Ever have one of those days of photography where everything goes right? That happened to me on 6/5/19 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The forecast was for fog and drizzle, perfect conditions for spring photography. In one long day I shot 5 waterfalls, fog creeping through the mountains and valleys, trees with red buds and flowers at the summit of Kancamagus Pass, and trees with fresh lime green leaves at lower elevation in the valleys.

And I finally harpooned a photographic white whale of mine, Rhodora or Rhododendron canadense or bog orchid. This magenta flower is found in boggy, woodland areas, and is a botanical icon of spring in New England. Over the years I have found small clusters of these flowers here and there. But on this day I finally found a large mass, and more importantly, one with a clean background (not always easy to find in boggy woodlands). I know this image is pretty basic, but to me it symbolizes one of the best days of photography that I’ve had in a long time.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

any critique and comments are appreciated

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Canon 5D Mk IV, Canon 24-70mm f2.8 II, 55mm, ISO 400, 1/25 sec at f16

Rework to add canvas at top, and tweak the left edge

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

Ed, congratulations on finally finding this nice bog orchid scene! As you mentioned the light was ideal and the colors look spot on to my eye. This scene is all about the flowers and this is nice presentation of them. I also see a vertical composition of the right side with the spruce trees emphasized in the background. I doubt that meets your intention since you found such a nice large group of flowers, it’sjust an alternate suggestion.

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This is downright beautiful. The colors appear darn near perfect to me. I agree about those overcast conditions - colors really pop - and naturally! Your excitement for that day is pretty obvious and I think we all know that feeling; and only wish all our photo excursions were like that.

Love the flowers of course and you’re right about a “clean” background. Great mix of the conifers and spring greens. The comp is excellent as presented. I do see options too as Alan suggests. I can see a vertical crop of the right and also of the left. The one thing that pulls my eye a bit is the concentrated cluster of blossoms on the left edge. There’s a natural break in the flowers (the little “v”) that could be cropped to. Bad thing, it removes the nice verticals of the trees on the left. Actually, in playing with a crop you could just take a little off the left without cramping the vertical trees on the left, but still reduce the heaviness of the cluster on the left edge. But’s that’s just me.

Other than squeezing out a perfect crop of your choice (or not at all…) no nits or suggestions. Beautiful scene. Very glad you got your white whale… :smile:


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What a beautiful scene, Ed. The colors are so nice. I love how the dark green spruce stands out against the lighter greens too. But those flowers are spot on. Perfect, like your day!

Beautiful colors and layers. Great you finally found this large garden and you made it work rather well. Very minor, but I would like a little space above the right evergreen (pine, spruce?). Real nice!

I had this first impression as well, but forgot to mention.

@Alan_Kreyger @Shirley_Freeman @Lon_Overacker @Harley_Goldman thank you all for your comments, they are appreciated. Harley and Lon. I agree with you about needing more space above the spruce tree. I was fighting excluding sky gaps from the image, but Add Canvas / Content Aware Fill solves that problem. Lon I also agree with your comments about the left edge, did a small crop and some cloning away of the rhodora to address that. These small tweaks really help tighten things up. A rework is posted back with the original. Thanks for your help everyone.

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Ed, congrats of a fine find. The Rhodo’s look great and it’s a nicely dense collection. I find the sudden end of the Rhodo’s on the left in the redo a “surprise”, that doesn’t fit with the rest of the group. The background of spring green trees looks good. In Maryland, this spring’s weather provided the best redbud colors that I can remember, so it will be interesting to see how the Rhodo bloom changes from year to year as you revisit this spot.

I’m a little late to the rodeo but your day sounds like nirvana to me, Ed. They do not happen very often; at least not for me; but you have to embrace them when they do. The magenta of the flowers and the greens of the surrounding trees look spot on to me as does the lovely soft overcast lighting. I actually like the rhodies in the first version and the added canvas in the second one. For me I like the way the clump of flowers on the left mirrors those on the right. BTW congrats on harpooning that white whale.

Thanks for the comments @Ed_Lowe . I’ve seen pretty small clusters of rhodora in several places, but usually nestled in tight with tamarack trees, etc. This spot was a great find.

Sadly the rhodora will be gone by the time you and Mike make it up to Franconia this week. But there will plenty of other flowers around. A high pressure system gave us warm and sunny days this past weekend, and that should push the lupines along after their slow start this unusually cold spring.