Order from Chaos

This was from a series I did in Zion a few years ago. My goal with the series was to create some abstract images just focusing on shape, texture, and color of the Fall season. This challenge is a good time to bring out at least one of the image in the series for some feedback.

D750, 135mm, f/10, 0.4 sec, ISO 400

I really like the suggestion from @Lon_Overacker and @Mark_Seaver below. Recropped as per Lon’s suggestion, some minor dodging/burning as per Mark’s. I think time really has given this image a fresh perspective.


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


Wow, this is awesome! Puzzle or no puzzle, this is gorgeous. I really think this is one that even though clearly a good jigsaw puzzle challenge - one that would be worth the effort and one of those ones to save, glue and hang on the gameroom wall - or stairwell to the basement like at my old house… Better yet, hang it for all to see!

Minor critique - either clone or crop, but I would address the small, dark patch near the mid, right edge, tucked in the little area of green. Not a image killer at all, just a small eye magnet.

Love it!


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This would be a tough puzzle, Adhika, with the mass of leaves in the upper left being especially difficult. The tree trunks would provide the approach to succeed. I could also see some burning-in (oops, meant dodging) of the darks in that area on the right. I also wonder about adding contrast in the heavy leafy areas, maybe some midtown burning…, would look. The arcing trunks add a fine sense of movement.

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Thanks, @Lon_Overacker and @Mark_Seaver! Very very insightful. Time has really given me fresh perspective on this and I agree with both your suggestions. I have edited the original post with my recrop. It does tighten up the composition really well, but as an aside, I am finding myself shying away from 3:2 composition more and more.

I like this a lot and prefer the repost. This would make a most challenging puzzle and makes a beautiful image. I love the understated look. Excellent.

Just lovely. The tree trunks are quite graceful and give this structure without being overwhelming. I love the way they come in and out of the leaves.

Adhika: Marvelous color palette and wonderful details. :+1: on the repost and a superb image.>=))>

Adhika, the repost is a very nice but subtle improvement. It’s hard to see the changes until you go to the larger view and then page back and forth (a nice benefit for reposting within the original post). As far as the 3:2 format goes, the choice of format can get expensive when it comes to printing, mounting, matting and framing. Most places offer standard ratios (3:2, 4:5, 8.5x11, 1:1, and a pano format), when a print deviates from these it’s either extra expense or you get left with blank area on the print. Trying to cover those blanks during mounting and matting raises the prices considerably since you have to pay for non-standard sizes.

Wonderful image, Adhika.

I think this might be the most challenging puzzle ever! :rofl:

As Mark mentioned, viewing the image in a larger view really makes you appreciate all the details in the scene. I think the subtle revisions really polishes this up nicely.

Definitely one I’d be happy to hang on my wall.

Nicely done!

Adhika - Just a tremendous image. Thought i was looking at a @Ben_Horne shot! I will say that I’m going to serve as an outlier on the repost. I prefer the initial crop much more as the LRC has an island of leaves to rest on. I started looking upper left, appreciated the repeating element in the middle of the scene, and was able to rest in the right lower corner with the final repeating element. To clone that out hurts the integrity of the image to my eye. The lines in the branches further guide my eye down and to the R. In fact, I’d prefer a little more breathing room for the entire shot if possible without too many distracting elements entering in to the scene. Just my 2cents though!

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Gorgeous rendition of a setting that I consider very hard to render! I have been working on and off with some “intimate” scenes nearby that involve red rocks and somewhat “messy” trees. So, kind of like this. They take my breath away and then I get the shots home and its just not there! If you can share how you processed it would be most appreciated as an idea of how to proceed. But if you don’t want to do that - totally fine . This belongs on a wall for sure.

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I am late to the party, @Adhika_Lie, but just want to say that I really love this. The cropped version is the ticket for me. The subtle light and the way you dealt with it is very nicely done.

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Thanks, @Jim_McGovern and @Preston_Birdwell ! I am glad you like it. I can go either way with the crop, I feel that the tighter crop cleans it up a little bit more but as you said it loses some of that breathing room around the tree.

@Kathy_Snead thanks! Here is a straight export from LR without any adjustments made to the image. This was a series I did back in 2017 and I was only beginning to process my images in PS so all of the processing of these were done in LR. The sliders are quite straightforward, I did a lot of local adjustments with the adjustment brushes though. Most of these were done to separate the tree from the BG.

That is just marvelously helpful. Thank you!

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Fantastic image Adhika, and the rework makes it still better. What month of the year is best for this type of image in Zion?

Thanks, @Igor_Doncov! To me, late October to early November is the best time to go, you may still catch some of these color at the higher elevations (probably transitioning towards past peak, which I feel give more “variations” to the colors) and the valley is only starting to peak.

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