One Tree, Three Compositions


On a recent outing with a friend to what’s known as the ‘Adobes’ (short for Adobe Badlands) I spotted this tree at just the right time! The Cottonwood with its nice shape and backlit spring growth glowed from the setting sun. I quickly went to work as I knew the light was fleeting and made 3 different compositions. I enjoy going to the Adobes … it offers some landscape variety and when the light falls on the curved hills at the golden hour it can be quite striking. Spring comes a little earlier there and soon there will be some wildflowers and cactus blooms to find.

‘Backlit Cottonwood’ © Denise Bush
click here to view larger or order a print

‘Desert Tree At Sunset’ © Denise Bush

‘Adobe Tree at Sunset’ © Denise Bush
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48 Responses to “One Tree, Three Compositions”

  1. 1 Deb

    What beautiful light! My fav is the first one, I think I like the “big picture”!

  2. Ooh, lovely light. I cast my vote with the first, too. The layers of hills and sky add much interest to the shot, particularly the sliver of light and purple clouds.

  3. Great light and colors, Denise. So good to try different compositions– each one is special!

  4. Beautifully done!

  5. Astonishingly beautiful, I think that this place was made for photographing.
    Wonderful color degradations. Congratulations!

  6. Yes, beautiful!

  7. It is so great to play with composition when you are in a great place like this one. These are nice and I really can’t pick a favorite.

  8. The first image is my favorite, but I tend to take the wide-view of things as my go-to shooting style.

    • I agree the wide angle is the most interesting. With everything out in the open here I often find the need to exclude something from the frame.

  9. Great trio of images, Denise. I like them all, but I also think the first is really special; particularly if it is printed large.

  10. Beautiful! I like the vertical one best.

  11. All three are beautiful, Denise! I always love your eye for composition. 🙂

  12. That is a such a golden hour! The tone through all the images is amazing. I really like the wide shot. Beautiful!

  13. That WAS a perfect moment. I like the first one best, and it makes me think of metals – gold, obviously, but also silver and pewter – those clouds. They’re a nice counterpoint to the cottonwood. Also, the first photo gives me an expansive feeling – and like I remember you talking about it has both warm and cool colors working together.

  14. Beautiful light. Great timing. This is the great challenge, working out for the best composition and I tend to shoot multiple views of the same scene when possible because often times you won’t know until you sit down and review the photos.

    • Thank you. When out shooting people often ask, “getting some good shots”? And I reply, “I’ll see when I get them home”.

  15. What a lovely tree! You did find it at just the right time. The light, and warmth of golden hour are gorgeous!

  16. Beautiful captures. Love those bright orange glow of the tree!

  17. You really have a great eye for photography Denise. The tree is a beauty – and it really glows in the sunlight. So picturesque!

  18. Enchanted with the first composition which really seems to showcase the tree in all its backlit glory.

  19. Denise – Imagine catching that fleeting moment with an 8×10 view camera like Adams (Moonrise)

    • I imagine Ansel did some planning before breaking out his 8×10. It looks like there could have been several minutes between the time the moon broke above the cloud and when he clicked the shutter.

      • I read Ansel’s account and listened to his son Michael’s account. Apparently it was quite chaotic getting the camera on top of the car and fumbling for the right lens etc. He could not find his Weston meter and he had enough time for I believe one exposure. What saved him was knowing the exposure for the moon. He put the dark slide back in and when he turned holder around and was about to pull the slide again the light was gone on the crosses. This is why I mentioned it in relation to the fleeting light. Sorry for going on, I teach this stuff. The trouble with being a retired photojournalist, to much time on my hands.

  20. Oh how I love the golden tonality, beautifully composed!

  21. 47 in

    All great

    Like the first one best

    • Thanks! Not sure how you have landed on this post which is actually 3 years old! appreciate your visit anyway. To see the most recent work just click on Denise Bush’s Photo Blog at the top then scroll down.

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