Cracked and Cratered (additional compositions)

Larger patch that I was working with

Here are a couple of additional compositions:

An other from my fall colors trip a couple of weeks ago. I was walking a dry creek bed when I came across this cracked mud, bent, curled and cratered with numerous divots from a recent rain while the mud was still amenable. I don’t recall ever seeing this before in dried and cracked mud. The mud patterns went for several yards and because it was early morning before the sun had come up, there was a cement gray/blue tint to the shiny surface. Under that surface it was generally light brown. Because the mud was curving, it was catching soft light creating light and shadow areas on the mud surface. I’ve posted a much larger piece of the mud structure so you can see what I was working with. I found it difficult to compose an image with lines going every which way but I eventually settled on posting this one for, lack of a better word, balance.
Lon or David, feel free to move this to the landscape gallery if this doesn’t belong here. These are pretty identifiable as mud cracks.

Specific Feedback Requested

Does the composition work with all of the lines entering and exiting the scene?
Anything that bothers you or catches your eye.
Probably best to look at this one large so you can see the little rain drop craters.

Technical Details

Z7ii, 24-70mm lens @39mm, ISO 125, f/16, 1/250, hand held w/polarizer, manual exposure


These are both awesome! Top image is so clean and I like the cooler white balance. Nice work David!

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Wow. These are amazing David. At first glance the top image looked industrial with that colour.
I like that first image best, partly because it does create that wonder-what-it-is effect, but also because it is so clean and fresh.
I guess the only thing I can add is that the lower right corner draws my attention away from the most interesting areas a bit. Maybe a wee bit less of a crop on the lower edge might help with that. Maybe. Cheers.

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Amazing and wonderful!!! The little raindrop craters are so perfectly formed, and with just the right distribution! This must be a very rare find and you made a wonderful image from it. There must be many compositions in there and I don’t think I could fault any of them.

David, I love these images! The cool blue tones are great. The lines created by the mud tiles give the image a nice graphic quality to it. I love the minimalist quality of the first one. I would recommend giving that bottom corner just a bit more breathing room. The rain drops appear like small divets on the surface. Great work all around! And yes I would keep this in the abstract quality especially since the first one makes you do a double take at first glance.

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Hi David - I think your cropped composition works very nicely and I like the soft blue toning. The crack coming in at the lower right corner feels a bit tight but I do not think it is a big issue in terms of the overall impact of the photo. You could consider cloning out the tiny crack coming up from the lower right edge since it does catch my attention. Otherwise, this is wonderful!

A friend of mine who has a geology background told me that these divots are actually gas bubbles that have popped, not rain drops. When the mud is churning during a flash flood, a lot of gasses get trapped and then when they eventually rise to the surface, they leave these little patterns on the surface. This might not be the case here but I thought I would share based on what I have learned in sharing my own photos of similar divot patterns on mud.

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Hi David,
This is spectacular. It almost looked like metal with beads of water at first glance. I see why you chose the crop that you did–cleaner plates of mud, good distribution of bubbles. I played with other crops to get rid of the lower right crack that others mentioned, but it changes some aspect of three dimensionality. I wasn’t sure either whether it’s the wide crack in the lrc or the tiny one coming up from the bottom that’s grabbing the eye. If it’s the latter, it’s easily cloned out. If it’s the wide one, I think maybe it’s just part of the charm and surprises one gets while taking it all in (or at least I might tell myself that).

I wasn’t sure whether the light on scene enabled the clean, cool look or whether you did that in post, but it’s fabulous. I love it when surprise opportunities present themselves. Fall color? Not so much, but so much more.

Really nicely done.

Wow, such great comments and critiques @Glenn_Tunaley, @Phil_G, @Diane_Miller, @Alfredo_Mora, @Sarah_Marino, @Marylynne_Diggs. Thank you all so much. It sure seems like that LRC is drawing attention so I will see what I can do about lessening that effect and perhaps do a little cloning as both Sarah and Marylynne mentioned. This was super hard to compose a scene from, which is why I showed you the large section of tiles I was working with. These tiles went on and on in dizzying patterns and trying to make sense of it all was tough. If you see a crop from the larger section I posted please let me know. I have 10 other versions, 2 or 3 that I really like but not quite as much as the one posted. I may share one or two of those.
Alfredo, I’m glad that you think we should keep this in the Abstract gallery. I wasn’t so sure. Thanks
Sarah, I think you are right about the gas bubbles. It just makes sense because I was wondering how so many bubbles were produced in two or three small sections in the larger post. If you look closely at the larger image, there are several areas where there are tons of very small divots clustered together and the chance that rain did that seemed unlikely, so your story of the gas bubbles I believe is correct. Thanks very much Sarah for that information. I’ve never seen this before in such perfect little circles. I’ve seen this at Death Valley but not quite like this before.
Anyway, thanks again for all of your helpful comments and if you do see a crop that works, please let me know. In the mean time I’ll try and share a couple more that I liked and you can compare.
Oh, Marylynne, The light played a key factor in getting the cement blue like look but so did changing the white balance from about 5150 to 4800. Contrast and dehaze actually made the biggest difference.
PS I’ve added two additional images with different compositions.


Hey Doug,
The biggest problem with these images is…they are not mine! LOL Dang, I love these! I will agree with the one commenter that the lower right, being slightly darker, tends to draw the eye a little bit. Other than that, LOVE the shot!

This is beautiful David.
I love the composition on your cropped version.
Lovely colors and tones.

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When this came across my email I was like… oooooooh this is NICE.
I think you crushed it.
Top one is AMAZING.

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Thanks very much @John_Pedersen, @joaoquintela, @Matt_Payne for your kind comments. I’ve posted a couple of additional compositions because there were several that thought the LRC was a little bit cramped in the first post. Thanks again for taking the time to have a look.


100% LOVE this! All of it. What a fabulous nature story to start with and kudos to you for framing the original, but also crafting the crop. Love everything about this. No nits or suggestions. I love the pale blue color as well and don’t care what the original scene looked like - whether your close to what you saw, or have made the color what you want - doesn’t matter. Love it all.


Yes, I like this for the reasons already mentioned. But I do disagree about a crop at the LRC. I am curious what happens when a bit more is included both on the right and at the bottom. It would remove the ‘degeneracy’ of two lines meeting at the edge of the frame. And I do like the intermittent line on the right. Anyway, great as presented.

Thanks for your thoughts on this image @Lon_Overacker, @Igor_Hoveijn.
Lon, the blue color was greatly enhanced in post although the original had blue in it so that when dehaze and contrast were added, it enhanced the blue that was already there. I also cooled the temperature from 5150 to 4800. Not a huge difference but enough to make it more blue than a sort of cement silvery brown in the original. I’ll try and remember to post the original file when I get home tonight so you can see what I started with. Glad you like these. I was stunned when I came across them. I’ve never really seen anything like this before.
Igor, than k for the comment and suggestion. I’ll post a revision with your thoughts tonight or tomorrow. If I’m not mistaken, I believe I tried this but there was another line poking in but I’ll give another look see and see what I come up with. Good thought. Thanks again!

These are gorgeous!! The first one is my favorite. Nice job!

Love when I learn new things. Thank you for sharing the possible cause for the divots, Sarah!

Really nice mud, David. There are probably still a myriad of other possible crops within the larger patch. Really like the soft blue hues. Fantastic find!

I love how clean and metallic these feel. The first two are my favorites. I like how the first showcases the rain dimples, and the second shows more of the extensiveness of the subject matter.

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Hey Eric,
Glad you like these weird tiles. Thanks very much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.