Trees of Yellowstone Mini Series

Living in South Korea, I seem to have gravitated to shooting trees over the last few years due in part to this country’s beautiful pine groves and mountain bonsai-like pines. Funnily enough, whenever I go back home to the states or visit other locations I still seem to be in tree mode as that always ends up being what I shoot most of. I’d say this is not a very cohesive set, so I wasn’t able to say open up a separate gallery on my website or anything, but maybe next time I will be able to find a few more special trees to add to my collection. Do you have any subject that you seem to gravitate to time and time again?

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Nothing specific comes to mind but if anything pops out at you let me know.

Any pertinent technical details:

All photos taken from two separate trips to Yellowstone National Park. In the photo with the bison the bison were taken with a shorter exposure and the steam with a longer exposure.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Beautiful series! Nothing comes to mind as far as suggestions, just a real nice group of images.

Nothing wrong with trees Nathaniel. The first one and fourth photo in the series are just stunning. They are packed with both mood and emotion. Keep doing what you’re doing because it is working.

Beautiful imagery Nathaniel! My fave is the first one; almost haunting, yet mysteriously beautiful.

With number 4 I feel the pitch black layer at the bottom to be a bit heavy relative to the rest of the moody atmosphere. Not sure what can be done though.

Great work!


Beautiful series. All a very moody.

#1 is gorgeous, and gets my top favorite. I also really like #5. I agree with Lon’s comment about the dark area in #4. In #6, the saturation in the grasses looks a little strong, but I love the light and the stark trunks.

All a re very nicely done, Nathaniel!

Very well done… I really like the Mammoth hot springs shot, beautiful light.

Awesome series @Nathaniel_Merz! The first one is one of the best tree shots I’ve seen in a long time. I would have been tempted to include the tops of the foremost trees but the fact that you decided to cut them off helped place the emphasis on the trees of the BG which are framed nicely between them.

Thanks for showing these!

Thanks for the comment Lon~ I might try to lower the contrast there to ease up on that dark patch. Unfortunately I have shots from a bit later from a higher position that cuts that part out more, but the heavy fog had already begun to dissipate by then and it doesn’t work as well in BW.

Thanks Preston! I agree about the grasses–I always end up having the most trouble processing photos with strong light since I spend so much time shooting in heavy fog haha.

Thanks a lot TJ! It was a fun scene to shoot a variety of shots, though a bit nerve racking with a herd of bison just about the legal distance behind me grunting away while I was trying to compose haha Eventually had to move as they were getting too close.

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I’m going there in February… and this is just making me that much more excited. I haven’t been there with photography in mind before and I’ve always wanted to go in winter. Thanks for the inspiration!

TJ, You won’t be disappointed. My wife and I did a 2 day snowmobile trip in Feb. '14 and it is a whole different world in winter than in summer. Will look forward to seeing some photos.

I’m hoping these upload well for you to get a glimpse of what you could expect.

Nathaniel, This is a wonderful series of photos. Each is unique and together they are very well detailed. I really like the second photo with the buffalo and the long-exposure. You not only capture the smoke, but also the river added a deeper perspective to the photo. The third photo with the fog and two pine trees may be a little washed out on the top with the light. Not sure you can do much with it, but maybe try increasing the contrast, reducing highlights and increasing the shadows. I love the rocks in the foreground as these really add the depth and you have captured the rule of thirds excellently (foreground w/ rocks; edge of the water to edge of the grass in the background, then the trees to the top of the sky).

Your sixth photo (sunset with reflections) is my favorite. This absolutely captures the essence of Yellowstone as a living volcano and the beauty of how mother nature molds the earth. The tiered effects with the refelctions makes me feel as if I am right there.

The Aspens are PERFECT! I love this shot with the shadows of the trunks in the grass, the contrast between the white and dark tree trunks from the burn scar.