Baring Falls

This is my 1st post. Any feedback is more than welcome, but I have listed a few items in the questions below.

This is from a trip to Glacier National Park last summer. We had just gotten there that day and were going for a short late day hike around St Mary Lake. We came to Baring Falls when there was some interesting light sweeping over some of the trees. I only had about 20 minutes until this light passed. I experimented with a number of compositions farther from the falls, but finally worked my way up to right across from them for the foreground element of the fallen tree. When I reviewed all of the photos, I liked many of the others, but I kept coming back to this one with the tree. I could share some less processed views of some of the other compositions if people think it would help.

I have worked on this photo a few times and always come away not completely satisfied. My wife gives it a hearty “meh”, but we don’t usually agree on some of these photos. I am hoping to get a different perspective on how I might want to improve the photo.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

I am curious for general feedback on the composition and whether people feel that the water moves the views right out of the side of the frame. Also not sure if it is composed too tight on the top.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Straight out of the camera, this light on the trees gave it a very painterly feel to the photo. I tried to emphasize this with my processing. I am not sure if it is a little too much? Also, I have gone back and forth on the colors with this and have kept pulling back on the reds. I wonder if it should still be cooler?

Any pertinent technical details:

Focus stack of 2 images (foreground with tree plus one for the rest)
Canon 70d, Tokina 11-16mm
11 mm, ISO 400, f/5, 1/4 sec

Welcome to NPN Jason, this is a great first post. I think your processing on the light in the trees looks good, you get a nice warm, misty effect that looks very natural. I wouldn’t cool the spot-lit trees on the right, they should look like this. The whites in the water look pretty neutral, and I’m good with that, some folks might say the whites in the water should be cooler because they are in shadow, but my personal taste is to leave them neutral. If you were to cool down anything it might be some of the shadow areas on the left side of the scene. I would also try to bring out a little more of the aqua color in the water.

In terms of composition, yes I do think the water pulls your eyes out to the right, and away from all the good stuff going on in the left 2/3’s of the image. I can see why you composed it this way, because the light on the right trees is very nice, but it does pull my eye out of the frame. In terms of the top of the waterfall, I would like to see a little more above it, or conversely crop it tighter so the top of the falls goes away. As presented it just feels too tight to me.

In terms of cropping suggestions, I would play with a horizontal that crops the bottom and some on the right. I would crop the bottom near the shoreline, and crop the right just to the right of the third sunlit tree. I also see a very nice vertical image here, focused tightly on the falls and the smaller fallen tree. I know that eliminates the spot-lit trees, but I think it also would be a nice image in its own right.

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You, my friend are a very good photographer. It is so refreshing to see an image these days where the composition carries the image rather than the processing. This is well seen and masterfully put together.

I love almost every thing about the picture. From the fg log in the left whose texture is illuminated by that beautiful side light. To the dead branches in the waterfall that give us something to look at besides pure white as with virtually all waterfall images. The opposite bank has again a dead tree illuminated by descending light with a lighter area on the ground. It’s a fascinating image with so much to explore. We get so many waterfall images with rich saturated images that it’s refreshing to see an ‘old school’ image that is becoming a rarity.

My only critique, or suggestion would be to burn in those brighter rocks just above and to the left of the falls. Otherwise you have a first class image (sorry I don’t agree with your wife).

Oh, and by the way. Welcome!

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Welcome to NPN. What a great first post as already mentioned.

While this might not have that spectacular impression, but what it lacks in impact is made up by the story that you’ve told here. Those tree trunks are like daggers that have impaled themselves from above. Also, the I get the distinct impression and feeling of the movement of the wind created by the cascade - as the evergreens in the upper right seem to move, you can see and feel the mist blowing… I think you did great by including the main tree on the left (I’m assuming the one you are referring to.) This just tells a great nature story.

I also think your processing is excellent as well. Colors/sat look true to my eye. I actually don’t have any suggestions or nit picks.

Well done, and welcome!


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Thanks Ed; much appreciated. I was looking at it this afternoon and I think your suggestions about cropping in from the right and maybe from the bottom would help with the composition. The vertical is one I had not considered for this and might work well with some of my other compositions at this location that don’t have these trees. I think I will revisit those with these suggestions in mind.

Thank you @Igor_Doncov and @Lon_Overacker . I’m glad you enjoy the photo; hopefully future posts will live up to this praise. I really did get lucky with the light on this scene. I think I am going to have another go at reprocessing this and will definitely think about toning down those rocks a bit. I was composing so tight to the top of the falls given the bland sky behind it, so this might help set a little border at the top of the frame, and the tight cropping @Ed_McGuirk mentions.