Final Alpine Rays



After many, many clear evening the weather forecast called for high clouds over the PNW. Seeing my opportunity I decided to climb a mountain (a mountain I attempted to summit three precious times in winter and spring but turned around due crappy trail conditions and or lack of mountaineering skills). Upon summiting, I was thrilled to finally reach the top and see clouds prepping to paint a beautiful vista!

This is a panorama of four images. I decided to crop it quite a bit because the sun and its rays created too many spots I could not edit out.

Specific Feedback Requested

How does the crop feel? Is there anything distracting?

Technical Details

Iso 200, 40mm, f/87, 1/200 sec

I like the subtlety and the implied grandeur of the location, but I can’t find an anchor, a problem I have with a lot of these kinds of shots. I’m sure it was overwhelming to be there, but I don’t get a sense of that unfortunately. My eyes want something to come to in the end of my viewing journey, but with this I just keep looking for it. Maybe that’s what you’re going for, but for me it just doesn’t grab my attention long. I like the layers in the background as the mountains recede and the colors look natural and soft. Tough to achieve with conditions like this.

1 Like


Gorgeous alpine sunset. Love the colors, the rays add so much and the vista - hard to match anywhere.

I see Kris’s point, at least as I think I undertand it, that there isn’t a reference - ie. foreground ledge or something to enhance the grand view impression; to that I’m not sure the blackness in the LR area is helping in that regard. But this in no way makes me feel this is any less beautiful.

I think to that point, and I know you’ve cropped from a pano already, but I think getting this back to a more narrow presentation by cropping both bottom and top, I think you get back some of that perspective. I think the more horizontal/pano format helps emphasize those “final rays” a bit and just feels more deserving than the square crop. Not sure if this makes any sense at all…


1 Like

When I look at this I feel like it’s supposed to be about the mountains, but what draws my eye the most visually is the sky. I would definitely start by cropping some of the sky out from the top. I think after that I would work on toning down the yellow band on the horizon a bit, then you could possibly accentuate the light rays and contrast ever so slightly below the horizon so that area of the scene draws the attention more. Looks like a very amazing place! These kinds of scenes aren’t easy to capture.

1 Like

Congrats on summiting! Looks like it gave you an amazing place to be; wish I’d been there for this.

For me, the focus is the stack of ridges just left of center; that section is wonderful. I played with this in Photoshop prior to reading the other comments, and interestingly came up with just about what has been suggested above:

1 Like

I completely agree with Eric with his assessment here - a crop would go a long way and perhaps then you could include more of the mountains (and a foreground) to provide context as @Kris_Smith suggested above.

Also I would use a lum mask to remove some of the magenta color cast caused by the sun flare.

1 Like

Lots of great suggestions here. The sky is indeed the story here. I really like your post as is.


1 Like

Thanks Kristen. I totally agree this could use a good single subject. I did try to find a good angle that a telephoto lens could isolate one prominent peak but summit did not offer too many options.

Thanks Eric! I narrower crop would do this photo good. Both removing some sky and dark bottom. I did try to accentuate the light rays a bit in photoshop but I am new at luminosity masks. I’ll play with masks some more.

John, that stack of mountains is the gem of this mountain range. One day, I’ll summit the tallest one, Mount Olympus. I probably won’t get a spectacular photo on that trip but not all trips are about photography. Sometimes it’s about the climb!

Matt, that lum mask technique is out of my editing skills for now. Do you know of a good tutorial which can help me with color lum mask and how to use it to remove unwanted color etc?

1 Like

How does this compare to the original post?


1 Like

It’s a little hard to tell with them in different posts, Ben. It’s totally fine to put this image into your original post and then edit the title with something like - + Re-work - so that we know you’ve made a change. Then the two photos can be displayed one after the other in the viewing panel. Make sense?

Thanks Kristen! I am still getting use to navigating using this thread.

1 Like

I use TK panel myself which makes it super easy. Without the panel it’s hard to point you in the right direction.

This gives you an idea.

Big fan of the crop here. Well done on listening to suggestions. The crop really eliminates a lot of negative space at the bottom of the frame and pairs a horizontal frame with the horizontal lines on the mountains.


I’m currently trying to learn Lumenzia but I’ll also check out TK panel. Thanks Matt!

1 Like

Right on - same ideas just a different panel!

1 Like

Hey Ben,
I find that in the original post there is a little bit too much dead space both in the sky and the mountains. I think the crop did an amazing job of getting the viewers attention more on the jagged mountain peaks. I think the repost is much better. There is still some magenta in the light rays but certainly not a deal breaker. Super congrats on the getting to the top of that mountain and witnessing this unfold in front of you. 4rth time was the charm.

1 Like