Photography on paternity leave

Hi everyone!
My name is Mario, I am an amateur landscape photographer and professional cellist.
Since beginning of this year I am also on paternity leave :slight_smile:
In contrast to my expectations, being on paternity leave wasn’t actually detrimental to my hobby, since I had to walk every day while my daughter was sleeping in her stroller :slight_smile:
It also made me appreciate the overcast light we so often have here in Germany.

Here are two pictures from the beginning of the year, where I found interest in the texture of leaveless wintery trees.

Any feedback, artistic and/or technical is welcome!

No Trespassing

Fire Within

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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Welcome aboard, Mario and quite nice on the first post. Of the two, I am really liking the first one. Wildly controlled chaos and it works for me beautifully. Your framing brings my attention nicely to center and the tree trunks provide great cohesion to the image. I find it a most enjoyable image.

Welcome to NPN Mario, this is a great first post. Someday perhaps you can even share these images with your daughter and tell her when you took them.

I think both images have compositions that are have done a good job of “organizing the chaos” so common in woodland locations. In the first image I like how you organized the dark trunks to create contrast against the lighter tones of the branches and ground cover. This composition is nicely balanced.

In the second image, I also think the composition is nicely balanced, and I like how the river leads the eye to some color in the background. This is subjective, but to my taste the image is too dark and would benefit from a luminosity increase. To me the foreground trees are so dark that you lose some of the interesting texture. If you don’t mind, I downloaded and your to create a rework, that reflects my suggested changes


Hi Mario, welcome to NPN. Im not usually a fan of these chaotic woodland scenes, but I quite like both of these. Epsecially in terms of composition. I think I prefer the first one more. In my mind it’s telling more of a story - maybe that is because of the caption.

I have a question? Have you desaturated some of the colours and enhnaced others. It may be my personal taste but the greens at the top of the first image clash with the reds of the grasses above. I would consider trying to balance them out a bit as the eye is drawn to the greens

Welcome to NPN Mario. Wonderful first posts. I especially like the contrast and controlled chaos in your first image.


Welcome to NPN! What a fantastic introduction - I love both images as both are wonderful and the kind of images I am always looking to find.

The first is a excellent “order from chaos” style of image that you have seen and captured beautifully. It’s one of those images too that many appreciate - yet there are perhaps just as many who might never have considered photographing.

I love the second one as well. Although there’s plenty of chaos in the mass of intricate branches throughout, this image has a bit more classic structure, composition with a soft lead-in of the water way and of course the main element of color.

I would be curious to learn and hear about your approach to processing. Regardless of whether there is minimal processing from the original capture - or you’ve made some purposeful processing choices… I find the results to be quite compelling. Kudos, well done.

I do like Ed’s rendition, although for me, I’d take those edits by about half - in other words, somewhere between your original and his edits. I think the subtle colors and contrasts work really well in your original.

Welcome aboard! We look forward to more images and your participation!


Welcome to NPN, Mario!

First of all, congrats on your offspring! My wife and I have always enjoyed to spend time with our daughter and son in nature, and they enjoyed it too, as does our grandson now.

Regarding your photographic work shown here, I especially appreciate the subtlety in your images. This is just my cup of tea! The subdued colors are consistent with the atmosphere of these scenes to my eye.

As you are asking for critique, there are only two minor issues in my opinion:

In the first image there are some twigs out of focus in the right lower corner. Avoiding this would accentuate the subtlety of the details even more I think.

The second image might benefit from some increase in midtone contrast. This is only my personal opinion of course.

I am really looking foreward to see more of your work.

Best wishes,

I love both images but I am really drawn to the second image. I love the color palette , textures and how the how is drawn through the image to that beautiful BG glow. I think @Ed_McGuirk’s edit bumps it up another notch.

Thank you everyone for your comments on the pictures!
I am a little surprised that more people lean towards the first image, since I like, or liked, the second one more. But coming back to it, maybe the first one does actually have a stronger message.

I first read your post on my (rather old) iPad, where I did not perceive the trees as too dark. I’m writing this answer now on an iMac and I find myself agreeing with you. So maybe I should rely more on my newer hardware when editing photos :slight_smile: Thanks!

Thank you for the suggestion! Could you explain a little bit, what you mean by balancing the greens? You mean, making them less saturated?
What I did is, I desaturated the top 80% of the picture quite heavily. The red and green grasses are only slightly raised in saturation.

In the first image, I mostly desaturated the top 80% of the image, as I’m writing above. I also darkened some distractingly bright branches and mushrooms, growing on the trunks. In the second, I cleaned up the water a little bit and darkened the image a touch, except for the area around the reddish tree.

What I did with both images, and what I find to have quite a big impact, is cloning out some bright patches at the top of both images. (or I guess cloning in more branches would be a more precise description).
Although there weren’t a lot of them, cloning those out gives both images a much more intimate and clearer message, I think.

Peter, I find the out of focus beaches in the bottom distracting as well!
One thing I could hardly do while photographing with the stroller in one hand, so to speak, is bring a tripod. So the picture is handheld at f9, ISO 720 and I think 1/40s, which is about the slowest speed I can handhold.
That would maybe leave focus stacking as an option, but to be honest, I am seldom satisfied with the result of that. If I took an extra picture with the branches in the foreground in focus, I would usually get halos around the branches if I try to paste them in in Photoshop. Any tips here are greatly appreciated! :slight_smile:

I don’t know how I missed this post. I actually like each image for what it is ( in it’s own way may be a better way to put it). But I find the second image significantly more appealing. There is a ‘spirit’ to it that the first one lacks or has less of. Part of that ‘spirit’ is the colored light coming through the darkness, so I’m not sure how much I would lighten it. I’m commenting from an iPhone so I may be off in the luminosity department.