Arizona Sandstone

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


What was it like? It as like seeing a vision. The perfectly outlined rock with bounce light from the opposite cliff produced lines and colors that drew me in and absorbed me. This was on a ledge that was precarious to stand on, much less set up a tripod on. Fortunately I had all the time in the world because the light was unchanging.

Specific Feedback

I am interested in any other crops you think would work here. I shot a number of compositions but in the end have arrived at this one. Don’t know if that was a wise choice.

Technical Details

GFX 50R, 45-100mm, f/11, focus stacked, tripod


This is quite beautiful as it is Igor, I am certainly no expert so take what I say with a pinch of salt, but I would not be changing the cropping as I like the square format in this instance. The monochromatic colour palette, combined with the form and texture is quite unique and makes a very bold statement graphically…

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Wonderful!! Amazing tonalities and color – bold but not overdone. Bold lines and subtle textures mix so well. I appreciate the lead-in from the LL but I think you could have an alternative composition by cropping from the bottom about 1/3 of the way up. That would be a quieter, less dynamic image but I think I would spend more time exploring it. Its base would be the triangle formed by the two strong edges, which intrigues me.


Sublime Igor. The textures are magnificent. The x-shape grabs the eye initially, but it’s a treat to wander the details when viewing at full size.

I am partial to @Diane_Miller’s crop; I think it focuses on the most interesting part of the image. The difference is small though, so I would vote for whatever aspect would fit best where you hang the print.

The rich yellow is beautiful. I wondered what the effect would be if there was slightly more color variation in the yellow and played with that. The difference is subtle and it may be perfect for the recycling bin, but here’s what I came up with.

John, could you please tell me specifically what changes you made. I have worked with the yellows and oranges a great deal on this image and am constantly changing my mind.

I’m a bit hesitant about the crop because it’s a crop of a crop and I’m losing pixels.

Sure; I should have been more specific in my post. I converted the image to Lab Color, and then added a curve to the a Channel and a second to the b Channel:



The a Channel curve did more then I wanted to the magenta, so I used Blending Options for the Layer to restrict the affect.


For the b Channel, I didn’t think those bits of blue needed changing, so I restricted the change to the yellow portion of the curve.

Usually luminosity contrast is the heavy lifter, but at rare times I find with images strikingly one color that adding color contrast can add a slight interest and texture too. YMMV.

As for the crop, yours works very well; keep the pixels.

@John_Williams It looks like the main objective of your work was to lower the impact of the oranges. I worked on that as well in another version. I did it using the HSL tool. I think it gave very similar results.


@Diane_Miller I have a tendency to get to the meat of images such as this and crop agressively for a design. I did that as well with this subject resulting in the image below. However I usually end up backing off and showing the context of the subject by including more of its surroundings/ environment. And then I waver back and forth between design and context. Yesterday, at time of posting I was in the context mode.

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Interesting! Maybe allow a little more top and left…

When a photo is beautiful almost anyone solution is a good salution. The differences are often personal likings but the beauty does’t change. May be this is the reason that makes me like all the changes proposed. If it so why don’t take your personal solution?

Well, the light was magical. I immediately recognized this and was drawn to it. It was impossible to not get a good image from this. But then the task was how to put it into a frame. I think that’s a big part of the challenge of photography in general. I struggled with that because what I initialy saw was much farther and occupied a small section of vision. I don’t have a big telephoto lens. As I moved closer to shoot from a ledge that this was on the components changed in size in relation to one another. So I had to conjure up different compositions from what initially struck me. This is a common problem. Sometimes I get lucky and the new compositions are better than what I saw initially. It goes both ways.

I am partial to the crop that @Diane_Miller came up with as it forms a more balanced X pattern. This reminds me of an image you posted from Zion last year I think and the monotone of the yellows/oranges are very similar to that image which I loved. I also like what @John_Williams did to separate the slight variances of the oranges and yellows to create a more dynamic image. I very much like the image posted below where you have more pixels as I feel the obvious X pattern disappears and the balance is quite good if maybe slightly bottom heavy. The textures are simply sublime with an almost 3 dimensional look to this. Glad you made it out of there without having to call the tow truck.

That one was blue, wasn’t it? Funny thing was that I went into those canyons this year again and took some blue shots but they don’t register with me as much. I guess it’s sort of a - been there done that - sort of thing. It was dry this year.

It was called canyon glow. I just went and checked it out again. More orange red and more monotone than this current image but I remembered it when I saw this new image.

Oh, right. That was also one of those images illuminated by bounce light. It was shot in that canyon that you reach by driving south of Boulder, Utah. I wanted to visit it again this year but ran out of time. Thanks for bringing it up.

Igor: I’m late to this party but that means I’ve got to view all the variations and comments. A marvelous subject superbly composed, captured and presented. Bravo! >=))>

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One more. Thank you for your patience with this as I work it out. So far I like Diane’s crop the most.



A little bit late here, but wanted to chime in.

A beautiful and very vibrant image. Initially I was think that this was unlike most of your work in terms of vibrance. In general, my impression is that most often you temper your color/saturation favoring natural colors. So this one really sticks out - and in a positive way of course. And that is not to say that I think this is too saturated… it’s not especially given the natural conditions of bouncing canyon wall light, etc. But relative to most of your work it’s definitely on the bolder side.

You did specifically ask for crop alternatives. Personally, I like your initial crop as presented. I think an alternate crop would work to take this off the nearly 50/50 composition - ie. the foreground rock takes up about the same real estate as the background. NOT an issue for me, but seeking an alternate view. Then with the below crop, the small, dark pocket in the LL, and the brighter, curved edge in the UR are cropped out. Additionally, following John’s use of the LAB color and trying to separate the colors - I tried similar to help separate the foreground with the background rock. Your original already does that with the slightly darker orange in the foreground and lighter orange/yellow in the bg…

I’m not sure this is better, but certainly an alternate idea. Still kinda 50/50. I also slightly burned down the foreground rock to further separate the tones between fore and background

No matter how you slice it, this is a beautifully seen and captured image.

I like your crop very much. And I’m starting to change my mind about the orange. I think reducing might be a mistake.

@Lon_Overacker, @Diane_Miller, @John_Williams, @David_Haynes, @Bill_Fach, @Giuseppe_Guadagno, @Charles_Millen

Thank you for all your efforts to improve this image. They have been valuable, each in it’s own way. I think the best way to go is somewhere between Diane’s and Lon’s crops. It’s interesting how the crop suggestions got better and better as each incorporates what the previous person had done and improves it further.

The prints I have made have been rather disappointing as none of them capture the vitality of the image. They’re just chromatically loud and brash. I’m suspecting that it’s due to the printer’s limitation in the yellow range of the colorspace. I noticed that last year with the image @David_Haynes was talking about. The printer does an excellent job with greens but not so great with really warm hues. Epson Surecolor P800. It may be time to purchase the Canon printer cause this is frustrating.