Psychedelic Roots #2 + Rework #2

REWORK (desaturated too much blue in upper right quadrant):

REWORK #1 (maybe a bit too much blue now in upper right):


Critique Style Requested: In-depth

The photographer has shared comprehensive information about their intent and creative vision for this image. Please examine the details and offer feedback on how they can most effectively realize their vision.

Self Critique

What I love about these kinds of images is something @Kerry_Gordon alluded to in Grandfather (his recently posted project ) - the way the camera sees the world in a different way than what we can see. We see the ripples, but the fraction of a second of the action that the camera captures is not something we can see. It’s just endlessly fascinating.

Creative direction

To make an aesthetically pleasing image with a lively feeling.

Specific Feedback

Technically, is there too much “open space” in the upper right quadrant? I didn’t want to crop any further because of the circle those three curved roots made. I also flipped this every which way and felt like this orientation was the most appealing. Other suggestions welcome, though.

Technical Details

Screen Shot 2023-05-09 at 1.16.53 PM
Processed in ACR & PS. Broadened the histogram to bring out the colors; dodging/burning; local color adjustments.


This is along the banks of my favorite local creek, Brandy Creek in Whiskeytown Park. Just paid it a visit to see what I could see. The winter flows have exposed some willow roots along the bank, but also deposited lots of sand, so not so many roots were visible. Most of the watershed was burned over in the Carr Fire (2018), and the creeks are still carrying a large bedload of sediment.

1 Like

Such a lovely abstract quality to this one, Bonnie. Love how you have handled the colors, just right. As for the composition, it works for me. The roots have enough space to move, plus the cracks and ripples provide plenty of other interesting elements to view. Very nicely seen and captured.

This really has that Jackson Pollock abstract impressionist feel. I think it is a great composition and a true abstract. I see what you mean about the upper right quadrant (although I see it as running from upper right down the centre to bottom centre) but I don’t think it is a composition issue so much as brightness. I’m not sure if it would get you where you want to go but I would be tempted to bring down the brightness in that central section so that the whole is tonally more uniform. I mean, the truth of the matter is you can do anything with this image you want because it is an abstract. That all being said, good eye (both you and the camera :wink:)

1 Like

Quite wonderful!! The brightness of that area does make it stand out a bit to me, especially since it is cradled by the strong element of the branch above it. I had a look at a slight darkening of the brighter area and lowered saturation on the branch. I like keeping the richer oranges in the lower part of the frame.

I keep trying to have a bet with myself whether you or @_Kris will be the first to do a face plant in a stream, but the odds keep changing.

Hi Bonnie,
wow, what a beautiful abstract image. I love the subtle color palette and the way you composed all the branches in the frame.

I hope you don’t mind that I downloaded your image and messed a bit with it:

  1. To address the “open space” I lowered the exposure a bit, the temperature (-7) and tint (-15) in ACR and created a mask to reveal the adjustment in the required area.
  2. I added some contrast and lowered the saturation in the red tones in that area

With these adjustments, I wanted to modify the upper right quadrant to fit the lower right quadrant a little better.

Here is your original image, so that you can switch back and forth:

Hi Bonnie, this is a fantastic abstract image! I see what you mean about that brighter rig HR quadrant. I like either of Diane’s or Jen’s edits to address that area.

Just a few small nits but in the upper right corner there is a shadow that could be cloned out. In the bottom right corner, there is a small triangle shape that draws my eye.

Love the colors, roots, and ripples. They all work well together in the final composition.

Thank you, @linda_mellor @Kerry_Gordon @Diane_Miller @Jens_Ober and @Alfredo_Mora for your suggestions! I’ve posted a re-work incorporating those.

Ha ha - no need to bet. I “took a dip” in this very creek last summer. With camera in hand. The auto focus has been a bit wonky ever since. :roll_eyes: :rofl:



Ooooh, this is fantastic! So much more mysterious than many of your previous reflection/mosaic images. Not only the patterns are abstract and tough to figure, but the base-white color really makes this one stand out.

What I notice right away that I don’t think has been mentioned, are all the tiny white squiggle reflections on the surface - reminds me of someone’s “doodling pad” - or like those automated cartoon sketches (I’m probably not describing well…)

Regarding the “open space” in the UR, I think Diane’s thought of simply burning that down a little is all that’s needed; although I really like the contrast created in your edit - maybe sans the dark blue sat?

Very, very cool. I hope to come across little streams in the Sierra this summer - certainly keeping my eye out for them!

So, so true. I’ve written of this before - Our brain sees both motion and freezing action all at once giving us our visual interpretations, where as the camera see just the one dimension. This is why I don’t mind the silky water, because we can no more “see” that with our eyes and brains as we can frozen droplets flying in the air…

Beautifully seen! Kudos!

Remarkable image. The rework is considerably better because it fits the subject better than the heavier handed original. My opinion.

This does indeed have that abstract expressionist look to it. I agree that it is a true abstract image.

Thank you @Lon_Overacker and @Igor_Doncov for weighing in. :slight_smile:

I do like it when the sunlight makes those little squiggles. You have to be ok with their being blown out, though, otherwise the rest of the frame would be way too dark.

Should be no lack of those this year. The problem will be finding small ones!

1 Like

Nice abstract - colors too

Just wonder if there is a way to simplify the scene

Thanks @Karl_Zuzarte.

I’m sure I could have made this simpler with a longer shutter speed, but that wasn’t my intent. The complex texture is one of the main things I like about this.

1 Like