Blue Basin Compare

I have been photographing most of May, so I hope to be able to get some more photos ready to post soon.

The photos are from Blue Basin, in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The weather forecast was for 80% cloud cover but it turned out to be 20%, much to my disappointment.

Specific Feedback Requested

I liked the perspective of the bottom photo but I am wondering if the differential lighting is too harsh. I appreciate any other comments about either image.

Technical Details

Canon R5

Top: 1/250, f/16 iso 250, 45mm
Bottom: 1/200, f/16, iso 200, 105mm

Hi Don - My personal preference is the light and color of the bottom image.


I like both images very much. My favorite is the bottom image and to answer your question, NO, not at all, is the “differential” lighting too harsh. In fact I love the mystery and the darker background. And the main light is not harsh and even though this appears like a mid-day lighting situation, there are no harsh shadows AND I think your exposure and processing are spot on - for both images.

While the comps are both pretty much the same, I prefer the bottom one. the first is pretty straight forward with a little gully to pull the eye in to the frame. But not much to anchor the scene. The same for the second one, but that differential lighting is what makes the second one stand out. Really enjoying that one!


Count me in as preferring the bottom one too. And not harsh at all. It has a sense of mystery to it that draws you in. Nice!

Thank you for your comments.

Hi Don.

I have photographed Blue Basin and it’s a challenging location in any light. You did well technically and your comp is good. There aren’t many obvious compositions there but it’s a good place to be creative. I like the light in the lower photo. I love that POV from the upper trail. I also like the color temp of this one as well. I like to process the photos from there a bit on the cool side to show the blue in the clay. I had to comment to let you know that you did a fine job at one of my favorite places to play.