Winter Standout

On a morning hike following fresh snow this tree caught my eye. For some reason it held more snow than it’s neighbors. I have a larger scene including this tree, that I plan to post later, but I wanted to get some feedback on this more intimate version.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any is appreciated

What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Any pertinent technical details:

ISO 100, f14, 75mm, 1/8 second, tripod

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.
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I like it. The snowy tree does capture my attention, and I like the compressed feel with the longer focal length. Maybe try cropping out the taller tree on the right, and see if that helps pull the focus back to your subject. If you’re not happy with the crop, maybe try adding a subtle vignette.

This is an exceptionally photogenic tree, especially with the dusting of snow clinging to the branches. Processing looks good but I agree with @Ryan_Stikeleather on playing with adding a vignette.

I will be curious to see the larger scene. I really like the trees, grasses and snow, but the comp feels a little cramped on the sides to me, hence the curiousity.


My kind of scene and image! You mention the one tree capturing more snow than the others - makes me think of a catcher’s mitt for snow… or something like that.

There’s a lot going on here and a lot that I like. I like the cattails at the bottom as a base and the main tree of course has lots of character. Also, I like the bg trees as they kind of help simplify things a bit.

The tree on the right isn’t as interesting, but I can’t see cropping it either, unless you really zoom in on the main tree. I do see a decent squarish crop that eliminates the dark slot on the left, trims up the bottom and comes down from the top removing much of the darker, empty top.

I too will be curious to see the broader view.


Ryan, thanks for your comments. I have a subtle vignette and will try a stronger one. I will look at cropping as well.

Thank you for taking the time to comment Dave. I am going to try a vignette and a crop.

Thanks @Harley_Goldman and @Lon_Overacker - I have a square crop that includes more space on both sides and centers the main tree but the left side is not helpful.
Lon, I of course thought of you when I posted this, thanks for your comments and suggestions although I do not I see the “decent” squarish crop you see?

Alan, this tree was a real find, all those twisty snow covered branches make this tree a wonderful subject. I think your processing is right on the money here, exposure, contrast, WB, colors all look great. As others have already noted, the composition needs some work here. While the amount of space below the tree is good, the comp feels too tight on both the left and right sides. I think the tightness on the left side bothers me more than the right though. You said you have a square crop that includes more space on both sides, but the left is not helpful, so centering the snowy tree doesn’t work. I think what bothers me about your comp as presented is that the right tree is partially cropped, but the left is not. If you can’t center the snowy tree, do you have more space to the right of the right tree? Showing that might balance this comp more. if that doesn’t work, I have another balancing alternative to consider, starting from your original comp, but cropped. This comp crops both trees, and leaves equal space between the trees and frame edge.

Ed, thanks for your comments and suggested crop. I have posted a square crop that gives more room to the main subject. Any thoughts are appreciated.


Ahh, I like the extra room here. I did have a crop, but this works better giving you more options, I think. One for this one would be a slightly further crop off the left; primarily to remove the gray vertical bottom left edge and also the bright patch left edge above middle line. Maybe a skosh off the top? But I like the space above the main tree. Minor nit, but I would clone out the dark speck, LL in the cattails.

Something like this? Tweaked the color a bit, neutrals seems slightly red? Cropped, cloned a couple small things and burned not only around the corners, but edges and the two trees on the right trying to set things off a bit with the main tree.

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Lon, thank you very much for all your help and the repost, your edits are definitely improvements :smile:! I am glad I reposted the wide 1 x 1 crop hoping for some additional comments. Your other subtle tweaks were also very helpful. I have been sitting on this one for a little while and really liked this tree but was struggling with the crop.

Beautiful elements Alan; this does remind me of a Lon image, and that is a compliment indeed. I think the crop ideas make it even better.

Alan, this is a great find as that one tree is dripping with character and the dusting of snow only helps accentuate that. Your square crop works nicely and the couple of tweaks that Lon made have elevated this image another notch. I like the FG cattails as they help anchor the scene plus providing some lovely warm color. The processing and colors look spot on to me. Great eye to spot this.

I wouldn’t bother trying to create the two tree image. It just lessens the impact of the main subject. A straight portrait of the tree was my suggestion. I thought the WB was too warm so I cooled it down and then brought back the oranges, reds, and magentas. A small amount of clarity to make the branches pop more. The fir leaves are now more bluish which I find more appealing.

I usually find a light grass bottom troubling so I tried to crop it but a better solution would have been to drop the luminosity and desaturate it a bit.

Anyway, here’s my take on it.

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I like all the possibilities here. The deciduous tree is more interesting than the fir, but I think that’s just when they are in direct competition for attention.

I worry I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I think you have two different images here, and probably more if you have wider shots. I might be inclined to try Igor’s suggestion and it here’s, isolating each tree .

Looking forward to more from here!

Alan, starting from your second post (with the more space to the left), I like Igor’s reworked crop, but I prefer the warmer WB in your original, not the cooler treatment in Igor’s repost. One thing to think about though, in both Igor’s and my re-work, notice that we both cropped some away from the top of the image. The extra space above the trees did not add a lot, and by cropping this away, you increase the emphasis on the snowy tree. With that said I think Igor’s crop does the best job of emphasizing the tree, since it is able to center it.

John, thanks for taking the time to comment and the reference to Lon, I do consider that a high compliment!

Thank you Ed for the your kind words. This is a good example of the scenery in and around our local wetlands and composing in the busy flat marsh and woodlands is always a challenge.

Igor, thanks for taking the time to repost, I like this version. The truth is I like both your’s and Lon’s versions better than my original. Yours is closer to my original intention as I was initially trying to make it about the one deciduous tree, it was definitely the standout as I saw the scene.
@Ed_McGuirk - Ed thanks as always for your helpful comments. The point you made about cropping the top of the scene is well taken.