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Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


When I originally photographed this scene, one of the smaller cascades on the Subway “bottom up” hike along the Left Fork of North Creek, I didn’t envision it as a black and white. It was still fairly early in the morning and there was really nice light above the cascades along the canyon walls. But the more I worked with it in color, the more I realized that the real interest is in the hundreds of little streams trickling down, accented by larger streams flowing thru the center and also diagonally at upper left and lower right. It became a composition much more of curves, lines and balance. I think it therefore works much better simplified to high contrast black and white?

Additional backstory… I also did not envision when I was photographing this scene that it would be the last images I shot with the DSLR I was carrying at the time. Just a few minutes after shooting this, I went scrambling up the canyon wall a bit to find a higher vantage point. A bit of rock broke off under my feet and tumbled down a few feet, scraping up one shin and the opposite knee pretty good. The camera fared much worse, as I lost hold of it and it dropped 10-15 feet, severely damaging the 24-70 lens as well as the body.

It was the only “real” camera I carried that day, since I was more concerned about hiking in the water. For the rest of my hike to the Subway and back that day, I shot with “just” a Canon Powershot G7X. It’s not a bad little camera, but let’s face it, the Subway deserves more than a compact camera with a 1" sensor. Fortunately, I was at least able to use an undamaged part of my CPL filter by hand-holding it over the Canon’s lens element. Not ideal, but better than my smartphone (Galaxy S21 at the time) could do!

Technical Details

Nikon D780 w/ Nikon 24-70 f2.8 @ 56mm
1.0 Second @ f16, ISO 100; -1/3 EV

Critique Template

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  • Vision and Purpose:
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  • Depth and Dimension:
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1 Like

Here’s the best image I got of the Subway with the Canon PowerShot, holding a cracked CPL filter in front of the lens element. Better than nothing, but this is one destination I need to revisit (especially since that tree is now gone)!

Not looking for a critique on this… just adding a little color (maybe a little too much color - LOL) to the story.

Hey Kevin,

One suggestion I have for this image is to bring out the main subject. In my opinion, the subject is the more prominent falls curving through the image.

The luminosity of this main fall is the same as its surroundings, making it get lost within the image.

A way to fix this is to burn around this main fall in spots where the luminosity is the same as the fall. Check out the before and after in the video below.

@kevin_dobo that is quite a back story associated with this picture. The loss of charished equipment is a tradgety. It looks like your little Canon PoserShot came through for you. It was the only camera I took with me on my first trip to Africa. At that point I did have a Nikon, but did no want to risk haing it stolen. That little camera did a good job. Of course my next trip was an “upgrade” in equipment and lenses. I like what @Trevor_Vellinga did with the luminosity. It makes a big difference in the composition.

Hmm… this is really interesting! I had envisioned it as more of an abstract… the even lighting being more of a “tapestry” of the trickles of water. Bringing out the heavier flows of water at center and the two corners definitely shifts the interest towards the center. My concern here would be that the lighting on the rocks is even, and bringing up the luminosity on just those areas suggests there is dappled light just on the water, when there really isn’t. I will experiment a little… maybe something more subtle to strengthen the composition but not quite as extreme. On the other hand, my perspective is different from the viewer since I know what is in the original RAW file, so maybe I’m overthinking it?

Certainly worth exploring for sure!

What a nifty study in B&W texture. I really think it works. I like the suggested revision’s look too. Well done!