Atmospheric ridge line - plus a re-work

This is shot from somewhere on the Icefields parkway in Alberta, Canada. I saw the storm clearing and pulled over to get my telephoto out.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements.

For me this scene was about the shapes of the ridge line combining with the atmosphere moving off the mountains. The light was dynamic but low key.

Any suggestions on composition and processing would be appreciated. I was in two minds about including the valley bottom in the frame as well as the darkness of the first ridge. I decided to keep both low key to give more weight to the clouds and refracted light.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

If you would like your image to be eligible for a feature on the NPN Instagram (@NaturePhotoNet), add the tag ‘ig’ and leave your Instagram username below.


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

I love the mood in this image Nate. This does a great job of show casing scale of the mountains in Alberta. I hope you don’t mind I took a crack at it and I tried to bring out a bit more detail in the clouds on the left while maintaining the haze.

I added a mids 2 mask to a curves adjustment and brought it down just slightly only in the top left. Also, I noticed a small dust spot in the trees in the middle that I cloned out.

My preference would be to crop the bottom including maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottom trees. If you decide to keep the valley bottom, it appears to need some counter clockwise rotation. I also wonder what this might look like in B/W.

1 Like


Not only the mood, but I love the graphics here. Those diagonals and layers are wonderful - only to be topped off by the mood and atmosphere the clouds/fog bring in.

I really like David’s processing edits. For me, I would definitely lose the valley floor as this is all about the lines, graphics and layers. The bottom really only provides context to location, but adds little else.

A great moment captured quite nicely.


A beautiful image and the mood is eye catching for me. I feel this image is about the ridge lines, and so I would crop out the river and try to pull more shading in the shadow.

The atmospherics and the graphic nature of the ridgelines steal the show here so I think a crop of the valley bottom would elevate them another notch. Glad you were able to pull over and capture this for the rest of us.

Beautiful atmospherics Nathan. Here’s another vote to crop away the river, cropping about halfway between the shoreline and the top of the lower ridge along the left edge. As others have mentioned the diagonals are so strong here that introducing the horizontal line of the river detracts from the diagonals above. I also like the softness of the clouds and foggy ridge-lines, and the relative sharpness of the river detracts from the softness above.

I also like the subtle hint of the ridge in the clouds in the ULC, it serves as a nice counterbalance to the 3 ridges on the right. I also think the foreground ridge is not too dark, I think you have processed for a nice progression in luminosity as the ridge recede.

Thanks @David_Nilsen I think it’s great that others have a crack at my images. I get value from learning about other artists approach and I’m sure that readers of the post value this as well .

Thanks for your comments @Jim_Gavin, @Lon_Overacker @Chris_Percival @Ed_Lowe and @Ed_McGuirk this community is great for helping me when I’ve lost a little perspective on an image.

I’ve taken your advice and copped the image to a 2:3 ratio and removed the valley floor You’re right that the crop does emphasise the ridge line.

1 Like

Nice job with the rework.