for your insightful comments!

Two giants guarding some smaller trees. Everything overgrown with mosses. To emphasise that even more I suggest the following crop. Does that work for you?>

HI Igor,

thanks for the crop suggestion. I’m still undecided on what I feel works best for me. The crop on the left, losing some of that big tree, it changes the image a bit for me. Not sure if good or bad, just different right now. I need to sit with it for a bit and study. Thank you so much for the great suggestion!!!

John Pedersen
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cell: (503) 475-1994

I have photographed on several visits in the Hoh and am still looking for a keeper. I think you are on the right track with this one. You could consider lightening the foreground tree and darkening the background.,

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I like how you moved in close to the foreground tree to emphasize scale. Usually low contrast light is favorable for forest scenes, but in this case feel like all of the detail on the right half of the frame just gets jumbled up a bit. This kind of scene would benefit from some more directional light. Maybe you could experiment with some selective dodging and burning so as to highlight the two larger trees and darken the background to create some separation between the different elements. If you have an opportunity to return to this location it might be worth experimenting with a more shallow depth of field as well to create more depth in the scene. Usually for landscape photography we want to maximize depth of field, but when there are competing elements sometimes it is beneficial to use selective focus to direct the viewer’s eye to certain elements in the scene.

Many interesting thoughts here!
An impressive forest and I can imagine that it is hard to select a scene in the chaos. I understand the opinion of those who think that the triangle on the upper left pulls the eye away. But a crop that eliminates this part would also lose the scale, the dimensions of the large tree, because its trunk is now cut off by the crop. I tried, but I am not sure that I like it. I agree with @Igor_Doncov that darkening/desaturating the green moss a bit is a good idea.
I like @Igor_Hoveijn 's suggestion as well, but it is a very different image.
That all said, I like the original image anyway. Also without adaptations.

I think it is a fine image as presented. The strong foreground tree makes the shot for me. I would have liked a little more on the left, but composition is so subjective.

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Thank you Han. I agree that I tried to crop out that upper triangle and it really didn’t work for me. The shot lost a lot of impact and scale with the large tree in front. So, I"m just going to live with that brighter triangle. Appreciate your insightful comments!