I’ve decided that what expresses this peninsula best is suffering. If you’re into suffering, or if you have strong feelings for things that suffer, this is the place for you. Everything here struggles to stay alive and I think the forms reflect that. This particular tree perhaps shows it better than most since it has no business to be here. Yet despite that fact I have found it difficult to capture that sense very often with these trees. I don’t know why. This is one of my more successful attempts in my opinion.

I have purposely made a cooler version of this image. I think I like that more than the warmer natural version. What do you think?

GFX50R, 45-100mm


Igor,It’s a beauty in trees when they are giving such feeling of struggle, suffering. sheltering. happiness and so on. What can be different to anyone. Here I also see as you do, survival.
Well made , your very colorful “struggle to stay alive”. Just perfect to me.

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The structure and shape of this tree is amazing. It looks like it has feelers reaching out in all directions hoping to captures something that can help it survive these harsh conditions. When zoomed in large you really get a sense for the struggle with dried out and dead branches everywhere and even the rocks look parched. You’ve framed this image nicely with the Saguaro? on the left side keeping everything contained and the Saguaro on the right leaning in towards the main subject directing the viewers eye.
I think a cooler version works so well because a warmer version would convey more of a sense of life, with more vibrant colors which is not what this image is trying to convey. The tree looks dead and it looks like all of the surrounding life is trapping it where it can’t escape the onslaught of the living tree predators surrounding it in order for them to get sustenance for life. This image shows a brutality of life in the region and only the fittest survive.
Given all of this, there is a remarkable amount and variety of life which just shows how these plants have adapted over the millennia.


Igor, I think this image perfectly conveys the sense of struggle for life that you’re after. The cool colour palette contributes, for sure and I agree that warming it up would undermine your aim. What I love best about this image is the wonderful balance between order and chaos - all of the spidery bits of branches in particular against the combined strength of that gnarly old tree and the saguaro (?) on the right. Compelling and well seen.

Igor, I think you accomplished your goal. The cooler temp works for me. Love this one. THe sharpness is strong but not crunchy and really adds to this image.

I am quite liking this image, Igor. It is chaotic and busy, but everything seems to be perfectly placed within the frame. I think you captured the struggle for survival in this harsh landscape beautifully and I think the cooler tones is the way to go with this. The tree itself is amazing and dripping with character IMO with the twisting gnarly limbs spreading out across the scene. Beautifully done!

Creating a compelling image of chaotic vegetation is one of the more challenging aspects of photography, at least for me, and this does a great job of it Igor. The tree lines (is that Ironwood?) snaking through the vegetation are stark yet attractive, and the rough triangle of rocks leads nicely that main trunk. I think the color temperature is fine, and supports your vision.

Thank you all for the comments up to now. The cacti that look like saguaro are called cardon. These are more massive than saguaros but not as beautiful. The two are easily confused by Americans because they don’t occur north of the border.

I like the color palette here, especially the muted greens. And the twisty tree is a great centerpiece to the image. The luminosity of the twisty tree does a great job of separating from the background. I think the bright luminosity in the LLC rocks competes for attention with the tree, and would slightly burn down that area, making it more similar to the LRC.

I think the composition works well overall , with the exception of the cactus in the URC, I just find that a bit awkward. It’s the only element that blocks the twisty tree. And the space between the cactus and the upper right corner grabs more of my attention than I would like. There are also a few lines in the URC that lead out of the frame IMO. I see the cactus as more of a distraction than a framing element, especially at the top of the cactus.

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Personally I think that’s being pretty nit picky Ed. I can see where you’re coming from but these observations a questionable at best.

I don’t know the warmer version, but this one definitely works for me. The vegetation indeed seems to struggle for life, and you found your way in the chaos.
An image to come back to, and see more interesting stories every time you study it again.

I’m sorry Igor, but I think my comments are not unreasonable, even if you don’t agree with them. They are no more nit-picky than the type of comments I’ve made on many other images. And I even provided some reasons for why I have the opinion that I do. But this is a critique forum after all, and I am entitled to an opinion, even if you don’t agree with what I said. Take or leave my comments as you see fit…


I don’t agree with your comments. Just as you are free to comment so I am free to comment on your comment. That seems fair to me.

The colours here are beautiful and I love the chaotic yet organized composition. Overall I think that this is outstanding and really tells the story of suffering.

@Mario_Cornacchione, @Kerry_Gordon, @Tom_Nevesely, @David_Haynes, @Ed_Lowe, @Ben_van_der_Sande, @Ed_McGuirk, @Han_Schutten, @John_Williams

Thank you for all your valued comments. I’m still not entirely happy with the color but haven’t come up with anything I like more. Perhaps b&w would have conveyed the grit of these plants. I was mainly trying to convey an emotion through this image rather than state a comment on the ecosystem. It’s something I’ve been working on recently.

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This could probably work in B&W but I think it would be really tricky. The colour helps to differentiate and draw the forms out of the chaotic jumble - monochrome could be very difficult to read without pushing contrast and so on a lot farther than your intention for this image would indicate (to me anyway) . That being said, I think the muted colour palette you’ve used is more than adequate to the task you’ve set for yourself - I like it a lot. Let it sit for a while and see how you feel after some time.

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