With recommended edits

AS I was editing images from my recent trip to Death Valley and Southern Utah I was dropping finished files into my Zion folder when I remembered about this image from just a few months ago in Winter. I love the soft, pastel colors, the flowers leaning in towards the center of the frame from both sides, the dusting of snow on the ground and on the tops of just a few of the plants, and the gentle light. This is almost as shot with very little done to it in post except cropping and a slight contrast adjustment but I certainly didn’t pop the colors or anything wild with this. I think it’s understated in a way that I like it. Not sure if you all agree which is why I’m sharing this image with you.

Specific Feedback Requested

I didn’t clone anything out although I certainly still could. The dark branch in the LRC and the dark patch of ground just above the bottom of the frame left of center grabs my eye but I don’t know if it’s enough to start cloning.
Also, does it need more contrast or color pop or do you think the subtle tones are alright?

Technical Details

Z7ii, ISO 80, 24-70mm @ 70mm, 1/6 @ f/13


This is really good, David. The soft colors work really well in combo with the layering. I find the branch LRC and the dark area upper middle pull my eye a bit and would consider a clone job, but otherwise the processing and comp look spot on.

I am enjoying the understated colors David. Instead of cloning have you tried lightening the branch and darker ground?

Great input @Harley_Goldman and @Eva_McDermott . I’ve attached a new version to take care of the eye grabbing dark spots. Let me know if anything else pulls your eye. Thanks again.

Very nice, David. The redo edits work well to support the softness of the image. I think you could go a little further with the darker areas on the upper half of the image. The converging textures of the plants really work to provide a nice easy visual feel.

Very subtle, David. In addition to the lovely muted colours and wonderful texture, the grass has a nice rhythm to it, sweeping upward towards the middle. Though the edits in the rework are very minor, they really do kick it up a notch. Nicely seen.


Really, really enjoying this one. Appreciate what you’ve seen here - these scenes are so often overlooked, yet I find them to be just lovely, intimate mini-landscapes.

As you and other mention, I think all the flowers/seed heads all leaning towards the center - and the ones at the bottom directing the eye upward really make for a very easy and comfortable composition. Well done.

And kudos on the rework; great job reducing the impact of the darker areas - and without resorting to cloning.

Can’t say I have any nits and the only suggestion I have might be a minor crop from the bottom - although I’m not sure if that would make this better, or worse. I know the presence of the snow on the ground is part of yours and the image’s story, but like the dark areas, perhaps reducing the whiter areas at the bottom might work… Not sure though. Hardly worth mentioning though.

Beautifully seen and captured.


I like what you’re after in this image. I just feel there is too much going on and not enough structure. There is some loose organization here and darkening the center does help.

@Lon_Overacker @Igor_Doncov
Thank you for your thoughts on this image. This is a little bit of a chaotic image with dark areas, light areas (the snow that you mention Lon, and the foreground and the background generally lack a cohesive structure. I’ll play a little bit more with this one and see what I can come up with. Thanks again.

The alternating light and dark layers work well in the composition and give a sense of rhythm to the busy composition. I think the snow adds to the story of the seasonality of the image.

1 Like

I like the composition and the abstraction, but (unlike others) feel the colors are a bit too muted. A bit more color adds some depth by accentuating the layers that are naturally present.

Congratulations on a great shot and a sharp eye, David. A great demonstration how a quiet image like this can be full of grace and poetry and yet all too easily overlooked by casual viewers. The subded, almost monochromatic earth-toned colors of the scene are both restful and peaceful, suggesting late fall or imminent winter. Yet the image also conveys an illusion of movement as if wind-blown. And the picture holds a lot of detail. As such it begs to be printed large.

My graduate degree was in plant ecology, so I’ve alwa ys been naturally attracted to photos that reveal the unseen beauty of plants—dead or alive. For many years I’ve been working on a self-assignment along these lines (working title “the beauty of dead plants”). Attached is one of my images from that project. I include the picture here hopefully to lure others to explore the hidden beauty in neglected vegetation.

The photo was taken in the early 1980s on Kodachrome 25. This weedy Andropogon grass, growing in a ditch adjoining my yard where I could not easily mow, had gone to seed. It was early Fall, and on this particular day, my eye was drawn to how the little seedplumes caught and transmitted the afternoon light.

For such an unlikely subject— dead grass stems in a suburban backyard— I had good luck getting the image published, including in the Audubon Society desktop calendar, a coveted outlet for outdoor nature macrophotography back then.

Thanks David for putting your excellent picture up for comment and inspiring me to dig out this image.

@kerry @Tony_Kuyper @Brian_Schrayer
Thanks so much for your thoughts and perspectives on this. Tony, I did not do much at all to the colors and I do like the pop that you’ve given in your rendition of this. I was going for subtle but I think a little punch works well also. Kerry, that is an incredible image. I can see why this got published. You should share this image in your own thread as I’m sure the community would love the chance to see this. Bot, does this stand up to the test of time. Well done. Oh, and thanks very much for your comments. I appreciate it.