All Along The Watchman

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


It was November of 2016 since we last visited Zion, so I’m like the last one to know the closed the bridge over the Virgin, where everyone used to get that iconic shot. Yes, the crowd there was always a problem, but now everyone just ambles up the river bed and gets in each other’s way. How about a pedestrian bridge, NPS? Anyway, relocating forced me to find a different and slightly more unique POV.

Technical Details

This is 6 exposures for focus-stacking, plus one for sky exposure-blending. Nikon D 850, 14mm Rokinon lens at F-8.


A powerful image IMHO. i like the way you draw the viewers eye through the image. The bright areas on the bushes in the foreground, the light on the mid ground rock and the rock faces/ rements of the light in the sky work one through the image, ignoting the chaos in th lower left hand corner. Alas, we have to make sacrifices from time to time in compositions due to the popularity of a location.

Well, without your accompanying comment I’d think that you were alone :wink:
I love the light in the image and the colors. The focus stack gives front-to-back sharpness and the sky is great.
I agree with @gDan52 that the LLC is a bit messy and pretty bright. I darkened the brighter branches there a bit, just a thought. Maybe you feel like the image is out of balance now, with the brighter parts all to the right.

Nice image, Michael. I like your wide angle approach here. Great color and light management too. I suggest lowering the opacity of your signature though as to me it is almost a distraction that makes me look at it rather than the image. The eye goes to the brightest object in the image. Great job of seeing here. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Lovely light at an iconic location. For me, the composition is problematic. The large bush in the foreground is too compelling and stops my eye from going into the rest of the photo. It’s almost like it divides the photo into two separate photos…the foreground, and a separate photo of the Watchman. It has almost become landscape photography gospel that there needs to be an interesting foreground, but I find that all too often the objects in the foreground seem to block up the photo. I would much prefer the photo with the bottom cropped off. This is obviously my totally subjective opinion, and probably a minority opinion as well.

Beautiful location and I do like the colours. The soft greens of the shrubs go together very well with the reds of the mountains. But I agree with @Tony_Siciliano about the composition. For me as well there is too much emphasis on the foreground. Because of the relatively large area it occupies, darkening the foreground will not solve this for me. Still I do like the mood the image conveys.

Hi Michael, it’s really a joy to behold the drama and serenity in this landscape you’ve captured. The way the warm glow of the sunset kisses the peaks creates a splendid contrast with the cooler tones in the shadows, which really pulls the viewer into the scene. Your choice to include the foreground elements gives a lovely depth to the composition, anchoring the eye before it wanders up to the majesty of the mountains.

Beautiful colors Michael!
I agree with others that the left foregeround is bit messy but overall I like that there’s the foreground elements.

Was this very recently captured?
I was just there for my first time ever and I think I missed sunset colors like this on Tuesday 12/26 when we arrived.
Did you walk along the Parus Trail, as there’s multiple pedestrian only bridges over Virgin river that give good views as well. I can see how the, now forbidden, Canyon Junction bridge used to be an excellent spot as you are bit higher than any of the pedestrian bridges or while standing on the river bed.

Hi, sorry for the late response. This was last November.

Thanks very much, Don!