Continuing my theme of singular trees in Africa

What technical feedback would you like if any?


What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Pertinent technical details or techniques:

1/500 at f/11, ISO 640
234mm (100-400mm L)
Canon 7D Mark II

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You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.!
1 Like

Love this image, Duncan. A simplicity about it that draws the eye in, with that spread of cloud above seeming almost protective of the tree. Not quite sure what the small elements near the base of the tree are but they add visual interest.

This is beautiful, Duncan. Real minor, but I might be inclined to add a little breathing space on the left side, but as said, very minor. I like this a lot.

Thanks @Ian_Wolfenden! They are actually young male lions napping in the evening shade. As well as a branch. Unless you are talking about the dirt piles on the left or just the thicker grass around the base of the tree.

@Harley_Goldman I’ll take a look at the raw when I get home. I have a feeling that I won’t be able to since the image had to be rotate to level out. But I appreciate the feedback!


This is fantastic! I gotta say, if it weren’t for the lions napping to provide context, I would have a hard time not thinking this was a miniature set - you know like a model railroad set with a painted sky background. The bg sky and especially the clouds look like they are painted in. This is just terrific.

My initial thought echo’s Harley’s suggestion as the left edge needs a bit more space. I love this as presented, but curious now how much space there is all the way around? Wouldn’t want too much more on the other sides for fear of diminishing the overall impact and presentation.

Love the processing too. Well done.


I like this kind of image as well. Without the lions to provide context this looks surreal to me. Just objects placed in a frame with little connection. This is really different.

This is nice Duncan, your processing looks great. This tree makes for a very engaging subject. From a composition standpoint, I agree with others that the left feels tight, if possible I would crop this to try to leave roughly equal space on both the left and right of the tree. No one else has mentioned it, but I also think the cloud at the top could use a bit more breathing room above it as well. Things that are at the edges of the frame should look like the photographer made a conscious decision how to present it. In this case I feel like the cloud is slightly cut off.

@Lon_Overacker @Igor_Doncov @Ed_McGuirk I appreciate the kind words!

This is the uncropped, unrotated image. Hopefully y’all can my dilemma in adding more room to the left side. What I can do is crop the right side in farther to match the amount of room on the left, but if I keep my 4x5 crop, I think I’ll lose the balance of the grass and sky or worse, I’ll lose more of the clouds.

Ed, I also want to point the unfortunate positioning of the clouds in this version of the image, per your comment. unfortunately they weren’t very cooperative.

Duncan, I actually prefer the top clouds the way they look in the uneditted file, especially how the upper band goes all the way across the frame. I still think you need more breathing room on the left. I took the uneditted file into Photoshop, and with a little Content Aware Fill magic, was able to come away with this. CAF worked pretty seamlessy here, since it had to fill lots of smooth areas.

OK. Now I’m going to say that having the tree not centered is better. Why was it necessary to center this tree?

@Harley_Goldman, @Lon_Overacker, and I all commented that we felt the tree needed some more breathing room on the left. Of course that is a subjective viewpoint, you may actually prefer it the way it was and that is okay too. From the way @Duncan_Beard talked about how he tried to re-crop it, I suspected he may not have thought about using Content Aware Fill to easily add some breathing room.

So it was not “necessary” to center the tree, I presented it this way to illustrate to Duncan what was possible with CAF. I happen to prefer it centered, but recognize it as a subjective choice on my part, and acknowledge that others may not prefer it centered.

I didn’t mean why you specifically wanted to center the tree. I meant why in principle should the tree be centered. Sorry for the misunderstanding Ed.

I just felt that all the talk about the tree being off center showed that it should be off center. Another words, the fact that this bothers the viewer creates tension and prolongs viewership of the image. Personally, however, I feel comfortable with the way it was because it balances the cloud on the left and the lions on the right. I can’t explain it in words but I feel comfortable with this composition. My 2 cents.

I think that’s a good description and a great way of looking at the original image. But to me, the sleeping lions, the lazy clouds, and the soft tones don’t mesh well with the tension created by the lack of breathing room on the left side of the image. I do agree that it would cause some one to view the image longer than usual, though. But at the end of the day, I think the centered composition fits the image better and can help to elicit a stronger emotion of peacefulness.

…Warm sun, a gentle breeze, only the sound of the leaves rustling, the sweet smell of the grasslands…

Thanks for the conversation about composition and how it affects the viewer @Igor_Doncov, what a delightful conversation!

Simple and effective. No suggestions.