Pine Cones high in the tree

I took this one in the San Gabriel Mountains Calif. I used a full frame camera and a telephoto at 330mm I mainly was focusing on the pine cones hang off the branch of the pine tree. They were maybe 50 feel up there. The image was a plain blue sky and I felt something needed to be behind as a background, so I used one of my cloud photos in the library. So I do like how the photograph came out, however I did join the NPN to get feedback on this and future photos like this. There also was a part of another branch that was out of focus on the left I did crop out . Also more of the focused branch was on the top that I cropped out

Looking for composition, cropping, and other suggestions.

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

I like the concept of the image, the pine cones make for an interesting subject. You do not see many pine cone images that look like this, so kudos for taking a creative twist on a common subject. I am okay that this image is a composite, since you disclosed what you did. I think the processing of exposure, contrast, and color looks great.

My suggestion for improvement would be to pay more attention to the frame edges. I wish there was more breathing room below the cones along the bottom edge, as presented this is too tight for my taste. How the pine needles intersect the top edge of the frame is another potential issue, my subjective opinion is that I would like to see slightly less of them, especially the leftmost ones which “come from nowhere” out of the frame edge.

If you composed this tightly, and don’t have more space below the pine cone, then PS Content Aware Fill (CAF) can help solve the issue. I have done a rework, addressing my comments, including adding canvas along the bottom and using CAF.


Kudos for recognizing the potential here - who woulda thought - pine cones! But I think the perspective is fresh and unique and I like this.

The big glaring nitpick and suggestion is the space on the bottom edge. It’s so, so close that I think even a non-photographer viewer might even wish for more space. Ed has dealt with it neatly and given the composite sky, there’s probably any number of ways to extend the canvas and either fill or “move” sky in to some extra space.

You mentioned taking care of a branch along the top - and you may still want to clean up the small needles on the left top edge. I’m also wondering too if cropping some off the left might tighten things up.

I do like what you’ve seen, captured and presented.


Thanks Lon, that was really a good point on putting more room under the cones. I could have done that because there was a lot of room on the top. So moving the camera a little lower would have helped. I did use expand canvas and content fill, which need some tweaking.