Field of Folds

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


Taken from a pretty famous vantage point in Death Valley, the goal was to showcase all the layers, textures, and colors throughout the landscape Which I generally think was successful but I have some specific concerns listed below.

Specific Feedback

My concerns, in order are.

  1. The ridge that gets cut off to the left. It is like my mind is connecting it and I’m contemplating cropping to a 4x5 to remove the majority of it. (probably should have shifted my vantage just a hair to the left to include all of it or to the right to exclude more of it in the field.

  2. The magenta cast. I know magenta can stand out like a sore thumb and is one of the more often critiqued processing issues. My question here is, this image was taken right around sunrise (6 second exposure needed and even that was under exposed)…shouldn’t there naturally be a magenta cast at that time of the day…I tried to tame it without removing it. It showed up the most in the highlights so I tried to target those areas specifically without making them look too yellow or pushing the shadows too cyan.

Interested in these two points but obviously any others!

Technical Details

ISO 100 - f/16 - 6sec - 100mm


This is a great image David. The colors and lines stack up so nicely.

That doesn’t bug me at all. (All the ridges in the photo are cut off at the edge; it’s the nature of the beast here.

I don’t know what this looked like when you were there, but I’m not picking up anything concerning. I think it looks fine to my eye.

In the end, no nits; I think it looks great as is.


I have to echo John’s comments. It is fine as it is. Great photo none the less.

Nice! I like the colors, lines, and depth of field.

I think a more vertical crop might be interesting (like maybe the 4x5 you mention). I don’t know which ridge you don’t like, but I think the foreground ridge leading out of the frame detracts a bit from the line into the distance formed by the nearly vertical lines in the center that lead to the darker background.

Color looks good to me!

Very nice!! Colors and predawn light are wonderful – no issues there at all!! No nits with the composition / framing. I love that you have 3 reasonably distinct regions front to back. I like the front one best (or find it the most interesting and pleasant). Toward the top (1/4 or so) the color and contrast get stronger and that pulls my eye a bit. I wonder about taming that area a bit?

Beautiful. The cutoff ridges don’t bother me at all. The main foreground right that is cut off looks like it comes back into the frame toward the top. That gives the impression of a bowl holding the middle-ground ridges. My eye goes out left, then comes back in. The color looks fine to me. The only think I might suggest is to desaturate the strong blue tone in the far ULC to make it more consistent with the other blues.

I see only now this beautiful image. Your answers had alread skilled replies. I wouldn’t touch this splendid photo but I am wondering about editing another image cutting the background, a different image almost abstract, more creative. For me of course.

I think you did a remarkably good job with your framing and composition on this, David. I know exactly where this is and there are so many angles and ridge lines going in different directions that it makes it virtually impossible to not cut something off. With hat being said, the ULC does pull my eye but there may be a fix by just darkening that very ULC and removing some of the cyan and blues to match the hills to the right of it. The colors I think are spot on for the time of the day that this was shot. I have images that are much bluer than this from the same vantage point so this is what you get during blue hour and for some reason, in Death Valley, blue hour really makes itself known.
Those foreground ridges are beautiful and although my eye goes out of the scene on the left side, it comes right back in with that sweeping half bowl about 2/3 the way up the left side. Perfect! I think it was already mentioned but I would tone that blue down in the URC. Just that little wedge that hits the top of the frame as that pulls my eye a little but it also shows the colors of Death Valley so …It depends on what you want. Here is a very quick take on what I was thinking but this does remove some of the color that makes Death Valley so Special.

Thank you all for the thoughtful feedback.
@David_Haynes I think that is a good little adjustment, nothing major but pulls some of the attention away from the distant background a bit. @Bonnie_Lampley thank you for pointing this out as well.

@Diane_Miller Thank you, I’ve got a few images that focus more on the closer ridges as well that I enjoy. I’ve touched up a bit of that darker section with a little dodging to reduce some of that contrast.

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