Frozen fire

Here is the last of my deadwood photos from a very calm summer morning. I’ve enjoyed going back to these as a novice to photoshop and benefited from the feedback on NPN - thanks everyone. Here I did some content aware fill to take out some of the shore clutter and isolate the subject, and extend the canvass just a little at the top. A clone stop removed a blurry branch that extend out of the dof. The rest is curves and hue/saturation and slight vignette. I thought it looked like frozen fire, but others see a deer’s leg, a birds neck or a ballerina leg sticking in the air - none of which are quite what I was after :). Although tempted by B&W for this, I like the colours in the wood and water marks and lushness of the background.

Specific Feedback Requested

Any and all, thanks for looking!

Technical Details

Fuji xt-2 55-200mm f6.4 1/250 sec ISO3200 - I used high ISO to get shutter speed up for a wobbly kayak shot but was pleased that noise was not bad at all…

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I think the color really helps this image, Charles. The stark tree against the wonderful, new spring, fir trees in the background is a nice offset. I see fire too. You’ve done a great job in composition and processing. Well done.

The snag definitely has a presence to it. The long vertical aspect ratio is perfect for this subject. When I converted this to black and white the bg competed with the snag in tonality. That makes me think that the brighter greens might look better if they were darkened. I guess those bars were created at different water levels? I think I would clone them out. Overall the sculpture has an emotional appeal to it and that’s what I like most about it.

Thanks @David_Bostock and @Igor_Doncov . Igor I think you may have a point about the green background being too bright, will try that out. I’m glad the shape resonated, I like it as well and floated around this snag for some time trying to get an angle I like. I do like the watermarks though, I feel they give context. I’m generally hesitant to crop things out of an image, but once you start its hard to justify where you draw the line (no pun intended). For these watermarks it was about context - the logging history and dams that put the snag here in the first place. Thanks again!

I understand. To me this image is about the form of the subject and the thoughts it suggests. For that reason I didn’t look at it for the story it tells about logging and damming. I saw it as art rather than the story behind the subject. My bad.

Thanks Igor it’s great to hear about what others see and certainly no “bad” in interpretation. I’ve enjoyed your observations on aesthetics and vision on NPN

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I agree with @David_Bostock about the color really helping this image. Not knowing that those rings around the trunk are water marks had me believing that they should be cloned out but then I read your comment back to @Igor_Doncov an how they actually tell a story. I actually see fire but more than that I see a deer leg. Yep, it could also be a ballerina leg. I don’t think I see the birds neck but that’s ok. It’s form has an immediate connection to whoever is viewing it and it could mean lots of things to many different people. The vignette really helps keep the viewers eyes roaming that wood sculpture. This is well seen. Glad you took the time to orient yourself for this composition.

Thanks David, I will keep working on this one. Appreciate the feedback once again.


I think my favorite of your deadwood images. This old snag is so expressive! I immediately thought of a gymnast doing a hand-stand, but I see the ballerina reference clearly - again, very expressive!

I would agree the color helps the tree stand out - however, I think the color/sat is a bit strong and nearly competes, or draws attention away from your subject. Perhaps a bit darker as Igor suggests, and less saturation?

Hasn’t been mentioned, but I’m wondering about the tight crop on the sides. I get the idea of isolating the subject - and this works quite well as presented. But the base surrounding the snag on the right just feels slightly cut off on the right. Less so on the left. Of course I don’t know what’s outside the frame… but in general a bit more room it seems might give this old snag more context in it’s environment (not withstanding the backstory either.)

This one for sure worth any other tweaks you might consider. (Amazing to think so many of these subjects in one area. Cool stuff.


Thanks Lon, really appreciate the commentary. I agree I might have this a little over saturated. I did try darker as @Igor_Doncov suggested and it helped quite a bit. As for room, I was trying to centre the image and that constrained me without creating more canvass in photoshop left and right…but maybe I’ll give that I try. Thanks again.

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A real beauty, Charles. I love this type of scene with the darkened palette. The only issue for me is that as the BG becomes darker as you go further up the image, the snag seems to darken also. This may be intentional or not. I kinda assumed it was not, so I downloaded it and lightened the upper part of the snag a bit, and also dodged just the tips of the BG leaves so it looked like they caught a little bit of extraneous light here and there to add a little definition & depth to the BG . The BG is rather neutral for me, not really in focus but not just blurry either. Did you happened to shoot the scene using various apertures? It would be interesting to see it shot using f/2.8 and also maybe f/14 or 16 in addition to the f/6.4 you posted just for comparison sakes. I really enjoyed viewing this - well done.

Thanks Bill! I am grateful that you took the time to download and work with the image and that you enjoyed it. And seriously humbled that @David_Bostock gave me an editor’s pick! I see what you mean about the darker background, but I did do this on purpose if not intentionally ( :slight_smile: by which I mean I liked the higher contrast and also felt it captured the early morning light). When lighter I also notice more the focus issues that you raise. I was working from a kayak and so I wanted to keep the aperture open enough to counter camera shake with high shutter speed, but also get a wide dof. I also had read that for aps-c the f-stop is also multiplied by 1.5 and so I figured at f6.4 I was almost a full frame f10. So I took all frames at that f-stop (in retrospect I should have tried braketing). But it was not quite enough to get the needles pin sharp (I did you use “Ehance” in photoshop). Or maybe it could be the resolving power of the smaller sensor? I am still experimenting to find out the limit of my equipment or my knowledge/method!