Sunny cedar

What makes this image expressive?

For me, this grove of abstract cedars expresses exactly how I feel about photographing nature. That being it is about the colors, texture, movement, forms, shapes and the feel of nature. The essences of nature. Early in the morning the lighting is so intense it made me stop, enjoy and be lost in the moment.

Specific Feedback Requested

I did some basic adjustments such as; converted to linear profile, highlights/shadows, some cloning, color grading and some texture/clarity in ACR. Then into PS for brightness/contrast. Does the composition work? Too heavy on the left side? The are a couple of blades of grass which are creating faint horizonal lines, which I cloned slightly, are they still distracting? Any other suggestions and comments are welcome.


Absolutely love this, Linda! It’s so full of energy and joy!

Thanks Linda for this striking and energising image. It opens up whole avenues of expressive discussion. What we are experiencing in this image is the product of a technique, and processing, and care: But, none of that is in any way important.

We feel something and that feeling is a consequence of the 5 triggers;

Luminosity | Contrast | Colour | Geometry | Atmosphere

Reds are brighter than greens, the energy gradient flows between these like high and low pressure weather systems. We get sucked into high pressure areas and feel ourselves rise up and ascend. Is the image about rising or falling?

The geometry here is very important, in fact, in conjunction with the colour, delivers most of the emotional impact. Rotating this image to increase or decrease the angle of the diagonal changes its impact, changes its energy.

This is what I teach in my eBooks - the language of expression.

I wonder how much of that right hand side we need?

I’m not sure the square doesn’t tell a similar story without ambiguity.

Lots to consider, the least of them being the technicalities of processing. Go with your gut, and allow the emotional consequences to flow. Thanks for this lovely image…

Thank, @Alister_Benn for taking the time to respond. I do realize I am posting this response past the time period allowed for the critique session, therefore I am not expecting a response, but did want to thank you and reply.

You have brought up many good questions and thoughts for me to ponder and yes, questions.

This comment I am curious about and will need to reflect on more.
Your next thought about the consequences of the triggers (being luminosity, contrast, colour, geometry and atmosphere) is totally spot on! The intensity of the colors, at precisely the right moment, is stunning. I chose the composition for its dynamic diagonal lines and the complimentary green background. I love the simplicity, as at least for me, helps to focus on the colors, textures and feeling of the moment, not where I am or what I am photographing.
When addressing the composition, or possibilities for cropping, I did consider a square crop, but my own need to retain at least some of the right side over took me. On reflection, I tried version half way in-between. That being, I removed 2" from the right side and 1" from the left. Then brought up the vibrancy in the green areas just slightly. I wanted the right side to have some weight but not out play the brighter red/orange.
Revised version:

As you’ve said, “lots to consider.” I am curious, again, how and what you mean by “technicalities of processing?” Does that imply the difficulties, time spent, loss of nature/natural feels when being too involved in processing? . . .as you said: “lots to consider!”

Alister, you have given me so much to think about, explore and wander around in this new expressive abstract arena and for that I thank you so much for your time, expertise and your thoughtful comments.


Hi Linda, there is no time limit on creativity! I’m here…

I think the reposted version at the bottom is superior to the original. It contains the same concept, but more concisely articulated.

Regarding the techniques etc.

This is not what people judge you on. Yes, you used lots of different techniques to achieve the aesthetic you presented, however, no-one cares if it took you 20 seconds or 20 hours. (that sounds harsh) but it is the aesthetic we engage with, not the process. Photographers love to obsess over technique and show how clever they are.

I knew a guy once who boated that he always used luminosity masks to process him images, bt they were a mess. He had no emotional sensitivity to the content and just ran roughshod over it.

Give me a sensitive heart over a technician any day.

FEEL IS EVERYTHING… Allow your emotions to drive.

PS< really do love the repost… keep your passion alive.

Linda your rework is fantastic.

Thank you, Alister, for sharing your thoughts on this expressive photography adventure.

"Give me a sensitive heart . . . and “FEEL IS EVERYTHING… Allow your emotions to drive.” . . . are thoughts with which live in my gut and heart on a daily basis. I am still working on the “allowing” part. Thank you for your words of encouragement and I am glad you love the repost as well as I do.
Take care,