The art of Dogwood

Dogwood over the Merced is nothing new or original. But I still love it and love the challenge of discovering scenes where I can isolate the tree against a pleasing background. This reminds me very much of many styles of Japanese artwork.

Nikon D800E with Nikkor 28-300mm about 120mm, f/20 @.4s ISO 100

Any and all comments and feedback welcome. I’m specifically curious about color and saturation. I know it was mentioned on previous post and so I tried to keep this one a bit more realistic. Also curious if the brightness up top is a distract (sunlight on water.) Also, some motion blur on the bottom middle branch.


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Lon, another nice dogwood shot. I really like the composition, I think you have a nice balance in the amount of the space devoted to the tree vs. the water. I was okay with the saturation in your prior dogwood post. It had saturated colors but not totally over the top to me, I just think your prior post had more light and brighter colors than this one.

The spot lighting in this shot creates some interesting effects. I really like the processing of the light on the spotlit part of the tree. I do think the luminance and saturation in the yellow water in the upper right corner competes a bit with the spotlit dogwood, and I would reduce these a little, while trying to maintain a sense that the water here is lit up. As to the water in the bottom 2/3’s of the image, I would like to see a little more mid-tone contrast in the water, which would increase saturation a little. The trick will be in adding a little more life to the water, without it competing too much with the spotlit dogwood.

This dogwood image is one of your best and far superior to the previous one. The color balance works much better. The yellow and green water provides a really good background for the green leaves. Better than the previous blue and white. The branch is more complex and I think that’s a good thing. Sometimes you can oversimplify things. And finally the lighting on the branch is more flattering, proving more detail. The branch is partly lit and partly shadow. Is that good? I rather like it. I don’t know what to suggest. You could crop in from the right and try other comps but I’m not sure they would be superior.

This would was just shot under more favorable light.

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Lon, this one works better for me with regard to the BG brightness, although you mention it being possibly an issue here. Even as bright as the yellow is here it does not distract for me at all. With that said I will just echo Igor’s statement that it is superior as a finished item for me over the previous version…:sunglasses:

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Ed basically took the words right out of my mouth…I will say that the image is fine As Is if you like it…:slight_smile:

Didn’t see the earlier one, but I like this a lot. The brightness at the top is a bit distracting but I wouldn’t change it. It doesn’t drag your eye away from the main point of focus, but my eye does go there second. The color and saturation look great to me; fully engaged but still fully believable. The main thing that draws my attention is the beautiful nature of the branch itself; the twists, curves, joints, etc. That’s pure majic IMHO.

Thanks very much folks for the comments!

@Ed_McGuirk thank you for the processing suggestions. I’ve incorporate most, if not all your suggestions. They’re subtle so I’m not sure I’ll repost, but wanted to let you know I appreciate the suggestions. they were good ones. thanks!

Hi Lon - I really like your placement of the sunlit branch in the scene. I am kind of torn between this view and your earlier post with cooler tones, I guess cooler is a personal preference and that light on the left most branch is just stunning.

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I think that this is fantastic! I love that the image is mostly made up of yellows and the greens.

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I knew this was one of your images just by looking at he thumb nail and not the name. I really appreciate the eye you have for finding scenes that are simple and striking. The color of the water in the background really adds to the image. This is very artistic and I could see it big and hanging on a wall some place.

How the squiggly horizontal branch seems to thrust against the water flow is nice. The sunlit leaves create a nice focus. I wonder about increasing the brightness a little, but not of the yellow UR and sunlit leaves.

Thanks everyone!!! Appreciate the comments!

I often wonder why it is that some photographers can find a million different comps of the same subject that works and others can’t even find one. I’ve seen this over and over with different photographers. They have a few subjects they do extremely well. Is it that they are just building on past experience or is there a deeper underlying relationship between them and this subject. My sense is it might just be an easy subject for a particular photographer. The metaphoric low-hanging fruit. But it might be deeper. Like why are some people great cooks and others great engineers? Are photographic niches like career niches? We gravitate towards something we like and eventually get good at it? This subject (and trees) seem to be your dedicated path with pictures, Lon, and you certainly do them well. Not much of a critique. This looks great.



This one you nailed perfectly. Everything to my eye is just spot on. I don’t think I would change a thing.:+1:

I think you nailed the technical aspects and composition perfectly. The leaves and flowers look so crisp against the background. The water flow has just the right texture too. To my eye the yellow colour looks a bit off to me. I wonder if it’s the dreaded Nikon green/yellow colour balance. I used to negate this by going to camera raw’s camera calibration panel and adjusting the primary blue saturation slider to neutralise it.

Doggone it, Lon, I knew this was yours!! The background is beautiful, including the area you think is too bright. I think it’s a fine juxtaposition for the blossoms. The form of the branches is gracefull on its own and contrasts well with the background flow. Wonderful!

Hmm. My browser isn’t displaying this. Maybe I’ve exceeded my picture quota for today???

I don’t find anything distracting about this. Very beautiful. This is one scene that I still dream of photographing one day.