There's always one

in every crowd isn’t there? A lone spruce in a sea of grasses and golden tamaracks. It will get the last laugh though and remain green all winter long while the tamaracks will be nude until spring. The filtered sunlight was just enough to light up these little beauties from the side.

Specific Feedback Requested

Ideas for improvement are welcome.

Technical Details



Lr for initial work to smooth tonalities and give some punch to the golden hues with the HSL and Calibration panels. Freehand crop.

Photoshop to remove a lot of distractions in the foreground as well as use some cloning to fill in trees all the way to the top where there was some sky breaking through.


I love lone trees, and this one is no exception! Great work Kris. It looks balanced, and I like the layers of colors from brown to gold to yellow. the poor little tree seems to be missing branches on the bottom right side, which makes her look a little lopsided, but it gives her character. I’m not sure what the other moderators will say, but I think this is beautiful. The only thing I would change/add is a vignette to bring the viewers eye into the center, but then I tend to add vignettes to most of my pics. Happy Holidays, and thanks for sharing!

Love this image Kristen. The contrast with the green tree just works wonderfully, and as Roberta commented the horizontal layers of colours are great. It all looks good to me. Cheers.

Thanks @robertakayne & @Phil_G - glad it works overall. The light was tricky, but I was so captivated by it that I couldn’t stop shooting. In terms of vignette, I’m a light user overall and don’t add it much, maybe 10-20% of my images use one. Given the obvious directional light here, I didn’t even consider trying. I could maybe work some of the contrast in the trees a bit and differentiate from the center to the edges. Hm…

Nice story in this one! I think with the flat light here, this is one where a vignette that is just barely noticeable could work well. (As in – did she, or didn’t she…??) I get your point about almost centering the little spruce (good use of the rule of 7/16ths) but I think there are also a lot of other possibilities in this scene. Just curious if you played around more?

I did play around there @Diane_Miller - but not with this scene much for some reason. I was with a friend and chatting and you know how that is. Placing the tree in the scene was tricky because of the surrounding trees; they look like an amorphous mass at first, but individuals stick out when you study it and I didn’t want to cut those off. I have a few more scenes from this location with sidelight instead of backlight - this is sort of both, but some look really different. I also got up onto a viewing tower for a few.

Wonderful color contrast as well as texture contrast throughout the photo. I also like the slightly off-center placement of the spruce. Well executed.

Thanks @Youssef_Ismail - tamaracks are so irresistible and I’m glad I did them justice.

I like how you framed this, Kris. The little green tree looks like it’s dancing with the Tamarac behind it. Wow, are those Tamarac’s glowing!!! Sweet. I might be inclined to clone out the little Tamarac on the left as it feels like the pine is too centered between the little one on the right and on the left. Don’t know if it would make it better or not. Just a thought. Lovely image, Kris.

Thanks @David_Haynes - it’s funny you mention the tree behind the spruce - I thought of cloning that one away, but decided to leave it. I’m definitely going to be working this area more next fall.