[email protected]: Untitled by Tim Soderstrom


UntitledToday, I would like to share with you an untitled photograph from Tim Soderstrom.  As you can probably figure out, this is a shot of some incredibly tall trees, possibly somewhere in the Northwest United States (but don’t quote me on that, I never asked).  Some may say this shot is a bit cliche.  After all, Ansel Adams framed several shots like this.  And recently, I saw a similar framing on a photograph from Kevin Oke.  I’ve personally shot a few just like this.  But cliche’s exist for a reason.  They are generally good examples to follow when you’re setting up a shot.

So what separates this shot from the others?  Balance.  The amount of sky shown is a delicate balance.  Tim didn’t want it to overpower the image, but at the same time, it needed to be substantial enough to provide an anchor – a backdrop for the trees.

As always, I like to try and identify the story behind the shot.  Whether or not Tim would agree, I personally feel that the story told is one of the dizzying feeling you get when looking up at such massive trees.  The pure size of the trees would of course do that on their own.  But upon closer inspection, I realize that the effect is further enhanced by Tim’s choice of exposure.  If you look carefully, the image is slightly overexposed – causing softer edges of the leaves and branches which border the sky.

There are a few specific details of this image that could be tweaked to improve the oveall quality of the photo.  For starters, you have to be careful to watch your edges.  In this particular shot, the edges aren’t clean where it borders the sky.  Do to the backlighting, we can expect the edges to be a little softer (unsharp), and I feel that it’s very appropriate in this case.  But you have to watch chromatic aberrations (color focusing).  There is a blue/red shift at the edges of most of the leaves.  It’s subtle, but it does make the image a little unclear at full-size.

Finally, I’m a firm believer that any piece of art, regardless of the medium, should have a title.  Now, in Tim’s defence, I don’t think Tim anticipated that this photo would recieve any exposure.  But I feel it’s important – if only for practice – to title all of your final images.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father’s Nikon N2000, he’s been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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