After the decay

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


A roe deer is standing on a disused landing stage. Near the water, a few recreational buildings were set up in the past, but many aren’t in use anymore. The landing stage has been overtaken by brambles, alder, nettles and other vegetation. The roe was nibbling on leaves as I approached and turned its head when it noticed me. The animal tolerated me for several minutes and continued to eat, but disappeared as I unzipped my backpack to grip a longer lens.

Specific Feedback

Any feedback welcome.

Technical Details

Pentax K3 Mk. III, Sigma 2.8/17-70mm Contemporary @70mm, ISO800, f/8, 1/320s, tripod.
RAW conversion in DxO PL6, strong crop because of the distance and the relatively short lens. Small correction in the brightness curves and I darkened the outer part of the image a bit to give more attention to the roe deer.

Nice catch. Shows the environment nicely and as deer are pretty common, I don’t think that we necessarily need a closer look. I am distracted by what appears to be heavy vignetting though. It makes me think of your processing and not your photo or subject so maybe easing off would make things look more natural. The direct eye contact is great for immediacy and engagement - nice timing!

A nice image of this deer in environment, Han. I could have seen cropping a bit, but you’d lose a lot of the landing stage to keep proportions reasonable and I like the amount shone. I do agree with @Kris_Smith that the vignette looks a bit heavy handed.

Thank you for your comments, @Kris_Smith and @Dennis_Plank . It shows once more the value of this forum:
You both agree about the vignette. I think that I didn’t use it the last 10000 images or so that I made, but in this case the surroundings are such a mess that I darkened the vegetation a bit, to put more attention to the roe deer. I see that you don’t like it :slight_smile: . Although I think, that the vignette is not very strong (see attached image without), it appears to be heavy enough to
experience it as unnatural. Point taken.

Looking at your original, you have a pretty good natural vignette. The top definitely doesn’t need any more darkening and the foliage to the right and left of the deer is slightly darker than the brambles already. Maybe just bring those two areas down a tiny bit and I think you have the deer highlighted.