Cubist mud tiles

Another mud tile image from my recent time in Death Valley. I was drawn to this one as it made me think of Cubist paintings.

Type of Critique Requested

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

Nothing in particular but any feedback welcome.

Technical Details


Hi Dean,
that’s again a beautiful abstract image. I love the way you composed the patterns in the frame.

When I thought about what I would change about the image, two things first came to my mind:

  1. Slightly darkening the lighter shadows to add some contrast
  2. Cooling down those shadows to increase the color contrast

But thinking about it further, I wouldn’t change anything about the image. I love how you worked with the complementary colors here. And the subtle shadows and soft shapes contrast beautifully with the edgy and dark joints (I really hope the term “joints” makes any sense in this context. Sorry for my bad English. :rofl: ).

When I see your picture, I want to leave for Death Valley immediately. Well done!

One more fantastic mud tile image! I think you have done a great job with the composition regarding the size of the tiles, how the cracks are arranged and that you have a clear diagonal in the image. I also like a lot the toned down colors and the play of light. For me, there is nothing to improve here. Great work, give us more!

Dean! Great shot. Love the abstract cubism look to these mud tiles. I think you’ve done a great job putting the composition together and working on this photo. For suggestions, I just wanted to echo what Jens has said. I think you could possibly pull more color contrast out in the shadows and highlights. Even if you didn’t want to, it’s still a great shot!

Another beauty, Dean. You just need to plop a Picasso eye into that dark area. :laughing:

Did you consider flipping this so the smaller bits are at the top? That might give it some upward energy. And maybe cooling it just a teeny bit? That would give it more color variation and make the warm tones pop more.

Wonderful!! Fantastic bold shapes set into the subtle colors and tonalities, with the small details holding their own so well! 11/10!

This is another excellent mud tile image, Dean. The colors, shapes and subtle light make this intimate landscape thoroughly engaging. I particularly like the textures in the dried mud. If you have another I am sure they would make a wonderful triptych. Beautifully done!


Wow, another fantastic image from DV. I’m with Jens - your images make me want to jump in the car and head to Death Valley (unfortunately right now travel in CA is pretty limited given all the snow covering MOST of the state!)

I loved the blue-hour colors in your previous image, but here I love the light and of course the tile patterns are wonderful. The uneven surface has created some very nice play with light and the subtle shadows.

Any comments or suggestions from here are merely alternate suggestions. Pretty dang hard to improve upon this. But if I were to, I think as has already been suggested you could bump up the contrast both in color and light/dark - trying to bring out the faint shadows a bit more. But we’re talking very small tweaks.

Bonnie mentioned flipping vertically. The great thing with these natural abstracts is that there is no correct way to present this - other than the person who captured the image has that personal knowledge as to how they orientated the frame when they captured the image. But how about a 90deg rotation? I’m not a fan of the taller format for many images, and the horizontal format has a more pastoral look than the vertical… Having said that, the vertical might have a more dynamic look, which might be a better fit. Who knows…

Love this image!


Thank you, @Jens_Ober, @Ola_Jovall, @David_Johnston, @Bonnie_Lampley, @Diane_Miller, @Ed_Lowe, and @Lon_Overacker. I’ll give the suggestions are go. I’m itching to get back to Death Valley, hoping I can figure out a way to make it an annual visit.

Just have to say, Dean, this is lovely! . . . as others have already said, really, for mud?? When I look at it, it reminds me of a stained glass window. Truly nicely seen and captured>.

We should all play in the mud more often. Looks like you had a very productive, and fun time with this. I like the very different colors and shapes presented in this one. The low side-light brought up so much detail. Nice series so far.

Excellent take from DV. I like creating in the mud cracks in the deserts as well. I pulled the image into PS and played with the orientation. I find I prefer @Bonnie_Lampley 's suggestion of a 180 flip. For my eye, I like the flow from bottom to top in that orientation. Excellent image.

Lines, shapes, positioning, textures, colours,… just great in all respects. My only suggestion would be to consider a ccr of 90 degrees. Just love it.

Thank you, @linda_mellor, @_Kris, @Harley_Goldman, and @Igor_Hoveijn. I’ll have to try out alternative orientations.

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Wowzer, Dean. I just commented on your most recent post as I’m working my way down the posts from the top. I really like this one. The side light is amazing. That one chocolate colored tile in the center is what really makes this scene for me. As others have already noted, you could orient this almost anyway you wanted and have a nice image. It looks like a roasted marshmallow to me with the colorings. You seriously have me wanting to leave right now and make the 4 hour drive to Death Valley. That’s how captivating these are. Well done, Dean.

Beautifully composed image. Well seen!

I really like the light in this image as it gives the mud an almost metallic look.

Thank you, @David_Haynes, @J_Fritz_Rumpf, and @Tom_Nevesely. This was taken right after golden hour ended.

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Can you take me with you? LOL

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