Michael Weatherford  

Bald Cypress by Michael Weatherford

January 2021 - Bald Cypress

About the Image(s)

Forgot to include camera settings: 31mm prime lens, 1/13 sec, f18, ISO 100. No adjustments or filters.

A late afternoon shot of bald cypress trees along the edge of a shallow lake in Chicot County Arkansas. This image is a panorama created from 15 images combined in Lightroom. I wanted to capture the dense growth of “knees” along with the beautiful fluted trunks of the cypress trees. Using a 31mm lens on tripod, I set up fairly low to be sure to include plenty of knees in the foreground. I also wanted to capture the glow of the setting sun through the trees. After merging the images in Lightroom, I used the Adjustment Brush tool to bring out sky detail and the Graduated Filter tool to lighten the foreground. I used the sliders to adjust over-all highlights and shadows, increase clarity and add warmth. I sharpened the image using LR Details, mask set to 70 and sharpening to 120.

8 comments posted

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
Low and Slow here Michael. You have captured a great perspective of the cypress trees both in the foreground and background. I really like how the water breaks the image into the far background. Very nice light and color with a good dynamic range.

One distracting piece is the tree coming out of the upper right corner. Wonder if you cropped this out and centered the image a little more, the sunlight in the center would stand out more. I really like the way the light is coming through the trees. Not sure what the purple hues in the tree trunk on the right is caused from, as well as the two in the middle of the frame.   Posted: 01/05/2021 08:07:50
Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Hi Todd, thanks for the comments. That purple on some of the trees is actually paint used for boundary line marking. In Arkansas that particular color indicates the land is posted. I've always liked to include stuff around the edges of landscape photos to create a (sort of) frame, but have received several comments from the group about that. Maybe I should reconsider that.   Posted: 01/08/2021 10:24:13

Bud Ralston   Bud Ralston
Michael, this certainly captures Nature in the bleakness of winter. Merging 15 images of all the perpendicular trunks must have been a challenge. I like the reds of the forest floor and the greens of the new shoots but I might have backed off the saturation a bit. Your sky is beautiful with the orange-tinted clouds hanging on a blue backdrop.   Posted: 01/07/2021 15:43:26
Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Hi Bud. It was actually eight photos merged for this image. I shot the series twice and mistakenly counted both sets of images. I definitely bumped up the saturation and must agree it's a little over-done. Thanks so much for the comments.   Posted: 01/08/2021 10:28:05

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
I really like this view. Here in Florida we have these same cypress forests and they are quite majestic. Like the others I wondered about the purple, now I know. I have always been a advocate of keeping an image clean. Personally I would crop both edges. You have so many powerful vertical lines that the intruder on the right stands out as being odd. So I would crop that. I also would crop the first tree on the left It just feels crowded. I do like the water as it separates the trees from the background and makes them stand out.

Also,since it has been mentioned, watch that saturation. In a nature photo the goal is to maintain the natural look and not over do it.

Your image makes me wantto go visit my local cypress forest.   Posted: 01/08/2021 13:02:32

David Kepley   David Kepley
Mark: I love the color! What doesn't work so well for me is the tangle of trees and knees. What is the subject? You say that it is the knees, but there are too many of them for me to focus on. My eye is bouncing around to the different "knees" of the trees. If the knees are indeed the subject, then I think I would get real close to one of perhaps a grouping of 3 of them with a wide angle lens and let them dominate the bottom say 1/3 of the image.   Posted: 01/08/2021 13:21:33
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
David you have a good idea here. Getting really close might require a focal length of between 12-16mm. The will make the foreground really dominate.   Posted: 01/10/2021 15:32:44

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Hello Michael. Your concept is a good one, but there are some things that distract me from the subject "cypress knees". I do agree with some of the other comments that the image could be cropped a little tighter. I don't know if this was possible but I would like to have seen most of the downed tree branches remove from the forest floor. I know they are a natural thing in the forest but this time they are drawing a lot of attention away from the cypress knees. The water and the sky are very nice and I kind of like the warmness of the foreground. If this is close to where you live I would be going back there for sure.
  Posted: 01/10/2021 14:18:12


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