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This one is a "mental photograph" of sorts. I was driving on an eastern Iowa freeway in mid-Sept 2011 when I looked to my right and saw a green, summer-like, wooded area with this one blazing red tree sticking out like a torch. I only glimpsed the scene for about 5 seconds, but I thought it would make an interesting wallpaper. I fired up Vue when I got home and constructed this scene from memory (with a bit of artistic license). I hope you like it! The third and fourth versions I rendered deviate a bit from my initial inspiration. The second version looked very much like what I saw on the roadside, but I wanted to try something a little more subtle. Vue doesn't allow you to vary the leaf color on a "per-branch" level so I rendered a few different shades and composited them in Photoshop.

8.08/10 rating (165 votes)

Pickle Jar Variations what's this?

7.31/10 rating (39 votes)

7.58/10 rating (53 votes)

7.38/10 rating (16 votes)

Member Comments

Well, you know, some people feel the need to trash the work of others to make themselves feel better about what's lacking in their own lives. First Blush in all its superb iterations is one of my fall favorites; it always goes up in September. Thanks, DMT. And thank you, Ryan!

Fri July 3, 2015 at 10:48 am

"Absolutely wonderful"
I have been a lifetime member of DB for about ten years now, and I can say unequivocally that your work is second to none, and how someone -- anyone -- can call your work pathetic is simply beyond me (@tina). Yes, it was four years ago, but still, I read her comment and my heart really went out to you, Ryan. The point isn't even what kind of tree that is. It could have been a tree of your own invention. There are no rules here. You create worlds and scenes that, as far as we know, do not exist in reality, so what purpose did Tina have in saying what she said. She has probably moved on with her life and has forgotten all about this little evil moment of hers, but I wanted you to know that you are an artist of the first caliber. Your mind sees something, and you create it. I highly suspect that this woman could do a tenth, a hundredth, of what you have accomplished in these scenes of yours. You've created impressions of worlds that are mysterious, glorious, daunting, exciting, moving, and evocative in any number of ways, and how someone could form the opinion that your work is pathetic is just so far beyond understanding and untenable that the issue is more about Tina's evil and corrupted spirit than it is about your work. She is the personification of all that is spiteful and ugly in this world, while you and your brilliant mind and pure heart represent all that is good and wonderful and perfect.

Yes, the comment is four years old, but, frankly, I still had to say something. Words hang in the air. They don't just disappear. They cling to us, like cobwebs, and sometimes a memory is evoked simply by way of a word. I can remember things from my past that, for all pretense and purposes, I should have long since forgotten because the event or circumstance they represent have no significance in my life. But I remember useless scenes, and they stay with me, for no reason at all. And just in case Tina's words have stayed with you, I want you to know that you are a good and decent man, anyone can see that, and your heart is decent and good. You walk with the goodwill and hopes of all who have ever seen your work. You are blessed. And you are loved.

Thank you for your gift.

Dennis Michael Tiffany @ rocketmail

Fri July 3, 2015 at 8:15 am

"Subtle and Striking"
another wow; beautiful subtle tonality - just lovely. Catches that first "yikes" moment just perfectly.

Tue December 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

"Is wow an under/over statement?"
The colors, the light, the content are serene, peaceful, calming. It's one of those scenes one wouldn't mind stepping into; ala 'The Twilight Zone' But the 'Zone' story as usual, has a strong and ironic twist. It's a story about a man who wants to escape into a painting ( a man fishing on a lake) and he visits the gallery everyday, wishing, hoping he can escape into that place and time. He is a nazi who escaped from the war and wishes to hide. He is discovered, runs to the gallery and wishes himself into the painting, but unknown to him the painting has been replaced by a different one. A man being crucified. Not that this compares to that, it is just such a peaceful idlyic scene, place and time. You have captured that photographic quality, light and ideal time of day. Thank you.

Sat October 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

"really well done and understated"
The longer I look at this one, the more I appreciate it. The foreground vegetation, especially, is really well done, IMO. Might be the best ground cover of any of your renders--it just looks real!

Sat October 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm

It's gone!

Thu October 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm

"Beautiful and Nostalgic"
This is perhaps my favorite one yet in my 12 years of following DB. I used to live in NE Iowa, Decorah, and have seen many an autumn pasture just like this. You really capture the sense of those secluded paradises tucked away along gravel roads whose beauty often goes unnoticed until you stop and take a closer look. Wonderful! Thank you.

Thu October 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Let me know if you are still seeing the gibberish.

Thu October 6, 2011 at 7:17 am

note: this happens on every preview.shtml page, not just firstblush.

Thu October 6, 2011 at 3:29 am

I am using FF3.6 (I can't handle FF's new layout so I can't upgrade). I also use adblock to remove a considerable amount of undesired content around the net (including things like Facebook/Twitter widgets like you use here, etc.), which may or may not be interfering with it.

Here is a screenshot, which shows that the gobbledegook looks like it should be the contents of the dropdown menu:

Thu October 6, 2011 at 3:28 am

"split files"
is there anyway I can get the 3840x1080 in split files? Otherwise I have to have a reverse picture with the colored tree on the left instead of the right. Is there another way to fix this?

Wed October 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Thanks for the heads-up! The files should have the correct links now.

Wed October 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm

"Pickle jar multiscreens"
I think some of the multiscreen pickle jar renders all point to the same version (with the brighter red tree), the filenames are the same for the bigger images. Is that intended?

Tue October 4, 2011 at 4:01 am

"Love it!!"
My pick is #4. Each year my eye is suddenly drawn to just such a tree as I travel to/from work in autumn, somehow it seems to change colors overnight. You've captured this image perfectly, Ryan!! This is one sight that I look forward to as the seasons change here in southwestern PA.

Sun October 2, 2011 at 12:56 am

"Like the multicolored versions."
I liked the plain red one, too. But with the multicolor (especially #4) the whole image really pops. I think it's becoming one of my favorite fall images that you've done. Thanks for sharing your "mental" snapshot. :-)

Sat October 1, 2011 at 6:07 pm

May I ask what browser you are using?

Fri September 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

There's a block of gobbledegook visible under the multiscreen pictures that looks like it's supposed to be part of the download dropdown. :x

Fri September 30, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I've posted multiscreen versions of #4 and #2 (in the Pickle Jar). You will notice that the color pattern on version 4 is a bit different than the single screen version. Since I used Photoshop to create the effect in #4 it would be difficult (but not impossible) to replicate exactly. I chose instead to create a new distribution. Hope you like it!

Fri September 30, 2011 at 4:31 pm

"Multiscreen Update"
The multiscreen is finished rendering and now I am putting together the different foilage renders. It should be up later today!

Fri September 30, 2011 at 9:51 am

Kenneth F
"Looks good!"
Ryan, I would have to say this is spot on! It looks just like the Vine Maple we have here on the west side of the Cascades Mountains here in Oregon. These wallpapers exemplify why this is my wife's favorite time of year. She loves the foliage color changes…especially the Vine Maple!! I'm sure she will have this set as her desktop wallpaper by the end of today!

Wed September 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

"Never mind"
Never mind, it's already in there! I just needed to Ctrl+F better.

Wed September 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm

"480 x 800 First Blush 2"
Great render!

If it isn't too much work could I get a 480x800 version of First Blush #2 for my Windows Phone? That one is my favourite!

Wed September 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

"Love your natural desktops"
The previous desktop and this one are a reminder for me to keep renewing my membership. Just what my workstation needed for the warm and colourful Autumn now enveloping England. Thank you.

Wed September 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm

"My vote: #2"
I like the second version best. The first one had the tree too muted and in the background. The multi-color version is almost too surrealistic for my taste. (although I can easily see how it could be someone's favorite)

I like the contrast best with the second one.

I am actually very excited to see which one is ultimately selected as the "official" version.

Wed September 28, 2011 at 10:42 am

We get fog for a lot of the morning here in Southern California and this picture captures it perfectly. Once again you have dome some spectacular work!!

Wed September 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

"re: Rant and other stuff"
I knew there was a good reason I despised "social" networking sites. I am personally glad I never fell into that particular addiction, but I certainly understand your frustration, Ryan. But once my local bank and supermarkets started adding "Like This" links to their pasta and Free Personal Checking, I figured it couldn't go anywhere but down from there. Just like I remember the days when MTV actually played Videos!

Also love the latest version of First Blush (#3), though I'd still love to see some nice tendrilly fog ;)

@tina - just wow. At least be clear when you're scathing. I have no idea what the heck your criticism even was supposed to be.

Wed September 28, 2011 at 9:24 am

This looks a lot like our yard (we live on a farm). We have a small odd-shaped tree that comes out first every Fall. I like #4, but #3 really is first blush.

Wed September 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

Perfect for the coming fall! I love maple trees!

Wed September 28, 2011 at 9:09 am

I was going for a maple tree here.

Wed September 28, 2011 at 8:52 am

Justin B
"@ Tina x2"
Actually, my grandparents have a young maple tree that looks very much like that. It turns to it's fall colors sooner than any other tree on the street, and it's tall and slender. Almost exactly like the one in the picture.

But I guess since you can't see it it must not be real...

Wed September 28, 2011 at 8:39 am

I dont mean to contradict you, but the enjoyment of the image is in the art, not so much the realism, at least for me.

Tue September 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm

"First Blush"
Pathetic. What Oak, or whatever that tree is, looks like that. Good attempt at a survival statement, but pathetic.

Tue September 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

"4th beats 2nd"
I like the current version (4th) better, it beast the 2nd one.

Tue September 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I really like the realistic colors in the fourth one, but version 2 remains my favorite.

Tue September 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm

"Last version"
At first I wasn't extremely excited about this work, but now with the great red-yellow-green hues of the tree, it rocks :-)

Tue September 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm

"Agreeing with Justin again"
I still really like 2 but 4 does grow on you and like he said it looks more real. When I first saw 2 I thought it looked a little unreal because of the solid red. I think you've won me over with the brighter colors, but I do also still like 2.

Tue September 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Justin B
"Alright, I'm torn."
I was sure that the 2nd one would be my pick, but the more I look at this one, the more I like it. It adds a touch of realism to it, in that it definitely feels like it's in the midst of changing, as opposed to being dead. Heh. I also think it still retains enough "pop" to hold true to the original idea. So I think that either 2 or 4 would be proper additions to the gallery.

Tue September 27, 2011 at 12:39 am

Actually the different variations look like the same scene over the time of foliage change. Awesome stuff, Ryan!

Tue September 27, 2011 at 12:08 am

firstblush3 looks the most realistic and is my favorite version.

Tue September 27, 2011 at 10:10 am

Mike K
My vote is Firstblush 3 and it is mainly because the variations of the color catches your eye alot easier then a simple 1 color scheme. Very nice :D

Tue September 27, 2011 at 10:02 am

The vari-colored tree takes the cake.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Chris B
"Slide show"
it's pretty cool if you put them in slide show V3 then 4 then 1 then 2

Mon September 26, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Chris B
"Listen to your mother! lol"
Version 2. I like the almost overemphasized flaming red color. But then I also like the subdued v1 because it is more natural. v4 is nice too, but I think i'll stick with v2 for now.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I'm still a bigger fan of the first one. It's more subdued and I don't feel it needs any extra emphasis. It's already red for goodness sake. Whichever one you decide on, I"m glad I have that one. :)

Mon September 26, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Brandi U.
"Second one is best."
As others have said, the second (and to a lesser degree, the first) versions seem to capture your original vision best. Versions 3 and 4 take away from the "flaming" effect of that first tree changing colors.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Mary H
"Last One"
i like them all but I think you have captured the best with the last one.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm


Mon September 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

"Second one is still the best"
Agree with Justin B that this one falls a little flat after looking at the second one.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Henry V.
"Feeling the same as Justin B."
Justin puts it right. The first two versions go with what I'm familiar with seeing here. Where you have one tree that changes colors quicker than the others. This one the subject does not stand out as much from the background.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Justin B
"I like them all, but..."
I don't feel like the most recent version fits with your original inspiration. Granted, only you know what you saw, but to me version 3 doesn't strike me as extraordinary. It's reminiscent of any ole woods this time of year. It's a gorgeous picture in it's own right, but it doesn't have the same feeling, or "pop", that the other versions have. The newest one, "eh, fall is coming". The original, "wow, look at that tree!"

Mon September 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Love the colors & really love the depth of the forest behind the foggy foreground. One of my favorites, very rich. Hope you are planning on doing a multi-screen render for this one :)

Mon September 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I just downloaded and voted for the 2nd version, and the third version just popped up. I like all THREE!

Mon September 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

"Very nice"
This is a lot better than the original. The fog is nice too.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I love the overall image, the colors, and the depth and serenity that the fog brings. Even without the fall tree this would be a lovely image. My one minor nitpick: the shape of the fall tree somehow seems unnatural to me, perhaps a bit to tall and slender? Just my opinion, though.

It reminds me of a scene I saw just yesterday that was the opposite of this: a mountain hillside covered in trees of crimson, orange and gold, and in the middle was a grove of green trees, like the last holdouts of a surrounded army.

Mon September 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

"So Beautiful"
Ryan this new render of first bush is so much better than the first one and is now a new favorite of mine. Thanks for the new version of this render, it's awesome!!! :-)

Mon September 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm

"Ze fog"
I love this image in it's concept, but I also don't like the way the fog looks. I think if it had more of that patchy, tendriled rising fog look it would help? But I look forward to autumn as being RID of horrible icky sticky humidity (which we've been drowning in here in the northeast for over a week). The general wash-out look fromthe fog just makes the scene look sticky and damp, rather than that exhilarating crisp fall damp that's gone by 9am I'm looking forward to =)

Of course since those on-off trees like this one start to change as early as July, I might be having wishful-thinking-syndrome that it's late October in that scene.

Beautiful work nontheless, but those are my thoughts on the Fog Debate ;)

Mon September 26, 2011 at 12:31 am

I've never liked fall, too much of a reminder that winter is coming. However, this really is lovely. Summer is still hanging around but the beauty of fall has come. The mist is a good touch as is brings to life the cold dew of the morning burning off as the sun rises. Your best fall picture ever!!

Mon September 26, 2011 at 12:02 am

"This is very pretty"
I like the way the red tree resembles a flame. :-)

Mon September 26, 2011 at 5:12 am

"First Blush"
Really like this, its always good to experiment with ideas, what might also look good is if you made everything black and white except for the orange tree...

Mon September 26, 2011 at 4:23 am

"First Blush"
Nice beginning of Autumn render! I like the second one better because the tree is brighter. I like that much of everything else is somewhat dark and mysterious.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Kick Back
I like the ganja looking plants. I highly doubt you intended them to look like that. But really cool looking plants. Well done.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm

"Barrel distortion"
A lot of your work has subtle but distracting barrel distortion, especially on multi-screens, but in this one in particular it is particularly distracting to me. This seems like something you could address in rendering by placing the camera much farther (by an order of magnitude) back and reducing the field of view. (I don't know if maybe this is something you've experimented with and rejected already.)

When I decide to use a heavily distorted image as my desktop, I correct it in Gimp, but I would rather you did it since you have the artist's eye.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm

"I like both. Simple question..."
Approximately what would be a time differential for you to put out a multi-display rendering of a work?

(FWIW - It's the multi-displays that really have me onboard.)

Enjoy the work very, very much. Only wish you had more 'planetary' renderings.


Sun September 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm

"I like the second version"
The red tree looked too dim in the first one. The second one matches the lighting better I think.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm

"original is better"
Both versions are good, but I prefer the original render. The bush looks more realistic in that one.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

"I like the fog as well"
I think the fog gives it an almost dreamy feel to it. Without the fog it'd be a more conventional picture, and I think weaker for it.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm

"Serene and beautiful!"
I love the "painting" feel this image has. I very strongly disagree with Samuel's comments below and agree with Sara's. I love the mystical feel of the mist, too, and I'm glad you left it in. :) Thank you for a lovely picture. It takes me away from the world for a moment, ahhhhhh.....

Sun September 25, 2011 at 12:15 am

"New Render"
I've added a new render this morning which brightens the red tree considerably and moves it a bit more front & center. I know a number of comments have asked about removing the fog, but it adds a sense of depth that I feel is missing without it. The original is still available here for comparison purposes.

Thanks for the feedback!

Sun September 25, 2011 at 10:59 am

"Like it but..."
I think it is a great idea, however, I feel like the upper part of the picture (especially on the right side) is too dark. I also think it would look better without the fog.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 8:28 am

"First Blush"
I like it!, just the brownish haze detracts from it!... the rather green looking plants on the ground between the yellow flowers looks almost like Cannabis at a quick glance! :)

Sun September 25, 2011 at 6:16 am

Usually I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell, but in this case I think this render has just the right amount. ;) @ Samir: Always happy to meet another SNL fan who fondly remembers that Christopher Walken/Blue Oyster Cult sketch.

Sun September 25, 2011 at 1:46 am

"Love it!"
I disagree with Samuel. I think the mist gives it a mystical appearance.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm

"Brilliant Idea, But..."
... Looks a little washed out, like there's too much white balance or something. The fog itself is perfectly fine, gives it a nice soft feel, but there needs to be a bit more contrast.

And if you really want some interesting views like this, check out places like Eagle's Peak on the western Wisconsin boarder... it'll blow your mind this time of year.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Brandi U.
"Love it!"
This looks fantastic on my monitor. The lighting is superb. Deep, dark forest behind one blazing red tree. Really like the play of light. The green foliage and yellow daises upfront is perfect and very photo realistic. All of it combines to really show off the red tree. Don't change a thing on this one.

I wonder if it looks too dark to some due to their monitor's gamma setting.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I like the trees, but the fog makes it look...nasty.

Just give us the forest! It would look gorgeous.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Jeff K
"First Blush"
What I find interesting is that this looks more like a painting whereas Elegy looked more photorealistic. I still like Elegy better.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm

I think with the dark forest background the red tree needs to be even brighter, and loose the fog also.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I agree with Chuck's earlier comment it's "Meh" and I'm not sure why either, I most always prefer your naturescapes, but somethings not quite right about this one.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm

"First Blush"
Wow! I can't exactly put my finger on what it is about this image that is so amazing. It has the feel of an oil painting, with the detail of a photograph. I don't know if it is the lighting or the subject matter, but I would say that this is the best image you have created to date. Can't wait for the widescreens.

You could do an interesting initial winter version of this scene by making all of the trees that are currently green appear in deep rich fall colors, and the current red tree being the first one to have lost all of it's leaves. You could continue this idea with "First Green" by having the blush tree with the first blossoms of spring and all the other trees bare, etc . . .

This has been a fantastic investment that has paid huge dividends. Keep up the great work!

Sat September 24, 2011 at 12:41 am

I love that you can go from something like String Theory to this. Definitely shows your wide range of abilities.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 11:47 am

"Great work."
Simplistic, highly detailed, colorful and elegant.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 11:46 am

"I really like it!"
I think it's a lovely addition.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

"Red Leaves"
Thanks, Ryan! This reminds me of the first red tree I saw about forty years ago, in Maine, after growing up in autumnally-incorrect California. However, when I look at First Blush on my monitor, the red leaves seem to be "buzzing," almost like a movement. I can feel my eyes constantly trying to focus.

Can it be tweaked?

Thanks for giving us so much beauty :)

Sat September 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

Max Power
"Thanks Ryan"
I'm a life time member and I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks. You work displayed on my desktop always gets me complements and I love the vast library of works. Keep up the good work and I bid you and your family God's peace.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 10:12 am

"needs just a bit more cowbell"
I like the idea of the contrast in tree colour, but think if you made the background more dense, it would bring out the red colour in the tree a lot more. Also more fog in the foreground but remove it from the top would also compliment this idea. It makes it slightly more spooky but this render is all about the colour.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 9:47 am

I like your nature wallpapers, but I'm a little indifferent about this one. Unfortunately I couldn't tell you why, it's just my thought.

Sat September 24, 2011 at 9:46 am

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