Monday, May 16, 2011

Can't See The Forest for the Trees ~ Mono Monday!

"A Whisper Off the Beaten Path"
(1/160 sec.@ F/9, ISO 200, 19mm fl, 18-55 kit zoom, handheld, bright shade)

Still using images this week from my personal challenge. Last week I mentioned tightening my focus. Breaking down the bigger picture I'm usually prone to seeing. Not to say that there's anything wrong with the bigger picture if it speaks to you, and is so powerful it moves you. But sometimes you look back over your shoulder on your artistic journey and realize you're just following the exact same trail over and over with the same results. If growth is your destination, better switch your approach. And the photographer or artist who can recognize that for themselves will find ways to make that happen, and find inspiration along the way.

When I saw today's subject, I knew two things instantly. The first, that the final image would be B&W. There was a bit of sidelight, which enhances texture and outlines shape wonderfully for a mono shot. Second, and more importantly, that the tree alone, was the subject. This is rare for me, since my tendencies run towards using trees to fill out the scene of a landscape. Basically I use them as filler. This time, I got my camera as low as possible under the tree that hangs over onto the trail below. From a few inches off the forest floor I tilted my D80 upwards to stretch the perspective as much as the kit lens would allow. This allowed me to include the root system that runs over and through the bed of karst throughout the trail. In fact, when I return to this spot, I already know I'll try to scootch even closer to the gnarly base and shoot up. For a more extreme perspective. But hey, baby steps right?

(And for those who have asked me to dissect my processing, this image was taken into PSPx2 into the B&W filter, after I did some dodging and burning and the clarify filter applied only to the main tree and karst in a separate layer. Before I flattened the layers I used the eraser tool to reveal the work I did to the tree and rocks without the overall tones in the background changing to ensure the tree stands out nicely the way the side light lit it that afternoon.)

I am still pleased with the result. Dissecting the big picture to see more interesting subjects and details much closer, with better impact, is already paying off. No, it's not as close a shot as the birch bark posted last Thursday... but it's a different kind of subject isolation, for me anyways. Hence the title of the post today! Ignored the forest, and looked only at the trees...

Thanks for the Monday ramble gang! And for journeying along with me as I grow again. And for being so encouraging with your emails and comments and tweets... have a good one! And maybe spend this week finding a way to break out of your routine.


  1. Funny ... because what I loved about this tree and the shot I liked best from mine is the roots of the tree that appear to be hugging the massive piece of Karst ...

    Yours is alright too! ;)

  2. It really was a cool tree... the roots were awesome! Have you posted your shot yet? I'll have to check... as always, a delight to be out with my favorite photo buddy Kel!

  3. I like that the tree is the primary subject in this picture Christine. I would have thought that from the beginning, but when you take a second look you also see the expanse of the sky and other trees. Lovely shot my friend. I will show you some of mine one day. Perhaps you can give me some suggestions.

  4. Thank you Lori! I'm always available for feedback, anytime :)