Crockett Falls, Tennessee in Low Key

Original RAW image

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


I arrived at Crockett Falls, located at David Crockett State Parked to check out the park and falls. At that time the sun was illuminating the falls, however, the background remained in deep shadows due to a dense forest canopy. I shot 32 images a variety of shutter speeds / exposure time, with a CPL and a CPL / ND filter combinations. Since I was moving across Tennessee visiting Civil War battlefields, I could not wait for the sun to illuminate the background. While I could have shot the composition in color stacking different exposures, I wanted to edit into a low key image; inspired by a recent presentation of Cole Thompson at Lone Tree Photo Club.

Specific Feedback

Comments of the effect of highlighting the illuminated water on a dark background with subtle detail.

Technical Details

Exposure 2.0 sec f/11 ISO 64 24-120mm f/4 @ 35mm CPL with 6 stop ND filter.
Edited in PS, Nik Collection Silver Efex. and TK Actions.

1 Like

Your B&W presentation speaks to me. I like the dark moody parts with the contrasting brighter falls.

Comparing to your color version I would say that you did a very good job in post. Lowering the highlights/whites in the falls and bringing up the shadows to show detail in the BG. I also like how you darkened the LLC. Showing detail there would distract from the falls.

Very Nice!

I think the low key treatment works quite well. It helps keep the eye focused on the falls, the main subject, and creates some mystery as to what might be in the shadows. Well done.

I love the mystery and suspense in the processed B&W image. I think it would be interesting to keep the background and foreground relatively dark, but lighten them just enough to see more of the details…I think that would accentuate the falls rather than distracting from them. On my screen, the lower sixth of the image is almost completely black. I can see a minimal amount of details in the trees and would like to see at least that much detail in the foreground, along with a bit more in the trees. Either way, beautiful location and image in tough lighting.

1 Like

Paul, I gave your suggestion a look. Thanks for the suggestion.

I like this photo a lot. While the initial photo was very dramatic, I like the rework version better, showing more detail in the shadows. The shutter speed you chose gives just the right amount of detail in the water in my opinion. Well done

1 Like