A foggy winter morning

This photo was taken around Christmas last year outside of the family cabin. It was a cold morning, right before sunrise, and the entire area was covered in fog. I was really excited to go out and didn’t even wait to drink my morning coffee before I went outside. It wasn’t easy to find good compositions, but I liked the way the treetops were visible through the fog. Almost like an island.

Original version:

Reworked version:

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I’m really struggling with this one and I’m unsure if I’m going to keep editing it or move on. I liked it when I was shooting it, but now I’m finding it a bit uninteresting. Even so, it does illustrate a problem I am having:

White balance for a foggy, winter sunrise. This is a difficult one: I think it should be more magenta than blue since it was a sunrise. I don’t want it to be too colorful either (foggy day), but I don’t want it to be too gray.

Technical Details

100 mm, F4.5, 1/100s, ISO 250. Taken handheld since I didn’t bring a tripod.


Oh do I know your pain with editing and feeling like it’s not coming together. I’ve been doing that with a few from a recent trip and I’ve found a couple of things that work and you’ve done one of them by posting here. Feedback and reactions are so helpful.

For this image I think you have something visually very appealing. Fog is wonderful and the light is really soft and luminous. The feeling of a floating island is quite effective although I’m not sure you need quite so much space around the trees. My first try would be a top and left crop and see if that is more compelling. I think the level of saturation is good and the blacks aren’t too deep which is in keeping with the misty conditions.

1 Like

Hi Julie,
wow, this looks absolutely fantastic. I’m glad you skipped your morning coffee and got this shot.

I love the subtle color palette and the soft mood. If you asked me, I wouldn’t change anything.

But I know that struggle you described if you don’t know if your image is done. And that’s exactly why you’re here in the right place.
I often print out a picture and hang it on my magnetic board behind my desk. There I can look at it again and again.

1 Like

Hi Julie,

This is a difficult one as you say.

Maybe just leave it the way it is in terms of color, you have blue and magenta in it now.

The only thing I can think of is to maybe do the crop as suggested but also sharpen the trees that are poking through so clearly to add some definition there (and to show off the snow a bit more), lower the brightness and bump the contrast up like the example below?

It’s not an answer nor a solution, it’s really nothing more than a thought.

I always struggle with images that don’t quite convey the feeling I had when I took the shot. :frowning:


Julie, a beautiful soft image , come back to it in 2 weeks and see it with new eyes. Certainly consider crop from the bottom and that left side, sky could balance the bottom crop. Isolate the magenta and light it up a bit, would be my 2 cents. Lots to play with, I’d make a couple images and compare the moods. Just a magic image for me, transporting.

1 Like


Simply gorgeous. Outstanding processing. I think you’ve tempered well because it would be too easy to take the sky colors to far and take away from the foggy mood.

We should all be so lucky to have such a view outside of our cabin, home or tents in the wilderness.

No suggestions. Just enjoyment.


1 Like

@Kris_Smith @Jens_Ober @Merv @Stephen_Stanton @Lon_Overacker Thanks for the encouraging words!

I’ll certainly take the advice to let it sit for a few weeks before I look at it again. I did, however, do some minor tweaks like some of you suggested (shown in the first post): cropping the left and bottom, sharpened and darkened the trees slightly and lightened the magenta tones in the bottom (I might take it into photoshop next time to do a more precise change). I did not increase the contrast because it will increase the blue color and overall saturation too much. It was a super foggy day with only subtle colors and I want to keep that atmosphere.

I’m starting to love this area more and more. There’s no alpine peaks or long fjords like in the west, but it has its own charm. and a couple of tall mountains And it’s fun to explore and find new compositions.

This is gorgeous Julie. I love your edit, and my only thought would be to kill the contrast of the trees touching the right edge so that they look similar to the trees on the left edge. I played with that in Photoshop, and although I know it is a bit of guise compared to the actual scene, I like the symmetry it brings.