Northeast Kingdom Tamaracks

For autumn 2019, I decided to take on the project of shooting late season fall foliage. In the last week of October, I spent a couple days in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, seeking Tamarack trees. Tamaracks are conifers whose needles turn yellow in late fall, and are part of the larch family. In northeast Vermont the tamaracks turn color well after the maples have lost their leaves. I loved how the tamaracks created isolated splashes of color against the otherwise stark backdrop of stick season. The foggy mountain in the background still had some late season remnants of color from oaks, but the maple and birch trees along the shore of the pond were mostly bare.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any critique and comments are appreciated.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Canon 5D MKIV, Canon 70-200mm f4 lens + 1.4x converter, at 250mm, ISO 400, 1/8 sec at f16

Rework with tilt corrected, and a crop

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

I really love this, Ed with a couple of caveats. I wish the boulder wasn’t merging with the shoreline, but I’m sure you didn’t have a stepladder with you, LOL. And the image has a slight CCW tilt. Love it though.

Great mood and beautiful scene. I agree with Michael about the tilt and I would be inclined to burn down the top rock wall in the background. I find it pulls me out of the scene a bit. Great color and as said, mood too.

I really like this color scheme and overall tonality. I much prefer this type of interpretation to the riot of colors that are so common. That may just suit my personality, however, and not be a fair judgment of quality.

The large negative space on the left bothers me a bit. Perhaps it’s because it divides the left and right so evenly. The following crop tries to deal with it. I hope that you don’t find it too radical and thus a ‘totally different picture’.

Also, as I cropped this I noticed how much darker is the lrc. Is this an issue? I don’t know.

Ed, I like the softness in the colors throughout and the textured layers at water’s edge. I always love the “stick season” structures as a layered mid-ground or background. Your posted image suits my taste rather than Igor’s cropped version, although the whiteness of the cliff face above the fog did hijack my attention upon first viewing the image. I want to see the tree trunks reaching up rather than sawed off. A little burning might help as suggested by Harley. Without the fog it would be a very strong picture too.


It’s a beautiful photograph. I think it’s well balanced right to left. The fog’s brightness to the left balances the bright yellow of the tree (tamarack?) on the right. If you do burn down any area of the left side I think you would lose this balance. I also like your composition as is without any additional cropping.

@Youssef_Ismail @Michael_Lowe @Stephen_Stanton @Harley_Goldman @Igor_Doncov, thank you all for taking the time to comment on my image, I appreciate the input.

Thanks for mentioning the tilt, not sure how I missed that originally.

Harley and Stephen, the rock cliff at the top bothered me too, and I burned it down in the original, almost to to the point where I was worried it looked un-natural. I wanted to include enough space on the mountainside to show the last remnants of color in the ULC. But an unwanted side effect is including the rock cliff.

Stephen, regarding cutting off the trees, there is nothing but bald sky and no mountain above them, so I did not want to show more of the trees. And their tops were kind of scraggly.

Igor, I do not consider your crop to be a “totally different picture”, it definitely retains the feel of the original image. Given the issues people have with the cliff, your crop addresses that concern. I certainly don’t want to burn down the cliff any more, so a crop is the best way to deal with this.

I have done a rework to correct the tilt, and do a crop that is direction-ally similar to Igor’s rework. But I elected to crop a bit less to retain some of the fall color remnants in the ULC. I think this is a good compromise that reduces the negative space of the distracting rock cliff. Rework posted here, and back with the original post for comparison.

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The reposted version works for me. I like the changes.

Definitely late to the party but I enjoy this tremendously, Ed. The color on the right is balanced by the rock and the distant yellow pine tree (beetle?). The fog adds so much to the image, too. The rework is excellent!

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Hi Ed, This is beautiful. I Love the soft misty light and subtle warm tones. At first glance the original framing looked fine but after further study I do think the repost tightens up the composition further by essentially removing portions of the image that do not add anything. Very nice image!

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Love the rework, but then I love the original two. In the original I think the inclusion of the wall on the left gives the image some location context. And I was kinda feeling like this is a split image, but then thankfully the reddish shoreline and the boulders in the water helped tie everything together.

The cropped version is wonderful as well. More moody I think with the exclusion of that upper wall.

The somewhat muted fall colors are very appropriate here in the misty conditions.

Beautifully seen and captured.


Eioher way it’s a beauty.

What Stephen said. If pressed, I prefer your original with the tilt corrected, but both work very well. Lovely mood that fog created. (Any images coming that isolate that far shore with a telephoto?)

The atmospherics with the fog are flat out gorgeous in this scene. While I like the inclusion of the cliff face it does draw my eye a little so I ultimately do prefer the cropped version. Lately I have found myself looking for these types of images where the surroundings are a little past prime as they seem to revel their inner character. All part of the cycle of life I guess. This has the cool damp feel to it which I always enjoy while I am out chasing those autumn scenes. Great work as usual.

I really like the light and the very moody, and somewhat mystical nature of the image, Ed. The distant fog in contrast with the clear foreground is really special.

I think your final re-work is the best, although the granite wall did not especially bother me.

Out here in CA the locals call the Lodgepole Pine “Tamarack Pine” even though the two species are very different. The Lodgepole Pine that graces CA and the Sierra is Pinus contorta subsp. murrayana. Your Tamarack is Larix laricina. Our Lodgepole pines do not turn yellow in the fall. They are a true conifer.

Again, beautiful image. Ya done good! :+1:

@Adhika_Lie @Preston_Birdwell @Ed_Lowe @Lon_Overacker @John_Williams @Dave_Dillemuth thanks to you all for your comments.

Adhika, the tamaracks are not affected by beetle attacks. They are conifers whose needles naturally turn yellow each autumn, and the needles fall off for the winter, so they are conifers that behave more like deciduous trees.

John Williams, unfortunately I do not have any images from this location that isolate the far shore. This image was already a telephoto extraction taken across a wide pond (the trees are on an island), and I did not have a longer telephoto with me. I do have the shot you are envisioning taken at another smaller pond on that same day, and will probably post that later.

Preston, here in New England we call them Tamaracks and not larches, though they are in fact Larix laricina A quick check of Wikipedia reveals that Tamarack is the Algonquin word for “wood used for snowshoes” which was interesting to learn.

This feels like a painting, which I always love when that happens in an image! Smart second crop, which emphasizes the two green tops visible through the mist, and the negative space is dealt with well. I enjoy how the fall colors on the cliff show through too, as well as the lines in the bare trees.

I agree with others, this is a wonderful mood atmosphere. While I do like the second version, I prefer the original, because there seems to be more variety in the scene while still holding the composition. It adds more height and a feeling of looking up as well as a calm horizontal. Either way, nice job.