Moss Covered Maple - A large maple tree, covered in moss, catches the light as it stands beside a trail along the Carbon River near Carbonado, WA.

A Moss Covered Maple

Ok. Not a prize-winning photo, but hey, it’s the first one of the year that was more than five miles from home.

After spending the last couple of weeks in the chaos of Christmas, New Years, and Dog Shows, Liddy and I decided it was time to get out and take a real walk.

Carbon River & Mt Rainier National Park

We live in the city of Bonney Lake. It’s a short drive from our house to the Carbon River Ranger Station which is on the Northwest corner of Mt Rainier National Park.

This is not one of the more popular places in the park for the tourists to visit.

From Bonney Lake, you drive east on Highway 410 towards Buckley then take Highway 165 southeast through the villages of Wilkerson and Carbonado. Keep going and you cross the Fairfax Bridge where, a little bit farther, you choose to take the right fork up to Mowich Lake, or left towards the Ranger Station.

Abandoned Rail Right of Ways Make Great Trails

Liddy and I stopped before the bridge to walk the old railway right of way that leads to the ghost town of Melmont. We wanted to walk the two and one-half miles to the bridge. Liddy was ecstatic to finally be out on a trail in the woods.

Because it was once a railroad, the path is easy. Right now it can be a bit muddy but nothing requiring boots. With the snow, it was pretty.

Shortly before reaching the bridge, we came upon this old Maple. Absolutely covered with moss. The sun was just catching its upper branches, lighting up the tree.

Not a prize-winner

This photo is nowhere near a prize winner but it does represent the challenge of trying to capture the Northwest Rainforest.

So this is what the camera saw.

I bracketed the shot. I have a big memory card so I set the camera on a 5 shot bracket all the time. One and two stops overexposed. One and two stops underexposed.

HDR and edit for the brights

In Lightroom, I combined the exposures to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image.

I applied a gradient mask across the diagonal of the image from the left top corner to bottom right. To that mask, I moved the sliders to darken the sky and bring back the blue. I also used a luminosity setting so that only the very bright parts were affected

I also darkened the bright locations in the forest behind the tree.

Finally, I took the image into PhotoShop to remove the sticks and branches that I found distracting.

Sticks like those in the bottom right, and some up in the tree itself. The final crop also gets rid of a lot of distractions and makes the tree stand out in the frame.

Moss Covered Maple - Step 3: Final image after edits in PhotoShop to remove distractions

The result

I like what I have achieved here. As I say, not a prize winner, but not too bad. I didn’t expect much more when I clicked the shutter.

What I did expect was to have to do some post-processing to get anything. It’s about the journey.

I learned a lot through this exercise. Both in the post-processing work and in working the composition.

What do you think? How would you improve this composition?

You can click on any one image to view it in a full lightbox. While in the lightbox, you can scroll to the next image in this post.

Thanks for taking a moment with me.

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