A Lost Lake

This past weekend I backpacked 31 miles mostly with the intent to get to this mountain basin that I’ve been eyeballing for 20+ years. I’ve never heard of another person going there. To make it more fun, I decided to climb to the 13,000 ft. peak above the lake for this perspective of the lake and another high 13,000+ ft. peak next to it. The light up there was pretty amazing, but quite fleeting thanks to the pervasive cloud cover; however, I was able to bring out some of the ambient glow on the peak and rocks well after sunset which was quite nice.

Specific Feedback Requested

I feel too attached to this image because of the effort that went into capturing it; however, I’d love to know what you think works and what could be improved.

Technical Details

ISO 100, f/14, 15s, 14mm


Hey Matt,

I can totally understand why you are emotionally invested in this! Oof, that’s a lot of hiking and elevation!

Viewing it large, the first I noticed was that the colors are muted and tonal, which is nice. They are not in your face bold or high contrast. The second thing I noticed was the rock point on the lower left, the brightness of it caught my eye more than perhaps I’d want in the image. It’s brighter than much of the rest of the scene and grabs attention. Perhaps darken it a bit and let the viewer slide in to the whole scene and bask in its beauty!

Well done!

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Thanks John that helps a lot!

Matt, wow what a view and awesome image! That is a long hike for sure but looks like it paid off. I agree with John on the small rock catching my eye in the lower left. From a tonality standpoint, I’d like to suggest bringing up the exposure a bit on the main peak stretching from the lovely lake . Perhaps burn the right side on the right edge of the mountain peak. This would help the peak stand out more and add some contrast. I really like the overlapping layers in the foreground. Nice depth to the image.

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Matt this image is stunning and I completely get why you would be greatly attached to this one. I get attached to some of my images and didn’t do 1/8 of the work you did. As @John_Pedersen mentioned, I like the muted colors too. The blues on the left side mountains adds so much dynamic power to this image. The pond of water in the basin just tops everything off. I can only image the feelings going through your entire body while standing there. It’s amazing for me to just look at it. The BL stone could be darkened, I guess. I see it as a continuation of the sun shinning on it and the other hill on the RS so these two lighter areas seems to be balanced out and blend in for me. Thanks so much for sharing this image. It’s one to be very proud of.

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Now that’s dedication, Matt. Forget the miles, the elevation gain must have been well over 6 or 7 thousand feet. I’m having trouble breathing just thinking about it. Add in the length of the hike and it’s no wonder that you have the feelings about this image that you do. I would title this image Max Effort, Conquest or First Eyes. Something that really gives this image meaning to the effort that had to be put into it.
Anyway, I agree with @Alfredo_Mora about dodging the light on that main mountain and burning the backside to make it stand out and be the main draw for this image. There is light but it’s just a little bit flat. I also agree with others that the little gray/white rock in the LL portion of the image right on the frame is an eye magnet. When viewed small, my eye also gets pulled by the crack running north to south along the LLC edge. I can see fall colors already appearing in the foliage at the northern tip of the lake. Since this is above tree line, it appears desolate and stark and the processing mirrors that feel. I wouldn’t change much about this other than making that right mountain pop just a little bit more.

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Thanks for the feedback, that really helps!

Thanks Donna! I appreciate your kind words a lot! I think these changes will help!

Cheers, this really helps David. I appreciate the thought you put into this!

What everyone else said! This is lovely, with the subdued color and soft light. That gray rock does really grab my eye, though. You could bring out some of the light on the face of the brown mountain, but I don’t think you should overdo it - the mood of this is so subtle.

It must have been rather dim - this is a 15s exposure. Did you have to scramble down from this mountain in dark? :open_mouth:

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Yep… that was fun! Thanks for checking it out and for your comment on how to improve it.

Matt, the dramatic, stark view, the muted tones and the threatening sky all fit together very well. My fix on the foreground leading line is some subtle mid-tone dodging of the darker parts of the rock face on the right, a slight burning of the sunlit rock edge and a bit of mid-tone burning around the lake. Since I had PS open, I thought I’d try my own advice to see how it works… result attached. :smile: This is a spectacular view, that’s a fine payoff for all of your hard work getting there.

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Thanks Mark! I appreciate you taking the time to do that. I amalgamated some of the advice from here and revised it. I’m pretty happy where it ended up thanks to everyone’s help.

Kudos to you for capturing a breathtaking and magnificent picture. I totally admire you for your determination to photograph this incredible landscape. I love the tones, especially the grey on the left side. The light is subtle which balances with the sky. Would love to see this on metal. Fantastic work.

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Thanks Mozzam! Appreciate your kind words!

Spectacular view. I like the composition of overlapping and converging triangles. I envy your youth and ability to perform such feats. My first impression was that the image was overly dark. I would make that bright rock at the very bottom to be of the same tonal value as the one it apparently is leaning against.

You are welcome. I just looked at your website. Your gallery is incredible, filled with magnificent photographs. I was drawn to the Fall collection captured in Colorado as I will be visiting in a few weeks with David Kingham and Jennifer Remwick. Can’t wait.
Your work is unique, I can see your passion and emotion. Its truly refreshing. Thank you. You have gained a fan.

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You’re going to have a great time with @David_Kingham and @Jennifer_Renwick - they are two of my favorite people and know their stuff! Appreciate your kindness - I’m glad you see my work as containing passion and emotion!

Hey Matt! Great photo and I liked reading the behind-the-scenes over on Vero!

I might have a small suggestion for this image, but I can’t tell if my eyes are playing tricks on me.

On the main mountain that is catching the light, it looks like there’s a halo around the top of the peek. It looks like a levels/curves layer got masked into the sky a bit and is interacting with the dark clouds just above the peak. I recommend going into your layers and checking to see if any of the layers around the peak are bleeding into the sky above. I’m sure you know this, but you can use the "" key in PS to see what you are masking or by pressing “ALT” on your layer to see your mask.

Like I said, to me, it looks like a brightness layer bled into the clouds, but I could be completely wrong! :grimacing:

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Probably! :slight_smile: I’ll have a look!