A found scene at the base of my favorite wall in the Merced River canyon. The Ferguson fire raged through here this summer and so I’m curious to see the landscape in the canyon when I return in early November.

As always, any and all feedback welcome. I’m particularly looking to see how the color/saturation come across. Too much? The color is pretty rich naturally and I wanted to emphasize the contrast in warm and cool tones; the cool blue slate against the warm rusty tones.

Nikon D800E, Tamron 24-135mm @100mm f/14. 3-image focus stack.



Very nice composition, Lon. The 'dagger’s work really well against the more vertical pieces of slate.

I think the cyan could be reduced just a bit. Also, there is a bit of ‘stuff’ in the shadow to the right of the small rock near center. Minor, but it does catch my eye.

Does anyone else see the numeral “9” in the orange rock?

Real nice image, sir!

Lon, well named and an interesting find here. Always into nice geological finds such as this one. Gosh, I had to double check to make sure this was in the critique area…:thinking:
With that said I might bump the global sat/cont 1-4 points for another look or pop. But as Preston said drop the cyan slightly. Maybe using the very bottom a bit hidden cyan rock for that point of reference.
I do also see the 9 Preston mentions too…:sunglasses:

I love this as an abstract. Excellent shapes, textures and colors. Good eye @Lon_Overacker. :slight_smile:

Lon, what a wonderful abstract image. It’s not often that you see such a strong warm/cool contrast in nature that isn’t created by light. The colors in these rocks are amazing. your processing of the color/saturation here looks natural and very well done. The warm colors are about as rich and saturated as I would want to go. My preference would be to increase the blue saturation a very small amount to add some more contrast. But I know you tend be a little more restrained with saturation, and I think the blue saturation works well as you have presented it.

I might consider a small crop from the bottom. I would like to see either more of less of the red rock in the center, it feels a bit cut off as presented. I think a crop about halfway through it would help.

Beautiful collection of rocks on a richly colored background. These rocks look familiar. I think I know where this image was taken. Some of the textures remind me of Anil Rao’s series of ‘Fractures’ images, although this is a less abstract composition.

All my suggestions are subjective. That is none really address ‘flaws’ but are just a different outlook. I would raise the overall brightness of the image without affecting the colors. The ‘daggers’ seem to have been processed to stand out from the remainder of the stones. I think that looks contrived. I would try to make them stand out without looking like they stand out by dropping their luminosity a bit. If there were no rocks below the daggers, if you had removed those rocks so that the daggers lay on the background then they would have looked right. But having less luminous rocks mixed in with more luminous ones doesn’t look right to my eye. I think the color cast in this image is wonderful. I think it’s the luminosity that gives some colors more prominence than others.

Another idea would be to bring up the brightness of the rocks surrounding the daggers. A small amount. I feel like I’m repeating myself.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

Lon, I decided to test your willingness to go outside the box. Heres a quick rework that changes comp and to a lesser degree…color. I just did a slight crop first, and an even slighter F Transform warp outward & upward. As is, love it. I don’t get the Cyan comments. Im in love with color! Pretty much everything you post Im in love with…Sometimes i wonder if you’re looking for new ideas…and heres one…

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This one really grabbed me with the interesting shapes and unusual collection of colours. The processing looks very natural to me, I quite like how the rust colours contrasts with the cyans. I wouldn’t suggest any changes at all.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions folks! Much appreciated.

@Preston_Birdwell and @Paul_Breitkreuz I do see a 9, but also now see a 3D version of 7! :wink: Good call on cleaning up the little stuff PB. If this ever sees print… :wink:

@Igor_Doncov thanks so much for the comments and details suggestions. Interesting, but I hadn’t considered processing separately the colors as far as bringing out more luminosity and separating that way. Would be a great candidate to use the b&w layer technique Preston posted recently.

@kane thanks also for taking the time to suggest some edits. Not sure how out of the box it is… :wink: but I like the changes a lot. The blue/cyan looks more natural here and of course color/sat is usually pretty subjective and open to interpretation. I did want to ask that in the future you drop a note to the OP if you’re going to copy and edit the image. Thanks!

I like the 3D look Lon. I love the mix of warm and cool tones and overall rich cool. I do see “9” as well.

I really don’t have anything to add because I really like it as is. I love looking at detailed images like this one!

This intimate landscape contains a lovely array of warm and cool tones plus some interesting shapes, Lon. I see the number 9 on the one orange toned rock. My only suggestion; and this is being super picky; would be to clone out the little bit of grass debris on the right center side of that large dagger shaped stone. Great eye to spot this.

Beautiful capture, Lon. After studying the image and reading the comments, my thoughts run toward a slight crop from the left and perhaps clean up some of the debris Preston mentioned, although it doesn’t bother me at all. As to color/saturation, I think this looks just fine. It appears fully yet realistically saturated IMHO. If you’re offering this for sale, I don’t see it being super successful by itself, but selling as a group of three similar images, all verticals, either framed separately or as a triptych, might be a more successful approach. All in all, I love the mix of colors and the vertical comp.

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Overall great image! I really like it. To me it’s all about the eye moving from the center rocks at the top, to the colorful rock at the bottom. The edges should help with that goal. I took a screen shot and did some quick darkening around the edges in Lightroom Mobile to help pull the eye in and then hopefully down. Plus a little tone work. It may be to much for you, but another option.


Looks good from here. Nice job seeing and executing.


Hi Lon! I really like the color contrast of this scene, especially when combined with all the great shapes. I think your color rendering is quite natural which is great. It doesn’t strike me as being too saturated at all. If anything, I wouldn’t mind darkening the midtones just a hair. When you do that, the saturation will go up so that could always be taken down to compensate. Great eye as always!

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Thanks for the additional comments folks! I really appreciate it!

@Dan_Ballard, I see where you were going with this and your re-work does well to focus the eye towards the bottom. I like the result, although personally I may have not gone as far with the darkening UL - but then I realize you’re working with a screen shot.


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