Which “Angel’s Veil” Do You Like Better and Why? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Which “Angel’s Veil” Do You Like Better and Why?

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This image was created with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II (at 145mm) with the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400 in pre-dawn light. From a 3-frame bracket +/- 1 stop around +1 stop: 1/8 sec at f/22. Tripod-mounted (3530 LS). Giotto’s tiny ballhead (MH 1302)and bubble level. With the Giotto’s ballhead I can switch from a short wide angle zoom with a P-5 plate on the camera body to the 70-200 f/2.8 with a P-20 plate on the tripod collar. Just like I do in Bosque. It takes 3 seconds to spin off the Mongoose and put on the tiny ballhead.

Which “Angel’s Veil” Do You Like Better and Why?

I named this small beautiful section of the Lower Terrace at Mammoth Falls “Angel’s Veil.” Each image here was created with NIK’s new HDR Efex Pro from a series of three bracketed images. I will be talking lots more about this great new plug-in the coming days and weeks.

The question for today is which do you like better, the image above with the tiny tree in the lower left corner, or the version below without it?

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Here I used my “Divide and Conquer” Clone Stamp Tool techniques along with a few Quick Masks to eliminate the ranches of the tiny dead tree, all as described in detail in the Digital Basics PDF along with dozens of other great tips and the complete BAA digital workflow.

Shopper’s Guide

Here is a list of the gear that I used to create the three images for the HDR sequence.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body

And from the BAA On-line Store:

Double Bubble Spirit Level
Giotto’s MH 1302-655 Tiny BallHead
Wimberley P-5 Camera Body Plate
Wimberley P-20 Plate
Gitzo 3530 LS Tripod
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head

If you are considering the purchase of a major piece of photographic gear be it a new camera, a long lens, a tripod or a head, or some accessories be sure to check out our complete Shopper’s Guide.

27 comments to Which “Angel’s Veil” Do You Like Better and Why?

  • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Keith, I think that you have right and left mixed up. 🙂 As for the two tree trunks upper left I love them as they anchor the composition and add to the story….

  • Keith Reeder

    Not only do I agree that the little branch at bottom right needed to go, but I’d be looking very seriously at losing the tree trunks at top right as well.

  • I like the one with the tree in. It looks like an artists signature down in the corner.

  • Rollin E. Drew

    This is a superbly composed image whether with or without the small twigs in the lower left hand corner. Personally I like landscapes to have some reference in the foreground to give realism and depth. However if the image is intended to express a more surrealistic composition, then the twigs should be cloned out.

  • Until I read down further to see what was different, I actually didn’t notice as I was so entranced by the beauty of that landscape. Having said that tho the use of objects like the branch does stop the eye wandering off the picture – artists use this trick all the time. Its really good to look away and then look at any image and track what your eye does as it scans in the first few milliseconds. It’s part of the Art, Art! (ps it would be great to see two comparative images side by side rather than having to scroll up and down????)

  • Nancy Bell

    I prefer the image without the tiny tree. It just interrupts the flow of the water. And it looks like one of the nagging little twigs that will bobble as the water pulses around it. I prefer the look of the water just smoothly flowing forward out of the frame.

  • The second one of course. The first looks like you caught your hairy armpit in the scene. Some things should be removed.

  • Hi Artie,
    My vote goes to #2. The little tree is distracting to me because of the two LHS branches being cut/clipped off. It kind of pulls my eye out of the frame a bit wanting to see the entire little tree. I feel that since the cascading water in the LHS is not as bright as the upper portion and the the diagonal slope it’s in, it keeps my eye in the frame. You have created in image that I would be proud to hang in my wall.
    JMHO(H for humble)

  • Definitely the first with the little tree still in the frame. It just adds something for me, a little more real, maybe.

  • I like the first image – the small tree – for me – adds a bit of darkness to that corner and ties the top left trees together.
    However, they are both beautiful images, very dreamlike.

  • Esther Corley

    I like the 1st one better. The angel hair seems slightly more in focus-more realistic. The 2nd one gives me the feeling of having been tinkered with.

  • I’d prefer without the tree too. BTW, in the upper part of the photo I see what seems a slope with some faraway trees in the mist… I’d have preferred to see more of them 🙂 Of course, this would have been just another photo; I would like both very much.

  • Roger Williams

    Bev Kune expressed my thoughts to a tee. The tree provides an anchor and directs my eye back into the image.

    Regarding Ivar’s comment, I believe the photographer determines what is judicious manipulation in his/her images. Others may agree/disagree and offer suggestions. But, in the final analysis, the photographer is the maker and owner of that image.

  • I’m going to go with the second version. While I don’t particularly find the tree in the LLC a distraction, I think I prefer the clean foreground look.

  • Beverly Kune

    I actually prefer the top image with the small tree …the slight arc of the 3 small trees (the 2 on the top and the one in the lower left) help to frame the beautiful falls, and keeps my eye focused in the center of the cascades. Without the small tree on the bottom, my eye tends to want to fall out the lower left side of the frame.

    Perhaps dropping a control point in the lower left of the bottom photo to darken exposure in that corner would help to do the same thing, without the somewhat distracting angled branches of the tree.

  • I prefer the first since it looks more real. Adding & subtracting elements ad infinitum eventually results in images that look staged/manipulated and consequently not genuine. I too have removed the stray branch, but such changes should be done judiciously, not just because they can be done or that the result is “cleaner.”

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Wow Ivars, you are headed down the slippery slope with no spikes on. Who is the judge of judiciously??? Do you remove a stray branch here and there to make an image messier? And who determines ad infinitum? I would certainly not see that as the case here.

      I am not saying which one I prefer, just that your position is indefensible.

  • Charles Twine

    Positively the second version. The sharp angles contained in the dead tree contrast too much with the smooth curves of the waterfall.

  • jean Sloman

    Artie-Think you mean 70-200 f2.8 IS II rather than the f4 version in your list of equipment used.

    (Have both–LOVE the new 2.8 II version!!)


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks a ton Jean for catching my error. I will fix it in the post. So which image do you like? 🙂

  • Monte Brown


    Great image, the seeping of hot springs water, the misty background and contrasting colors of the image make it alive while at the same time calming. Since the angle of the branch is pointing out of the frame, it’s removal creates an image with better balance and less distraction.

    Monte B

  • Hi Artie. I prefer the second rendition. The black branches in the LLC in the first image not only draw my eye, they draw my imagination to a less than pretty scene. In the second image, the bottom of the frame leads to more and more of the beautiful cascades (in my mind!!) IMWBHO! (in my warped but humble opinion). Dan

  • I like the second one better than the first because the removal of the branches in the lower left corner makes the image feel more balanced.

  • Patrick Sparkman

    I love the image overall, especially the branching look of the “falls”. The tree in the bottom corner does not really bother me, since it has a “branching look”, and being in the corner, somewhat anchors that part. Also, it balances the tree on the top, as well as the dark spot in the BRHC. That being said, if it was my image, I would remove the tree since it is pretty contrasty compared to the overall low contrast image. Also, it lets my eyes stare at those cool flowing lines a little more without distraction.



  • lee

    I prefer the second photo. I find the tree at the bottom left distracting.

  • Mark Zablotsky

    I prefer the image without the little tree… It’s a distraction from the airy feeling of the image… Better “border patrol” without. Nice shot though…