An Old Tree in the Desert


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The back story

Earlier this year, I was in Southwest Utah. Liddy and I were going to the Outsiders Photography Conference in Kanab.

Before leaving home, I scouted out some locations that might provide some good shots as well as overnight opportunities. One of those was Yantt Flats and the Candy Cliffs between Leeds and St. George on the west side above Interstate 15. If found the trail on the All Trails Application. Here is the link: Yant Flats Trail – Utah | AllTrails

We arrived late in the afternoon. I was anxious to get out to the Cliffs in time for sunset. Along the way, this old tree caught my eye. I captured a couple of snaps and moved on down the trail.

As shot

When I first saw this shot, I dismissed it as not very useful. It is busy and has a number of distractions.

The photo haunted me however. I thought it might have some potential as an atmosphere shot for the article of our trip to Kanab. It needs some love though.

Edit plan

My biggest issue with it is the merger between the tree and the pine on the right (1).
Because of this merger, the tree loses its status as the premier subject.

And then there is the seed pod hanging in the air on the left along with the bright white stems supporting it and its companion on the left (2 & 3). These elements pull my eye out of the frame.

After cleanup

I haven’t put a lot of work into the toning or cropping of this image, I don’t plan to add it to my portfolio, and I don’t expect it win any prizes but…

I look at this scene and see a weathered old tree with a lot of character which is why I took the shot in the first place. I like the way the trail leads my eye up to the tree from the bottom left. I like the way the pine tree on the right frames my subject and keeps my eye centered on it.

There are more edits to be done now that the distractions are gone. Check out the final product in the previous post, Candy Cliffs and Kanab

Remove the chaos

So, the moral of my story is Remove the Chaos.

I should have removed the merging branches (1) when I took the shot. It isn’t good practice to leave things like this for post processing. I’m not upset about the seed pods and bright stems (2 and 3) because short of destroying them in the field, (which in my book is a major foul) they can’t be helped.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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