A Barbed Retort

From my first visit to Paso Robles, California - all the way back in 2010. Tooling along back roads and this field stopped me because it had a great fence and these terrific thistles. The contrasting colors were helped along by a cloudy sky.

Specific Feedback Requested

Thoughts, ideas, suspicions…bring it on.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Handheld -


Retrieved from the depths of my hard drive, I never processed this until today. It didn’t need much. Gave it a little crop and a touch of texture & sharpening.


Like the attempt here. The background looks more like noise than what I believe was intended to be bokeh. Perhaps concentrating more on the flower and in this case centering it would have produced a better background. As it is too much competition for subject which I presume is the flower.

I find these kinds of scenes to be really compelling. Something about great colors and some natural parts like the barbed wire fence.

My first reaction to the image was that I wanted it to be a horizontal, not a vertical. For me too much space at the top that doesn’t add to the image. The background is pretty crunchy as well. So here’s a version cropped, then a touch of canvas left and right, then softened the background only and darkened the background just a touch as well. See what you think.

Thanks guys. Yeah, the bg is a bit crunchy. I’ll drag it into Photoshop and have a go at softening it. And maybe a landscape orientation works better. Nice to have some other POVs to broaden my scope in terms of approach and processing.

Nice color combination. Very vibrant. The diagonal strand of wire adds interest and makes it more dynamic, as well as being a juxtaposition of manmade and natural. I would like to see it cropped down from the top. There is nothing going on up there and it would bring more focus to the thistle. In this case, since the thistle is facing to the left, I would like to see it placed on the right side so that it is facing inward (just like you would a face.) Very eye catching photo.

I enjoyed your catchy title and the fact that both the fence and the flower are barbed. This image definitely pops and I think the wire running through it makes it. Nothing else stood out to me initially, but I do like the horizontal crop.

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