Crowned by the light

Hi everyone,

One of my favorite places in the Dolomites, a lonely corner of incredible beauty where you can find yourself immersed in the silence and purity of nature.

I would like to have your opinion on this shot that I made this summer in Italian Dolomites. What is your favorite photo of these two? I’m not sure about the cut. I find this rock on the left very invasive in the image. What do you think?

Thanks for your help



What technical feedback would you like if any?

Composition - Cutting

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any pertinent technical details:

I made a focus stacking (3 shots)

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Fantastic lighting. Colours and processing look spot on to me. You are right about how dominant that rock is and that is needs cropping. I think the crop doesn’t have to be as much as you have done. I prefer the bright ridge on the left not to be cut off, something like a 6th cropped seems to be right for me.


Totally agree with you Kah, I have to try your solution. Fortunately I made 3 different composition, I have to work on them because this place deserves a perfect image. Thank you for your advice

Honestly, the rock doesn’t bother me at all and I really enjoy the 2:3 cut. My eye is still drawn to the peak.

P.S. really nice sharpening and postprocessing overall!

I prefer the first photo because the left side helps to give a sense of depth. That being said, I think that it does compete for attention with the mountains in the background. I think you can maintain the sense of depth and reduce the competition with some dodging and burning. Look at how bright the sky is on the far left side, it’s that brightness set against the slanted rock on the left edge that draws attention, not the rock and bush itself. If you darken that portion of the sky to blend better with the sky more toward the middle, more emphasis is placed on the mountains. I would also suggest slightly burning down the rock on the left to take some attention away from it, and place more emphasis on the mountain.

Finish it off with a bit of dodging on the mountain and around the water, and you will place even more emphasis on the middle of the frame. With the subtle dodging and burning, you can maintain that very dynamic diagonal line leading in from the left and also the sense of depth that the foreground provides — all the while placing more emphasis on the mountain and reflection.

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I find the 1:1 cut is a good image because it brings more focus on the mountain. You’ve cropped both sides of the the mountain and now they appear bigger.

Having said that the vegetation on the left is very beautiful and it makes a great secondary focus of interest after the viewer has taken in the mountain. I actually find the plants more intrusive after they’ve been cropped because now you’re saying they’re not important. Previously they were a feature of the image.

After going back and forth I prefer the original. It’s just a more complex and engaging composition.

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Andrea, I strongly prefer the 2:3 version. I think including the rock and vegetation creates a more engaging composition. The 1:1 crop feels too tight to me and doesn’t tell as good a story about the alpine environment. By including all of what the original has on the left, I think you end up with a nicely balanced composition. I think Ben Horne’s specific comments on where to dodge and burn are right on the money, and would help direct the viewers eye to the more interesting parts of this image.

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Wonderful alpine image. The light on the rocky peaks is beautiful of course and I especially like how the shadow on the main peak has a curve to it, following the rocky ridge line. My own personal taste might find me warming up that light on the peaks just a smidge.

Some excellent thoughts from folks on the crop and original. I agree that the crop works best if the emphasis is on the light and peaks. The foreground bush and rock work to add depth and dimension to the scene. My own preference is for the crop. The reason is that if the bush had included either some special light, or some blossoms - something to make it more visual that just a bush, I would keep it, but since the main story is the light on the distant peaks, I think the crop works better.


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Hi Andrea,

Personally I like the 1:1 crop better.
In the 2:3, the left edge of the frame feels tense because of the darkness and the fact that the rock is only half there.
That said, it does give the scene depth but it is not well placed.

I have never been to the Dolomites. This looks like a beautiful location, but It looks like a difficult comp.
I feel like I want more content on the right and more of that wonderful light.
I feel like I want to walk down to the pond and make the near shore the foreground.


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I agree with KKY that some crop off the left would help, but not as much as you have in the 1:1 image. I think we need the left edge of that sunlight mt. and I think we need the vegetation. If we can lose some of the rock, but not most of it, that might be the sweet spot.

I’m looking forward to seeing your other captures of this location. It looks like a wonderful scene and excellent light.

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Hi everyone guys,

first of all I want to thank you for your precious advices. It means really a lot for me, to bring my photography and my personal view in another level and to grow up so thank you again.

I have a couple of different composition of this spot, so I’ve to work on them because, as you said, that rock is not a good choice but when I was on the field I was standing in a small space, using a wide angle, trying to took one single shot without a focal blending or similar technique.

Thank you again, I will upload more images of this place as soon as I can using this thread.


hi andrea,
first of all: congrats, this is a beautiful image. the light is extraordinary and your processing is spot on. i really appreciate the look you achieved.
regarding the crop: i definitely prefer the wider view of the 2:3 crop and by going the 1:1 way you’d be throwing away too much imho. that said, the rock IS very dominant and if it were my image i’d probably play around with @Ben_Horne’s suggestions. in addition to making the sky/rock go better together you could also try warming it up (or just the top) to make it go well with the mountains in the background (we know it’s in the shade, but so are the rocks on the right side and they are considerably warmer).
if those suggestions don’t make the image easy enough on the eyes i would suggest cropping slightly (say to a 5:7 ratio) or playing with some of the other comps you shot.

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@Joerg_Bonner your replay under my thread is so helpful to me. This is the kind of constructive contribution made of very sensible criticism that helps to grow from the photographic point of view . Thank you very much man.

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Hey Andrea!

I actually don’t mind the 2:3 as it adds a bit more depth having that boulder included on the left. Its also a nice complementing line coming in from that side for the line on the right side, which helps cradle the peaks. I don’t mind it being in there because its darker than everything else so its not jarring, however, maybe try warping it down a little so it isn’t quite so as tall as the peak? I think it would work nicely!

Your friend,

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Andrea, beautiful image. I prefer the original crop from the two shown .

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@Eric_Bennett thank you for your precious advices and your time under my thread.
Big thanks

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I would stick with the classic cut and add some more overall vibrance to the image it is looking a little muted.

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Beautiful shot, and I can see why it was a difficult choice. The more I look at it the more I think maybe something in between the two. On the right edge I might consider cloning a bit of cloud into that bright spot before I would consider cropping it, if that is something you are okay with.

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thank you everyone for precious advices gyus. I hope to get some free time to post- Processing the new perspectives of this place.