Michael Weatherford  

Juniper by Michael Weatherford

January 2020 - Juniper

January 2020 - Michael Weatherford


About the Image(s)

We paid a visit to Deadhorse Point, not far out of Moab, Utah. The vistas from there into Canyonlands National Park are awesome. Nancy had enjoyed the view and were headed back to the parking lot when I saw this ancient Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma). I immediately thought of an Ansel Adams type shot. We were with a group getting ready to leave and I didn’t have much time, so I grabbed a quick shot. Hand held, 1/400, f16, ISO3200. I happened to have a 100mm macro lens mounted on my Pentax K-1, full-frame DSLR. Processed in Lightroom in black and white, cropping a little, and cranking up the contrast and sharpness. Finished in Topaz Studio to bring out fine detail in the trunk and crown.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
8 comments posted

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Michael what a great capture. Ansel would surely have stopped and took a shot of this,good move. I am torn between the black and white an the original color image. I am normally a fan of B&W and this is a great subject for that. I must say that the color image is very striking. I love the highlighted texture of the Juniper tree trunk against the softer but still rough texture of the rock formations. The dramatic twist of the tree is wonderful. I have a thing about the left to right sight line. I just wish that the tree would have been turned 180 degrees so that the tree itself being the subject would have provided a stopping point on the image. To me that beautiful curvature of the Juniper leads you to the right and leaves me hanging at the edge. Not a big deal just my preference. It could be the higher ISO3200 but there seems to be a lot of noise in the sky showing up. I think most of that could be removed in LR. Michael I took the liberty of taking your image to lightroom and making some of the adjustments I spoke of. See what you think of flipping the image.   Posted: 01/08/2020 09:54:26
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Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
This is a very well done Ansel Adamsesque type image.
Personally flipped or not flipped in this case does not bother me. Your overall composition is really excellent for this image although you could crop a bit off the top. The blank space is not helping the image.

Two improvement suggestions are:
First if you look over Ansel's work you will not that he always has rich blacks and clean white. You can easily add this buy using the color sliders in Lightroom. In the old days we would use red and blue filters to do this and you can do the same here. Just work the red and blue channels and then add some contrast. What makes a B/W image work is the contrasts in the final product. Give it a try.

Next is the ISO issue. While the tree looks great the sky has quite a bit of noise in to (this is brought out even more by the high fstop of 16) Here is a way to fix this noise issue. It is a two part fix. First using Lightroom add some global noise reduction. Use the masking slider by holding down the alt or option key while you move the masking slider to the right. This will turn your screen black. Move the slider until the sky becomes black. Then set the noise reduction slider to about 75. Finally,use the adjustment brush with a feather of about 70 to brush sharpening to the tree.
That will leave the sky with less noise and the tree back to its original sharpness.

This would make a great print on a wall.
Really good shooting to capture this one.   Posted: 01/09/2020 10:00:42

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
You might want to look at some of the images in group 74 to or Arne's image in my other group #36 to get the feel of a Ansel Adams type image.   Posted: 01/09/2020 14:12:15

Mark Winter   Mark Winter

I really like the B&W interpretation of this shot! I love the composition and the drama that is in teh clouds. I agree on the comments on the noise, I think that can be easily remedied.   Posted: 01/11/2020 18:10:56

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Thanks very much for the suggestions. Here's a color version. I'm working on a black and white, starting from scratch and incorporating your suggestions.   Posted: 01/17/2020 21:58:49
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Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
I referred to this image in my comments Michael. Loved this version in color section while B&W is compelling too.   Posted: 01/20/2020 06:32:37

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
Michael, I had posted this from my phone, but it obviously did not post correctly.

I really love this image and more so in B&W, although your original image is stunning as well and I do like the darker effect of it, especially since the skies are grey/blue. As other's have mentioned the B&W version is truly Adamsesque. One of my favorite photographers as well.

The curvature of the tree as is comes out of the rock and then extends to the top is exquisite. Being the side light is coming from the right, any mirroring is detrimental to the image as posted above.   Posted: 01/19/2020 14:50:25

Madhusudhan Srinivasan   Madhusudhan Srinivasan
Brilliant capture I must say Michael! I simply loved both the versions of the image. More so the color version after your edit in the comments section. Although I feel the 2nd color version can hold more contrast & saturation to show the rough texture of rocks and tree bark with adequate greens, reds and blues imo...   Posted: 01/20/2020 06:30:39