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1.75 - "Needs Work" 

Okay, stretching the theme a little, probably. :)

When I think of plant-life, I often think of the tenacity of life, even in the harshest environments. And in this case, it's both the tree and some help of humans (from the tensioned leads) that enable this little guy to survive.

This is in the heart of the Salt Flats, in northwestern Utah or Nevada, and there was probably no other life around for about a 15-mile radius. I have no idea how this survived or who helped prop it up. But it certainly stood out.

I'm curious any tips for what could have made the image more compelling. I didn't have a lot of latitude on the composition (taken from a road at 200mm and not sure I could have really gotten closer). But any thoughts appreciated.

Side-note: the crunchy horizon line was like that - it's the mirage of the salt-flats in hot summer reflection meeting up against spotty sharp elements poking through.

(Exif: Canon 40D, 70-200mm lens at 200, f/4, 1/4000-sec.)

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A little trick I learned: if my lens just isn't quite long enough.. For a static image like this, stabilize the camera and take several shots; a minimal of four or five if you can... Then in post you can combine all the images into a single higher resolution image (using an older technique); basically mimicking "Pixel Shift", turning a low resolution image into a high. Four images is fairly good for 200% bigger, and 6 to 8 images is "okay" for 400%.. You get the idea. In the end you can then crop in and recompose.

Not saying you need that here but figured I'd share anyway. Ifs a great technique.

Very cool, Joe - thanks for sharing that. Yeah, familiar with pixel-shift, but never occurred to me to try it 'manually' on my own. I'll have to remember that.

I like Joe's idea as well, but in reality, with this shot I don't think its purpose is artistic, it is journalistic. I don't think it ever could be more than what it should be, a statement symbolizing the human struggle we all endure with this little tree in the desert. I like it portfolio or no portfolio.

Yup, I agree as well...

Thanks Gary for the thoughtful comment - that is a good way to frame it and really speaks to the impromptu unplanned nature of the shot, just to capture an interesting element, not a planned artistic effort. Certainly fair.