Iron wood tree at Joshua Tree National Park

Infidel

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This is my first photo upload here! I was in San Diego last week for a conference and rented a car and drove to Joshua Tree National Park after the conference ended. Anyway, I came away with a handful of keepers, but this was one of my favorites. Shot hand held in RAW, F/10, 1/60s, ISO 200 (base ISO on my D40) with 18-55mm kit lens @ 18mm with a cheap, no-name circular polarizer.

I did the black and white conversion in Photoshop CS4 and used a fair amount of the smart sharpen filter (1 px radius, ~100%).

I know it's not a perfect photograph by any means (framing, etc), but I would be happy to hear some thoughtful C&C, especially tips for post processing, as a re-shoot is out of the question for now (bummer, I would love to go back).

Anyway, here goes:

Dead%20Iron%20wood%20tree%20B%26W%20small.jpg
 
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Infidel

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Shameless bump.

A few questions: I like the contrast between the branches and the sky, but the lower half of the tree tends to blend in with the ground a bit too much. I tried various PP techniques to deal with this (selective burning/dodging) but the result looked to artificial to me. Any tips on how this could have been avoided during the shoot?

Also, if I were to do a reshoot, I would change the framing slightly to include all of the left-most branch (oops) and perhaps add a bit more negative space on the right/upper right. Maybe even shoot in landscape aspect and end up with a squarish crop.
 

atabrem

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ok.. this is my first post for helping edit.. so yay for me lol.. so i basicly played with levels, and masked back the sky.. then i adjusted contrast, and again masked back the sky.. is this more what your looking for??
5286113490_7e20dc3ccc_z.jpg
 

memento

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you could try shooting a larger f stop to blur the background.

next time, step back a little more and try to include a little more foreground.
 

KmH

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Many times shallow DOF is not appropriate, and it is often overdone.

Using off camera strobed light pointed up from ground level would have helped to get separation of the bottom half of the snag from the ground.
 

Frequency

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The first image is not bad at all; in fact it is very good; the question is only how to improve this, may be!!!

From my experience, so far i can say one thing; "0" response here need not mean a bad image; some times when i clicked at some old zero responded images(C&C requested), i was astonished to see the quality of the image; i am not blaming anybody; but sometimes things are that way....

Regards :D
 
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Thanks for all the replies. I deliberately used a middle of the road aperture to get the best compromise between DOF, sharpness, and reasonable hand-holdable shutter speed. That said, I agree that a little more foreground would help the composition. I like the contrasty edit, but might prefer something about halfway between the edit and my original. I like the suggestion to use OCF, and plan on adding that to my kit soon. I think it would be pretty straightforward to experiment with OCF in situations like this. I'm not so much bothered by lack of replies (until now)...I knew going in not to expect a whole lot of traffic, but I couldn't bring myself to post this in the beginner's forum (although I do consider myself a beginner).
 

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