Saguaro arms

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Saguaros are the tall cacti that grow in parts of the southwestern desert. When I’m around them, I’m always looking for interesting combinations of light and shadow. When I spotted this I knew I wanted to photograph it.

Specific Feedback

Anything and everything.

Technical Details

ISO 100, 300 mm, f/11, 1/100th sec.

The desert does lend itself to black and white, Don and this is a fine example. There’s a tendency in B&W for photographers to insist on using the entire tonal range and in this case, I’m glad you avoided it. The relatively soft curves of the Saguaro pleats fit your softer shadows very well. Very nicely done.

Thanks, Dennis.

Don: This is really well composed and presented IMO. The play of light and shadow is enhanced by the B&W very nicely. Top notch shot. >=))>

Thanks, Bill. I was in the right place at the right time.

Really Nice . perfect in Black and White !!! Lots of Tone and Lines !!!

Excellent photo, Don. I see these cactus everyday even in my yard. This photo really brings out the details very well.

I appreciate the comments. I didn’t know if this one would grab anyone but me.

You have found a striking composition that should grab anybody! The lines and tonalities are lovely. I wonder about having more room on the sides – it feels crowded there, but I realize there could be other elements intruding. I think this would be amenable to some added canvas and a bit of cloning if you are into things like that. The composition is so wonderful that I think it would work well.

Had to play.

I see your point, Diane, and I appreciate your playing with the image. It had occurred to me that if I were matting this one, I’d have a problem on the right side. Maybe I’ll extend it a little.

Don, love this black & white, which really emphasizes the details of the plant. This is a good example of the power of black & white. Those details would be lost in the color. I agree with Diane’s idea of extending the right. It feels more balanced now with the dark LLC. Without that modification, I think that opening up the LLC would also balance it out. But then that would change your intent.

Thanks, Susanna. I wound up with a version that’s a compromise between Diane’s version and the original. As for the lower left, I wanted it to be barely there.

Hmmm…I suspected that was your intent — the lower left being “barely there.” For me, having the LLC that dark makes it very there and distracting from the wonderful textures and patterns to the right. I’m not sure what you want the viewer to see and take in. Just a thought. With that said, the image is one of the most creative I’ve seen of the cactus!