WIP: Tree of Life - Olympic Peninsula

Even though it is a popular subject to photograph, I wanted to give it a different twist. More and more I’m shooting in B&W, so that was a given. The sun was behind the tree so I incorporated the sun and created a sun star. Because of the backlight, I dodged the tree trunk and roots and added a little shadow in areas to bring out the roots.

Specific Feedback Requested

Looking for feedback on where I can take this image further. Feedback appreciated.

Technical Details

Nikon Z7, Nikkor Z 24-70 ƒ/4 S, 26mm, ISO 64, 1/80 sec at ƒ/16.

B&W conversion in LR. Sharpen and D&B in PS.

Here is the revised version:

Wow, I’ve been to ONP many times and have never come across this wonderful subject. Great shot, Steve, and nice work on the B&W. Oh, and nice to see you here again.

You asked about feedback. This is terrific as is, but one thought is to crop to focus one the tree and roots. You also have just a bit of room in Levels to bring the highlights up a tad…here’s a quick rework, I hope you don’t mind:

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Thank you David for providing feedback on my photo. I took your advice and reworked the photo.

You can find this tree a short walk along the beach at the Kalaloch Campground.

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Nice rework, Steve. This is terrific. FYI, you can also edit your original post and add the rework up there. Then folks can easily flip between the two images.


Thank you. I added the revised image to the bottom of the original post. I thinks that’s what you meant.

Again, thank you for your assistance.

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Nice looking scene!
My only issue is that there’s nothing keeping my eye from leaving the top of the frame since that is the brightest part . Not sure you could fix this really without a totally different composition though!

Thanks Matt. I appreciate the feedback. I brought down the sky as much as I could without making it look unnatural. I’ll have to think about my options. I try to avoid the total sky blackout because everybody seems to do that.

I could always do a sky replacement…LOL.

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Wow, talk about an expressive tree! What a great nature story! I think you did very well with the timing and choice to include the sun. I mean because if there was just an empy sky, I think that portion of the image would be rather empty and the tree top itself is a little unorganized and I think the sunstar really helps galvanize the composition.

Even better is that the tree structure and roots in your repost garner just as much attention simply because they’re so fascinating and tell a great story. The edit version works beautifully by removing the miscellaneous elements that I think detracted from the overall image.

Not sure what you could do differently with the sky and top - other than return at a different time and condistions. But as captured and presented I think this is an excellent b&w and nature story.

thanks for sharing!


What a dramatic looking tree made all the more dramatic by your B&W conversion. I find the roots to be the star of the show here with this subject. It looks like this tree is mobile and it’s tentacles are allowing it to grip and grab while it moves along the steep slope. I may be in the minority with this but I find that the Sunstar is overwhelming the image a little bit however, I often feel that way about Sunstar’s so this is not unusual for me. Take it for what it’s worth. :slight_smile: I like the revision you posted with the crop and dodging of the roots. So much better. Nice job. If this tree is easy to get to I might try and compose this so you have a smaller Sunstar (just a peak at one or none at all), and also get closer and more underneath the tree so you eliminate the sky altogether. That way, this becomes more about the canopy of the tree and the roots holding it on the side a gnarly hillside. Looking forward to more of your images Steve.

Thank you Lon. I originally wasn’t going to make an image that day. It was a family trip to the area. But with camera in hand, I went for it.

Thank you David for the suggestions. I usually don’t include a sunstar in my photos, maybe only to make the naked sky slightly more interesting. On the day I visited, on a family trip with my daughter, we only had a short time. I could easily go back, being it’s only a few hours drive from home.