Stacey Pearson  

Old State Capitol Oak Tree by Stacey Pearson

November 2023 - Old State Capitol Oak Tree

November 2023 - Stacey Pearson


About the Image(s)

Shot With: Sony A7R V; 1/125 sec at f/8 and ISO 50

I made this image on September 30, 2023, at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I’ve gone to this location several times trying to find the perfect light and shadow. This was around 9:45 am. As always, I think the color version is nice, but I prefer the black-and-white image because it “feels” more intense to me. For processing, I de-noised it and cropped it to a 2:1 aspect ratio. I wanted a panoramic look. Then, I imported it into Silver Efex and used a preset. I brought it back into Lightroom and tweaked my exposure, contrast, shadows, whites, and blacks to ensure good separation of the gray values.

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

Melissa Cramer Sonnen   Melissa Cramer Sonnen
Stacey - For me, there is not much to change in this image because of the magnificence of the subject. This famous tree stands on its own whether mono or color. The only thing I would do is apply a dark vignette to stop the viewer's eye from wandering out past the edge of the branches.   Posted: 11/06/2023 21:16:37
Stacey Pearson   Stacey Pearson
Thanks, Melissa … I don't think the Louisiana Photographic Society group allows vignetting, but I'll check!   Posted: 11/08/2023 14:24:22

Ed Palaszynski   Ed Palaszynski
Very Nice capture Stacey.

It is more difficult to compose these huge Oaks than one might imagine. Studying the lighting helps this a lot. We were in Charleston one year and had an opportunity to shoot their famous Oak, Angel Oak, and tripods were not allowed as well being very crowded! I agree with Melissa and slight dark vignette will draw the eye more to the tree center.   Posted: 11/07/2023 15:38:24
Stacey Pearson   Stacey Pearson
Thank you, Ed! I did shoot this with a tripod and did answer several tourists' questions about the tree's age. I also took several iPhone shots of couples under the tree haha.   Posted: 11/08/2023 14:27:21
Ed Palaszynski   Ed Palaszynski
Very nice capture!   Posted: 11/09/2023 09:17:22

Ed Taje   Ed Taje
Well composed and a great subject. We have the same issue with vignetting in CAPA but this tree as a nature biological image at least up here does not need it in my opinion. I like the dark tree against the brighter background. Just for fun I tried a somewhat high key version to bring out some details in the tree trunk and branches which in my mind gives the tree even more character. Having done that I still like your image better. I have attached a different version just for comparison.   Posted: 11/09/2023 16:02:42
Comment Image

Haru Nagasaki   Haru Nagasaki
Hi Stacey,
Thank you for sharing.
First of all, I like BW version better. By taking out the color, my eyes now can focus to appreciate "Light & Shadow" magic very much. At first glance, it looks like a creature, i.e. octopus reaching out the legs. And the shadows in the ground helps to make the effect stronger. Normally in this type of image, my eyes would not stay long in the image after the strong first impression, but this case my eyes still wants to see the details throughout the image. Maybe it is because you opened the shadows of tree/branches trying to showing the details in BW conversion. I noticed you included the window of the building between the branch (near the center) - now sure that you did it on purpose or not - but it looks like an eye of the "creature", which adds another story for me.
Your pano cropping strategy works as well. It keeps enough space to appreal the story holizontally. Overall it is exceptionally well done in BW conversion.
One thing;(this is my personal opinion though)
I am not a big fan of having patches of sky in the image. In this case, too, it distract my eyes and reduce the impact. Some people clone out in PS.
Another solusion could be I might crop out 1/4 of the top (which helps to eliminate the most of the patches of sky) but include more of the ground (I would do it from original). In that case, the story would become a bit different.

  Posted: 11/10/2023 00:05:46
Stacey Pearson   Stacey Pearson
Thanks for your comments, Haru. The patch of sky bugs me, too! But, I really like the "C"-shaped branch above the trunk, and I'm not big on cloning or removing details. I'm not very good at Photoshop 😂   Posted: 11/26/2023 16:28:50

Trevor Harvey   Trevor Harvey
Hi Stacey,
I used to torment my friends by looking for interesting trees as a lead in to landscapes, it got to the stage that they used to look for them for me. I love this image, I prefer the mono to the colour as you can really concentrate on the shapes and shadows. Super image thank you.   Posted: 11/25/2023 14:17:25
Stacey Pearson   Stacey Pearson
Thank you, Trevor … I was really keying in on the shadows!   Posted: 11/26/2023 16:29:34