Robert Atkins  

Tree and Mist by Robert Atkins

May 2020 - Tree and Mist

May 2020 - Robert Atkins


About the Image(s)

This image was captured in Yosemite Valley in late fall. It was captured on 4x5 film, drum scanned, and then edited in Photoshop.

What excited me about the image was the drama of the rising mist and last autumn leaves, backlit by the morning sun against the valley’s granite walls. The processing I have done is largely to enhance that drama “ the illumination of the mist vs. the cliff behind, and the tonal contrast between the warm leaves and the blue shadows of the rock.

The problem that I have always had with this image (it is an older image), is how to crop. Nothing quite works. It was captured with a 135mm lens (equivalent to about 35mm in full frame) which was the only lens I owned at the time. I framed to keep the entirety of the tree against the cliff. I believe crops which include the sky don’t work “ the sky is distracting “ which limits options. I’ve tried both portrait and landscape options, both tighter and less so, and I think this is my favorite. But the tree leaning out of the frame at the right is obviously not great. Open to alternate ideas.

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

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
(Groups 36 & 67 & 89)
I like the image, especially the golden leaves and the mist.

I am afraid I won't help your cropping issues. I actually like the original. :-)

However, I will stop back to see what other crops are suggested.   Posted: 05/07/2020 18:14:32
Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
Thanks Larry. Others have also told me they like the original as well. But my eye keeps getting stuck on the sky. So I've tried all kind of ways to cut that out.   Posted: 05/09/2020 12:40:04

Stephen Levitas   Stephen Levitas
(Group 32)
I also like your lighting and capture of the mists.
And I also like your original, but it would be fine with me to just slice out the outward leaning tree. It does not bother me for the frame to be a bit tall and the main tree off center.   Posted: 05/08/2020 15:50:49
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Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
Thanks Stephen. Yes, I like that better than the original. There is always something magical about 3 vs. 2 though. So, I've fought cutting out the third tree.   Posted: 05/09/2020 12:41:52

Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
I love the mood of this image. I experience a mystical feel when I look at it. The light coming through on the leaves bringing out the bright yellow and orange with the blue misty background is lovely. Blue and yellow are complimentary colors and look great as a color palette.

It is always up to the artist how they crop an image. Cropping is such a personal taste and it very subjective. It plays a major role in where the viewer focuses. As I experience the image my eye goes straight along the tree trunks to the top of the image and then just stops abruptly where you cropped it. In the original this does not happen to me.

I hope you are OK with me trying my hand at cropping and seeing what could be done. I always like to leave room around my subject so that it can breath. I agree with you that the blue sky is distracting and does not complement the mood of the image. I found it very difficult to decrease the blue in the sky or take attention away from it so in the end I tried cloning out the sky and I liked this the best. I take the view that we are artists and change our images in many way including the use of filters etc. so I view photoshop as just another tool to adjust an image. Here is what it looked like and is in no way done perfectly. If it were my own image I would have spent more time to make it look completely natural. I also increased the saturation and vibrancy of just the yellows and oranges in HSL section of Lightroom and put a vignette around the.

Many photographers do not like changing an image to this degree and that is OK too. It is totally up to you how far you want to take it.   Posted: 05/08/2020 19:00:52
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Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
Thank you Cheryl - I think you've hit on the solution! I like your crop with the cloning of the sky very much indeed. I think you are right that the dark trunk is such a dominant element that having it cut off by the upper edge doesn't work. I think that is one of the things that was bothering me, but I hadn't been able to identify it. Creating the additional breathing room above it, while using cloning to eliminate the distracting sky is an option I had not considered. I'm still figuring out how far i'm willing to go in altering a photo, but in this case I think it gives the photo balance and helps bring out the mood I'm after.   Posted: 05/09/2020 12:48:56

Zolt Levay   Zolt Levay
Lovely image. Yosemite is such a magical place and you captured a feeling there beautifully. The light on the leaves make them pop from the misty background and the colors are terrific. I agree with most of the comments above. In the original crop, the top of the tree feels chopped off, but I agree that leaving the sky doesn't work so well, and the tree on the right is pulling us out of the frame. I like Cheryl's crop; I'd rather that was accomplished by reframing in the field rather than Photoshop magic, but of course that is not practical.   Posted: 05/10/2020 08:49:47

Dale Yates   Dale Yates
I really like this image (I also like the original as well)! I love the mood that this image provides. I agree with the other comments that the sky in the original can be distracting. I like Cheryl's crop on the image which shows more of the 3rd tree. I agree with the increased saturation and vibrancy. I am a firm believer in trying to get the best image we can from the camera but also using the tools available to us to present the image we have in mind.   Posted: 05/17/2020 08:52:20

Emily Kawasaki
I agree with everyone's points as well. I also really like the original image. However, I like the cropped image because it's almost a 'different' image and has a different mood without he light blue of the sky and the shape the of the mountain in the background.   Posted: 05/20/2020 09:38:30