Desert scene and revision

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


The sun had just topped a mountain behind this area so that the scene was backlighted and the background was still in shadow. I liked the combination.

Specific Feedback

Any criticism will be welcome. Not much is happening in the left third of the image . When I tried cropping it out, though I lost some depth and I missed the context that area provided.

Technical Details

ISO 400, 135mm, f/22, 1/4 sec.

Nicely done, @Don_Peters . I think the overall composition is balanced with the bush on the left being nearer, Your BW treatment is nice as well and emphasizes the backlighting on the bushes. The rim lighting on the cactus is particularly nice. I like how the background falls off so it doesn’t distract from the subject. Deserts are wonderful places for all sorts of compositions. I wish I lived where they were more accessible to me.

Thanks for commenting, Robert. I never get tired of the desert’s beauty.

Beautiful image, Don. I love the backlighting and the lone cactus. I thought about your comment about the left third of the image, and I agree that that bush is an important element for providing depth and context. I did wonder how the image might look with a slightly tighter crop (maybe 5:7) removing just a bit of the left side of the image. You may have tried that already, but that was one thought that came to mind for me. That’s a pretty minor suggestion, though. This is a great image as is.

I really like what your doing in this photograph. It is very graphic in your use of contrasting light and shadow. But I have trouble with the bush on the left side. Is it a better photograph with that bush cropped out? I don’t think so (or at least, not radically). It does serve, as you say, to add a sense of depth. What I would be tempted to try would be to tone that bush way down (almost as shadow) and also add some blur. I wonder if that would better serve the image - the bush would then provide the sense of depth you’re after, while also acting as a frame, all without pulling my eye away from, what seems to me to be the focus of this image, namely the backlit cactus.

John, Kerry, thank you.

Kerry, I lowered the highlights on the bush a lot and I think it’s an improvement. I don’t think I’d be inclined to do more. I posted a revised version although not in the right place. Thanks for the suggestion.