I can hear the cynics now. ‘Oh sure you didn’t see the branches when you took the photos and now you’re saying it’s some fancy approach to photography.’

I’m not saying that never happens since branches hone in on my lens like ticks to a moose. But in these cases, I was trying to get the effect of looking through branches which wasn’t that difficult since I was actually doing it. The challenge was that the branches were often waving around, sometimes violently, and the animals kept moving.

I often use tree trunks to frame a landscape image but I’m liking the effect of the branches in these photos. What do you think?

_MG_9256 (1)

I was pleasantly surprised that this grizzly photo turned out OK. It was quite far away and I was desperately trying to get one last shot before it disappeared.


The wind was whistling by me causing the branches to dance all over this place. This was the only photo where the branches didn’t cover up the Yellowstone River. This doesn’t seem that far away until you look at the trees in the valley.


I saw that tiny opening between the branches and waited until the pelican swam into it. Polite pelican!


This one’s busy and I’m guessing most of the size perspective is gone. A little mystery is good now and then.


Shaggy just posed for me between the branches so I thot OK that works. The large distance between the branches changes how much they are blurred adding a three dimensional effect.


Latest Comments

  1. dweezer19 says:

    This happens to me sometimes when Im trying to “catch” the black swans on my side of the lake, merely because there is a lot of overgrowth by the road. But I do like the framing effect on those close ups. Adds a touch of voyeurism to the shot. Swans tend to look so demure.


  2. caleephotography says:

    I think it’s nice to frame the pictures like this. 🙂 It adds a bit of drama, like a spycam for wildlife. I love the picture of Shaggy! Hope I get to see one like him some day.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Wildlife spy cam – I get all these fun new phrases that will be great to play around with in the future. Shaggy really was a special find and I think he does a good job of making the branches look good.


  3. Phil Lanoue says:

    I particularly like the photos of Mr. Grizz and the white pelican. The have a voyeuristic feel to them but in a good way.
    And of course you gotta love Shaggy!
    I think the branch/framing effect works quite nicely.


  4. 1107photography says:

    I agree, the natural framing is a nice device to give the viewer the feeling of “being there.” Let’s face it, when you are out in the wild, that IS how things appear very often. I am not as partial to the ones where they have more coverage, i.e., the waterfall, but the ones that afford a natural window, like the bear, ram, and gorge, are quite nice. 🙂


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Your description of a natural window fits. It does give it a natural feel but to be totally natural the wildlife would be hidden behind the branches:) I appreciate you taking the time to comment.


  5. Ray and Trudy says:

    Enjoying your photography and comments. Definitely finding the branches framing the pictures as an asset!

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. Mandy says:

    I’ve just done a photography workshop on framing and the grizzly shot nails it for me.


  7. Mike Powell says:

    Like many others said, I think the framing works best for the wildlife vice the landscape shots, especially the mountain goat.


  8. vanbraman says:

    I like using branches or leaves to give perspective. Nice pictures as usual.


  9. westerner54 says:

    I think the grizzly photo is full of suspense and tension because of the branches: I feel like we’re hiding from the bear, and at any moment he’ll turn and see us. Take the branches away, and it turns into a safe photo of a big bear. Kind of the same thing happens with the goat…but it seems like he’s already spotted us!


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Those are good observations. What’s a grizzly photo without some tension? Since I seem to view bear photos with less fear than others and felt absolutely no fear at the time of that photo, it’s harder for me to view it with that perspective. But it makes good sense if you’re looking at it for the first time.


  10. Steve Gingold says:

    The goat works the best, IMO. And the grizzly too, although I find that and the others just a bit too much oof. Just my taste. I prefer to be able to identify the blurred subject somewhat unless totally out of focus as in a background, but I like the idea of framing the subject, Lyle.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      It’s nice to hear your perspective. It’s also good to hear the reason behind your opinion and I expected you would have one. Your comment about wanting to be able to identify the blurred object unless it’s completely out of focus makes sense. I think I’m probably less concerned about that since I use it a regularly. I noticed a few posts back there were a number of people who made similar comments about blurring the foreground on a bison photo. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  11. adinparadise says:

    The last image is really stunning, Lyle. Love the Grizzly too, and the Pelican……..:)


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Thanks so much. I think the wildlife looks better with this type of framing, then again, I always think the wildlife looks better so I guess that doesn’t say much.


  12. Scott Marshall says:

    It worked perfectly with the bear shot Lyle


  13. Gunta says:

    I think it worked best for the first and last images (especially the last). The branches give it a sense of place. The others, not so much (in my humble opinion, of course.) I think the branches tend to be a distraction in the two river shots.


    • Lyle Krahn says:

      Your humble opinion is interesting to me. You make a good point about the branches working better when they provide context. While I like all of them, the wildlife shots seem to work better.


  14. Deb W. Trotter says:

    I am very partial to using branches to frame photo subjects, so I like what you’ve done here!


  15. artsifrtsy says:

    I’ve grown to love these kinds of frames. Sometimes through the trees is the only way to get close – I think it adds to the composition most times.


  16. judysbirds says:

    I really appreciate the ‘frame’ around the subjects. Like Lyle, the grizzly is impressive, but I love it whenever the subjects face, or better yet just the eyes, pop out from the surrounding foliage. Love it.


  17. Dianne Mursell says:

    I like it on all of them except the stream. I especially love it on the Grizzly image. I often make use of “natural” surroundings as well in some of mine.


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