A perfect curve

This is a simple shot from a few years ago of a dried lake bed that appeared only after years of drought. This curve was a beautiful, albeit short-lived subject that is now luckily under several feet of water.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

I am mostly wondering what peoples opinions are regarding cropping out the corner of sky are.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any other directions you would go with the color?

Any pertinent technical details: Just a single shot from a D810

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Hello Nathaniel - this is a beautiful shot. I personally would not crop out the sky as it adds an extra layer to the photo and makes it more special. A extra dimension as it were.

I think if you hadn’t cropped the peak on the left you would have a much larger section of black on the left and that would have been distracting. The crop seems to draw the eye along the curve to the hills on the center right. It’s all hard to tell without knowing the original shot looked like.

No comments on colour. Looks fine to me

What a great light you captured, @Nathaniel_Merz. The composition is really good with that curve and fog. I tried different potential cuts but it’s all very tricky. The best solution would be to cut only the sky but I think it’s hard to do that. If I have to choose I am for the cut at least of the brightest part of the sky, this would give much more power to the light in the foreground. Anyway it is a striking image for sure.

Absolutely stunning light! In terms of cropping, if you crop out the sky it will give the scene a sense of mystery which can not only look great but also make it more abstract. On the other hand, leaving it as it is gives it context of location which I think is also important. The colors are amazing and I think they really make the photo.

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I love the shades of gold in here. The light at the right upper hand corner doesn’t distract me. I’m not sure if you could have gotten more ground in the bottom of the photo looks like some nice texture in there. I think if there was more ground/earth maybe the crop would work but as is I think the mountain and river bring good balance.

Gorgeous! I was going to say exactly what Miguel said. Both the image as presented and cropping out the sky work extremely well. Cropping the sky very much changes the mood of the image. I prefer it cropped, but not by much. You cannot go wrong with either. My only suggest is to clone out the black dot in the river on the far shore, to the right of the sun reflection. Beautiful work!

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I love this image! I went back and forth on what to do. If it was mine, I would keep one crop just as it is and another more mysterious and abstract version that crops out the top 1/3rd. Both versions make compelling images. I think Miguel said it best, pretty much what I wanted to say.

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I wouldn’t change a thing. This is great.

@Nathaniel_Merz - What a great foreground element and amazing light!! I think that you’re onto something considering a crop. I’m not usually one to crop down but a 16:9 crop would make an amazing abstract pano. I cropped this one down to the corner of where the misty light enters the frame. This would make an incredible pano!!!


I’m with @Gary_Randall on this one - the whole photo is great, but I find the crop to be much more intriguing and mysterious.

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Fantastic atmosphere and composition. Both crops work but I think the 16:9 crop is stronger.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. It is interesting to see the division of opinions. I think I am leaning towards the 16:9 crop too. The wider scene was quite interesting too just a pity I never got a shot of it that I was satisfied with. Only got to try two times before this little stream disappeared again underwater and I with any luck I guess we won’t have a drought bad enough to see it again for awhile!

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Nathaniel, the curve and the glow are great. I like this a lot as presented. You could crop out the sky, to create a very different image that also would look good.