Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


I came across this very old tree outside a Korean temple yesterday. Its upper branches were a bit chaotic, but it was built on solid foundations. A recipe for a long life.

Specific Feedback

The bright sunlight brought out the patterning on the trunks, so I tried to emphasize this. Any improvements?

Technical Details

D500 + 150-600mm (@150mm) 1/640 f16 ISO 2000

After cropping off the top half of the original, converted in PS to B and W, then played around with Shadows, Highlights and Contrast. Selected the trunks and did further contrast adjustments; then darkened the BG. Topaz Sharpen.

Love it, Mike. The contrast in colors, wonderful twisting shapes and details all make for an intriguing subject. Just wondering if you considered turning it into an abstract by cropping from the bottom and the sides just a bit. Would be fun to play with for sure. Nicely seen.

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Love the tree, Mike! You did an overall nice job of working with the contrast, turning into a B&W was a great option. I wonder, though, if the background is not a tad bit too dark? The edges of the dark areas of the tree are not well defined when they lay against that dark background in some places. I am suggesting just a little bit of lightening on the background, if possible without bringing up any distractions. I like @linda_mellor 's idea about abstraction, too!


Thank you @linda_mellor and @brenda_tharp for your comments. I’ll follow your useful suggestions to spruce up the photo.

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What a fabulous subject! I can just imagine returning to it again and again. I love the choice to go B&W with this particular composition… the contrast is striking! Overall terrific composition.

I also like Linda’s suggestion to take an abstract approach to the middle trunks. Would be interesting to see what’s just above your crop point at the top. In abstract the black level of the background is probably OK but with that grass showing, I tend to agree with Brenda that it may benefit from some detail remaining. Depending on what said background is, of course. If it’s distracting, maybe not.

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Thanks, @kevin_dobo. I might actually go back to the tree and follow up the suggestions here using one or more different lenses and playing around with the exposure, primarily to bring out the detail better. The almost horizontal branches above the crop line I felt were not so interesting, but I’ll have another look there as well.