Fire Remembrances

This is another from my hike in the local Santa Barbara mountains on Tuesday. It was a bit hazy and I went with that look, kind of high key.

D5500, 18-140mm

The haze sets off the gnarled branches nicely. You might consider a slight crop from the top. There also seems to be some magenta in the hillside. It is very interesting to see the fire-ravaged areas rejuvenate after the rains.

This has an abstract look,

Harley, I really like the almost silhouette look of this one and echo Preston’s comments regarding the colors and rejuvenation.

Harley, I immediately like this. What attract me the most is the echoing of the burned trees on the hillside on the left. I think it’s such an interesting juxtaposition. The tree’s perimeter also somehow mimics the shape of mountain in the BG. Any reason not to include a little more at the bottom? Somehow that branch on the lower right corner jutting out horizontally seems way too close to the bottom but I understand that there might be something preventing you to compose it that way.

Thanks for the comments, everybody. Adhika, there was a bunch of brush below the frame. Going lower wasn’t really an option.

Harley, I like the framing here and can appreciate the need to use this angle of view or perspective to eliminate any distracting items below this view. In fact, I like how this starkness presents the regeneration process over all…:+1:
I did also see the magenta Preston mentions, but I tend to like that look a bit. No doubt part of that V-50 eyesight I possess…:sunglasses:

Harley, this image really grabbed my attention, it’s very striking visually. The delicate branches on the trees works well together with the soft, high-key background. And, as others have said, the repetition of the burned trees on the hillside tells a nice nature story.

I have two suggestions. One would be to crop slightly from the bottom, with the goal being to eliminate the horizontal branch that is clipping the bottom frame edge in the LRC. The other would be to reduce the magenta cast, I think it would warm the image up and enhance the high key effect even further. This was my stab at that…

Thanks Ed. Good thoughts. I like the crop.

I don’t really like the chopped off look provided by this composition. This same type of comp is sometimes used to show white dead branches on a dark background, and they have the same issue. For some reason chopping off the top of a crown works but cutting off the base does not. Chopped off branches work well as a compositional frame of an image but here it’s the main subject.

I think everyone develops their own rules during their photographic careers. These are based on images they take in the past that were flawed and you make rules to not repeat them. This is necessary or you would be lifting the viewfinder to your eye every 2 minutes. For example: I once took what I thought was a good vertical with a horizontal branch bisecting it. All parts were attractive so why not. On the screen however were two images side by side that had little in common. So I made a rule to avoid that. That’s how I feel about chopped trees in general. YMMV.

Fair enough. I appreciate your honest opinion. Thanks


Love this. A little late to the party, but you might suspect that I might have a connection with this.

The starkness of the dark tree against the bg is wonderful . In my view, it’s not just finding great trees to photograph, but finding them against simple and complimentary backgrounds. You’ve done that so well here. Great eye.

I figured there was something preventing you from going full frame on the trees - there’s usually good reasons; so you did well in composing this.

Only have a couple thoughts. First, definitely a bit of magenta. In fact I thought so in your previous image, but didn’t mention. It’s subtle, mostly in the grays/browns. Not a huge deal, but thought I would mention.

The other thought would be a much more severe crop. Love the branches and the overall structure of the tree and think as an alternate a much tighter crop could work too. The bg hill is nice and I do like the subtle light play, but in the end, it’s just a bg for the silhouetted tree. That may not align with your vision, but the good news is, you’ve got a great image to work with; excellent as presented.


Beautiful shot Harley, I love the contrast between the dead trees and the green hazy background. The shapes of the trees create some nice repeating patterns. I agree with @Preston_Birdwell that a slight crop from the top might be nice and I like the crop of the horizontal branch at the bottom.