Reaching for the Sky +B&W

I liked the look of the crown of this oak against the sky and the approaching storm clouds when Lon and I were poking around last weekend.

Nikon D-7100
Nikkor 16-85 @ 48mm
f-16 @ 1/125, ISO 200
Cropped a bit from the top and right side.
ACR, PSCC, TK’s Masks and some burn of the darker clouds.

Any thoughts you may have are always appreciated. :smile:

Edit 3/16: B&W version is below. Please scroll down. Thanks.

1 Like

Another nice one Preston. That’s a good looking canopy on this oak and I think the white puffy clouds (ahead of that pending storm!) compliment the scene.

Not sure if anyone will comment on this point, but I don’t mind the branches on either side being clipped. Fit’s right in to my rules, if you’re going to cut something off, do it on purpose. And from what I remember, there wasn’t clear space around the entire tree anyway, so you framed this well.

For me as an alternative, given the bare branches against the cloudy sky, I would think cropping out the bottom trees and greenery might look good. Just a thought. Nice structure to this lovely oak. Processing looks good too.


Nice looking tree and sky, but something is throwing me off just a bit. Just tried Lon’s crop suggestion and I think that tightens it up nicely. That provides the image much more structure to my eye.

I like how the empty branches are juxtaposed over that arrangement of clouds. For me the suggested crop only works if you go crop almost half off. But then the picture changes significantly.

A very nice oak, Preston. I like its shape and the background sky. I think I agree with a crop from the bottom. Seeing the other trees back there but no ground makes it feel like you clipped the bottom by accident instead of on purpose.

Actually, I’ll change my mind. I can change my mind. right? I like it just as you presented it. I wouldn’t crop off the bottom. It helps the viewer realize that we’re looking up. I like it.

Preston, I agree with Igor’s changed mind, I like the original presentation. It makes the tree look more imposing. I also like the inclusion of the background yellow trees at the bottom, it lets the viewer know this is springtime, while with a crop of just the top, the bare branches could be winter, spring, or late fall. I think it tells a better story about time of year by including it all. And I like your processing with the lower saturation level, it helps the viewer to focus more on the shapes and textures in the image. It’s a very pleasing image.

Hi Preston, This image has a beauty and simplicity to it. The clouds provide an interesting background for the bare branches. I definitely prefer the original crop which, IMO provides a needed anchor and context. Processing looks very natural.

Hi Preston,

I can see how both crops would work. I’m leaning to the one that you presented. The lower trees provide a nice base…Jim

As I always say, “Research continues…”, so I thought I would try this one in B&W.

I used a B&W adjustment, a few of TK’s Luminosity Masks, and some selective burning.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

I’m not sure why, but this treatment changes the feel of the image completely, Preston. That sense I had in the original of the bottom being chopped off is completely gone in this version and the clouds play a much more dominant role in the image, which I like. Excellent work.

The B&W treatment works quite well with this one.


Wow - hadn’t really crossed my mind to suggest b&w. But a great choice I think. Agree with others and with what Dennis mentions how the bottom row of trees become irrelevant - well, better said, they are no longer a distraction and in fact anchor the bottom nicely.

The b&w really simplifies this and becomes just about shapes, tones and contrasts; the canopy against the sky looks great.

Thanks for sharing this version. Looks terrific!


It’s really hard to compare the two, apples and oranges. The B&W is more graphic. Certainly the clouds look richer in b&w. The sky isn’t blue any more so the ‘reaching for the sky’ sense is diminished. Maybe.

Preston, good call on the conversion and well processed in that arena. I much more prefer that look with the leafless tree. Not only the tree, but I like the clouds and sky with this processing idea as well…:sunglasses: