Autumn Color, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

This series of photos were taken hand held, something I rarely do. This photo trip was a first in 20 years. My wife Maggie asked to come along, and I said yes. I know very few photographers who enjoy photography with significant others…somehow it breaks the magic container of being in the “zone”. Having her along did make it more difficult to get in the zone. It wasn’t horrible, just different. But I digress. No tripod for these photos because we went on a hike together and I’m long past the day when I shlep all my photo equipment on a long hike.

Specific Feedback Requested

First, I would love to know which of these formats you prefer. Second, what about the saturation? Enough, or too much? I ended up decreasing the saturation in the Raw processor.

Technical Details

Handheld, all taken at ISO 800 to allow a faster shutter speed. Noise reduction in Topaz Denoise.


1 Like

Hi Tony, I love the variety of colors in all three images and the saturation on them look good to me. I like the third image the most with the vertical a close second.
Some of the pine trees in the second and third images look a little too dark and are distracting, I would lighten them up a bit, otherwise I think these look great!

Tony, these are fantastic. I like the reduced colors. I prefer two and three. I agree with @Glenn_Tunaley that the pines in two could be lightened a bit. Very nice scenes. And handheld too. Well done.

Hey Tony, I really like all of these variations. Actually, I don’t think there’s anything missing from any of them, but what I wanted to comment on was the use of light and brightness in them. The eye is naturally drawn to the brightest part of the photo so the photos with the top portion highlighted in the mountains, my eye goes directly to that part instead of the trees. So if those I would suggest reducing the highlights in the mountain portion and increasing the shadows in the trees to make the trees the bride us apart so that’s where my eyes go. Again, love all the variations of the photos that was just my only comment.

Tony, love this series. I was just in those mountains 2 weeks ago, a little before the best color. I like the 3rd best as it simplifies the composition highlighting the verticals.

I find the third most compelling. The contrast between the trees and the background is the most pleasing in this version to my eye.

Love that third one Tony. I agree with @David_Johnston about the light in the verticals.

The third crop totally does it for me. :+1:

Hi Tony,

I’ve been wondering how your trip to CO went! Glad to see you posting an image from the trip - and I hope there are more!

Fabulous series. Ya know, there’s just something different about the aspens in CO/UT that we just don’t have here in the Eastern Sierra… oh well, still beautiful no matter where.

I think you were blessed with and took advantage of the diffused light; it really makes the colors stand out beautifully.

#3 is the clear winner for me. Not only the compact view, but the luminosity is beautiful in this one. And I think you found a wonderful scene with the break in the trunks revealing the red rock of the are. This one is gorgeous. Only feedback has been mentioned and that might be to raise the darkness of the pines right and left. But that’s minor.

I like the format of #1. The first thing that draws my eye on this was is the dark patch of pines on the top edge. Not quite sure what can be done. Cropping cuts in to aspen grove on the top of the ridge. I could also see raising the luminosity of the aspens - ideally to what you have in #1023-ice

I like the horizontal format in #3. The same as #2, i could see raising the luminosity of the aspens. I like the inclusion of the ridge-top grove in the distance. Only wish it wasn’t so tight and slightly cut off up top.

Just a couple tweaks on the first 2 and minor tweak on #3. You’ve got some winners here!

Welcome back!


ps. meant to mention for future posts. You can always add the images in the original post. That way viewers can just click to scroll through without having to close and go to the next message in the thread. Hope that makes sense.

Thanks for the comments. They were much appreciated. @John_Williams @Lon_Overacker @Mario_Cornacchione @Glenn_Tunaley @Chris_Rusnak

This one is super easy for me Tony. The third is by far the best of the three. Not that the other two are bad but the third image hits the sweet spot in every conceivable way. The original post is my least favorite and I believe it’s because of the dark patch of trees intruding into the scene at the top center making it VERY distracting. The background hill doesn’t do much for the image or me so I think that the two landscape images tell a better story and eliminate distractions better. In the second image the curving row of aspen and the dark ULC feel slightly off to me compared to the tight and well composed third image. The only nit I have is that the red rock seems to have a bit of purple hue to it. Otherwise, This is a great series of images where number three clearly shines above the rest. Great trip, Tony!