Walking On Water

f/32, 10 sec, at 50mm, 100 ISO, on a Canon EOS 60D, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8

On many of my trips down to Grey Cloud Island I’ve contemplated taking a photograph of this dead tree resting in Mooers Lake just off of the Mississippi River, but it wasn’t until Saturday that the decision to press the shutter actual took place. The tree hasn’t moved since I’ve been coming here, and likely won’t for a long time, but the overcast and misty conditions just seemed to fit well with it.

A picture of this tree at a slightly different angle was shared with my social networks Sunday, but it was not as strong of a picture as this one, at least not in my mind. The difference? Angle. When surveying the composition, the angle in the image above was the desired one due to how the water looked and reflected – the background was also more to my suiting, but as I moved around to this perspective, the tree’s look also changed and started to look more like a spider walking on top of the water. Bonus!

I kept moving around the banks looking at other compositions, like the one I shared Sunday (below), but none were as strong and the angle for the tree could not be compared – this one was just too cool. Keep moving though and look at different perspectives – your first shot may turn out to be your best one, as in this case, but moving around may produce some interesting results or give a totally different feel to the image. Move those feet!


  1. Chris Nitz November 13, 2012 at 2:16 PM #

    I love this so much. The different angle brings more life to the tree in the water. I think you should come back when you get that ND10 and shoot this again with your lens at the sweet spot!!

    • Jim November 13, 2012 at 2:24 PM #

      Thanks Chris – glad you love it! I probably will do just that!

  2. Len Saltiel November 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM #

    Love this composition Jim. It is strong with the reflection of the tree and the mood of the scene.

    • Jim November 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM #

      Thanks Len – took me a little bit to find it, but I agree with you!

  3. Cindi November 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM #

    Well done Jim!

    • Jim November 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM #

      Thanks Cindi!

  4. Edith Levy November 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM #

    Beautiful images Jim. Excellent composition. The first is my favourite.

  5. Rachel Cohen November 14, 2012 at 12:07 AM #

    Cool shot Jim!! I like the B&W treatment!! :)

  6. Toad Hollow Photo November 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM #

    What a great, great photo my friend! Top drawer! There is a bit of a lonely and haunting feel to this one. Love your thoughts on composition, too!

    • Jim November 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM #

      Ah, thanks Toad. Always good to hear from you and get your input!

One Trackback

  1. [...] Walking On Water – Jim Denham shares an extremely dramatic black-and-white image that he uses as a compositional lesson.  Using long exposure to smooth out the waters surface, Jim finds the remains of a tree root buried deep in the water with a flourish of dead branches just above the surface.  There is a lonely sense to this picture, almost haunting, making for a shot that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone. [...]

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