The Jewelry Box

Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction

Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.

Questions to guide your feedback

What emotion do you feel as you view this image?

Other Information

Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.

Image Description

The Jewelry Box

Deep in the forest under a canopy of fir trees and alder bushes, a season’s worth of snow has melted and something is beginning to stir. The brown, decaying remains of the previous year’s green things are being pushed aside by some invisible force. New spears of green are emerging from the soil which has nourished their roots. They continue to reach for the sky and that glorious source of light that now hangs higher in the vast blue expanse. It’s rays bring renewed vigor to life that has laid dormant under winter’s frigid blanket. Soon these new green leaves send up a stem with a peculiar bulb hanging from it. A few more days pass and then something truly unimaginable happens. From the seemingly lifeless soil, a flower of immaculate beauty has opened it’s petals like the wings of a bird flying free. The forest floor is now alive with a veritable symphony of color. Its like a jewelry box, lined with green velvet and filled with gemstones.

Technical Details

Nikon D7100
Sigma 105 Macro
ISO 400, f/3.5, 1/50th
9 images stacked in Helicon Focus
I used a radial mask in Lightroom to brighten the flower and inverted it to darken the background

Specific Feedback

I’m hoping that the viewer feels a deep sense of calm coupled with a sense of hope as they view this image. I shot this many years ago before I really understood how to capture images to stack. I manually turned the focus ring on this set, so I have missed a few slices of focus, but I do feel as if it gives a sense of softness which works ok with this one.


Very wel done, beautifull! That is my first impression, wow!

This took me back to my childhood, to the woods behind the house where I spent all my waking hours. A breath of freshness some 60 years ago, in a wood that doesn’t really exist anymore. Thank you.

1 Like

This is gorgeous and the “flaws” are easy to overlook! I love the vignetting and I’m a sucker for any sort of lily, with wild ones getting triple credit. The raindrops and the lighter color on top are so nice! No suggestions except enjoy!!

1 Like

Paul, I’m enjoying the quiet, somewhat somber mood that the overall darkness and muted tones create. I really like how it takes a bit of looking to see the leaves in the lower left. This is definitely not a typical “beautiful spring flower in glorious sunshine” view.

Thanks Mark. It’s interesting because I am typically a bright and shiny, optimistic sort of guy, but I have recently found myself drawn toward much more moody edits.

I’m happy this brought you joy but I’m sorry the Woods are mostly gone. You might be surprised though! Nature is pretty resilient and there might be a few lilies hidden away still!

The woods are still there, altho altered. It was once healthy, now run over with deer flies. They straightened the river, bulldozed the pond and turned my woods into a park with a soccer field. Gone are the pheasant, wild strawberries and bullfrogs. A bright note was that deer have come and made a home ~ l saw a 6 point chasing a doe so perhaps not all is lost.

1 Like

My spring was filled with trout lilies. They were mostly the yellow variety but there were rare patches of white: my childhood was enchanted. Thank you for bringing happy memories with such a splendid image.