Second attempt at tree photo.

206-December 27, 2013.jpg
Camera: Panasonic DMC-G5
Lens: LUMIX G VARIO 14-42/F3.5-5.6
Exposure: 1/160 sec. at f/18
Focal Length: 26 mm
ISO: 160
Profile: Manual

This is a second attempt at shooting a tree against a
skyline with cloud/sun interaction. This version being less
spontaneous, comparatively. This is a composite of several
other compositionings.

I tried to alter the photo to a less intense level, to give
way to a more a natural view.
The following changes were made: (I apologize if this is
Histogram adjustment
Tonal-Region curve
Color Hue/Lumination Adjustment
Red/Blue Shadow/Highlight Split Tone
Graduated filter using a cooling WB adjuster brush
Sharpening & unmask filter

I wasn't sure whether to increase the exposure of the blacks
to bring greater detail to the branches and low
foreground... I kept it kind of solid to give it a more
ominous feeling.
I feel the image has a strong image and color level.

Any suggestions for improvement? Thank you for the

Posted by Alkarion on Fri, 12/27/13 19:42
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Comments by Alkarion on Fri, 12/27/13 19:43

By "image" I meant "texture".

Comments by Jeff Dye on Fri, 12/27/13 21:18

Personally I think you should post photos you like but skip all the information concerning
how you arrived at the final product. I'm not speaking for other viewers but all I want to
see is the subject you've chosen and how you've composed it. This tree has some nice
branching and the section of it above the pole looks good against the blue and cloudy
area of sky. It's more graphic and less literal. Rooftops aren't necessary and neither is
the huge ball of blank, white sun. You've admitted in a recent post that you may be
thinking too much. Could be true. Keep it simple.

Comments by Alkarion on Fri, 12/27/13 22:20

Thank you for your comment.
I can understand your reasoning, I put it mostly out exposition, though
I suppose some more thought in choosing the composition is more
appropriate versus my typical "snap now, edit later".

Here is another angle with similar settings, I'm not sure how much of an
improvement it is, but it removes the area outside of the branches and
provides greater focus on themselves, while still presenting the sun.

Comments by Alkarion on Fri, 12/27/13 22:27

When I was 'composing' it, I was trying to find a balance between the
figure of the tree and the sun... while playing along with the texture
feel of the clouds.
I was hoping to create some type of soft focus between the tree and the
sun... I kind of envisioned light rays around the branches, but I think
a longer shutter speed and perhaps a tripod might be needed for that...

Comments by Jeff Dye on Sat, 12/28/13 10:50

You're getting closer but it stills needs a little more cropping which could be done 2
ways: crop just above the pole. You end up with a skinny horizontal. Next option:
from the right side crop out the pole. Clone the steeple and the trees in the lower left
corner. Here's my opinion of where you're at photographically. It's harsh but meant to
be constructive so please take it that way: Generally, you compose sloppily with the
thought that it can be fixed later. Sometimes it can but most of the time it's "garbage in
garbage out." If a photo needs a lot of fixing it's a good bet you messed it up to begin
with. You may have noticed that Ernest Cadegan posts a lot of pano type compositions.
He's not trying to fix sloppy compositions. He's very likely got pano on his mind looking
through the viewfinder, not how can I fix this later? He's thinking in the present AND
how it will likely turn out as a finished photo. Sun stars require the sun generally to be
behind something like a tree and a small aperture to emphasize the rays. If the ISO is
low where it should be a tripod is necessary. Start building a photo library or attend a
class in your area if available. Photography is a never ending learning process.

Comments by Ernest Cadegan on Sat, 12/28/13 12:30

Jeff is completely right about my compositional process. Jeff and I
both try to be aware of what is in the frame. Precision is one of my
guiding principles generally captured in the idea of nothing more,
nothing less. I have to amplify this when making panorama comps since
I use a very narrow aspect ratio and it's easy to end up with scenes
that don't fit.

I think one can overthink the process though. And, as I've followed
what you are doing for me you are overthinking. Relax and try to get
your eye to develop a natural esthetic. And practice, practice,
practice. But I don't mean your photoshop skills. Too many beginners
want to do photoshop manipulations before they've acquired basic
photographic skills.

Comments by Maria Salvador on Mon, 12/30/13 13:10

Good advice from both, Jeff and Ernest. I tried the suggested crops, and a square works very well for me. Also, I selected the lightmess (I do it using ctrl+alt+#) made a layer with the selection and used the blending mode Multiply. In the end, after merging that layer, I duplicated the resulting photo and used Multiply again, at 50%. And got this - hope you don't mind my "messing" with your photo, it is just my interpretation.

Comments by Alkarion on Tue, 01/21/14 19:40

Hello everyone! I apologize for responding so late, I just wanted to
thank everyone for their input... I greatly appreciate it!

Maria, I have no issue with your experimentation... I need to try it

A lot of my Photoshop tendencies come from prior experience in Digital
Art and editing, which was a past hobby of mine throughout my

I have a lackluster photo-library going... I bought a book on
Photography-based Composition as well as some Principles of Design.
Ideally I need to just go out and practice taking different shots... I
personally have a big fear of taking Portraits/People photos.

Thanks again for the insight. :)

Comments by Michael Meek on Wed, 01/22/14 11:53