Overhanging Branches

What technical feedback would you like if any?

The image is sharp and clean. I am not too worried about the technical side here aside from the post-processing and overall exposure being fairly neutral which is typical for me in woodlands.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I found the colors distracting in this one and decided to convert it to black and white which I feel fits it just fine. What are your thoughts on the composition overall? Does it work to have the background tree placed in the frame as is, and with the sky showing in the top of the image is there a distraction? Also, there isn’t overlapping of the foreground and background, but does it get too close and cause tension as a viewer that doesn’t fit well?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

It is a single frame with very little done in post. Not much to say here!

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Hi Kyle, I think the decision to go with a B&W treatment here makes a lot of sense. The gnarly shapes of those trees are perfect for B&W. The processing looks spot on to me as well. I do like how the background tree is placed, it creates a sense of depth in the image.

In terms of composition, I think you have already self-diagnosed some potential issues. I like how the horizontal branch frames the distant tree, but to my taste the white sky is a distraction because it is so bright and near the edge of the frame. I don’t see any easy way to remove this via cropping. You might be able to make a luminosity mask selection of the brightest sky highlights, and fill that selection with a tone from the fog below.

While there isn’t much overlapping of the foreground and background, the near foreground has some out-of-focus stalks of vegetation in the lower left corner that are a distraction to my eye. and there are a few bright spots in the center near foreground that I might clone away as well.

This composition is very complex, which increases your chances of running into issues like those mentioned above. I might have also tried to experiment with some simpler compositions by including fewer elements in the scene. Even though you would have lost the framing branch at the top, I might have tried to step forward here, past the nearest tree, and tried for a near/far shot with just the middle and back tree. Or tried stepping to to the right , including all three trees, but creating some separation of the two trees to the left.

Here is a rework, which uses a TK Lights 2 selection to fill in the brightest highlights in the sky, and clones away some distractions and mergers as discussed.

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While your image is very nice, I like the changes Ed has made.

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I really like what you’ve seen and captured here. The fog of course really sets the mood and creates the conditions for this comp and framing to work. Clearly I think b&w was the way to go.

I agree with Ed and the only thing really that is somewhat distracting is the bright sky above the bg trees. I do like the tree line as it provides some context, but the brightness is the culprit.

Even with Ed’s description, I couldn’t figure out how he got rid of the tree line. I think his rendition works well.

I went ahead with my own - hope you don’t mind. First, I cropped a little more significantly. While the main story is still the framed tree in the fog, I thought the prominence of the trunks and branches on the left were creating a little imbalance. So I cropped left and bottom with some minor cloning.

For the top, I did some TK Luminosity masking and bumped things up a little - but still had to deal with the top. So on an empty layer at low opacity (15%) I simply painted black over the top to try and make that area have the same luminance above and below the horizontal branch.

The overall brightness is personal choice of course and you may prefer the slightly darker mood. (In seeing my version posted, I think mine might be too bright now… but offer for comparison)

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Love the mood of this one! That background tree is really cool; I like how Lon’s crop emphasizes it. The horizontal branch competes a bit with the background treeline, and Ed’s fill helps with that.

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I especially appreciate you noticing the hotspots in the foreground. Good eye and I am definitely going to take a second look at options for managing the distractions you mentioned in my own edits.

I was actually surprised how well this trick worked. I think it being foggy in the image made it easier. Here are the steps that I used.

In Photoshop I made a TK Lights 3 Luminosity Mask selection, which essentially picked up only the bright white sky. With that selection active, I did Edit / Fill, and instead of using the default white for the fill color, I used the eyedropper tool to select a gray tone in the fog from just below the overhanging limb. This filled the selection with that gray tone. Because LM’s are self feathering, the color fill looks seamless with the fog below. Because the fog is so uniform looking, it makes it easier to get away with this trick.

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Kyle, an interesting composition and I also agree that going B&W is a great choice in this situation. Fog always adds so much interest to an image. But I find the composition very complex and makes me somewhat lost in the image. I keep going back and forth by the trees in the foreground and the one in the background to the right. Both elements compete for attention and I find id distracting. Perhaps a simple composition… Hm. Something to think about. Regardless, I like what Ed did with the image.

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