First New Zealand Sunset

Hi, First post and first sunset in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand! Was really lucky to have such a great mixture of clouds and light hitting the rocks in the foreground.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Does the composition flow? Shorter focal length to bring the BG closer to compress the shot more.

Any pertinent technical details:

Canon 5D Mk2 17-40L

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

This is a beautiful image and perspective from a place I would love to get to some day. I really like the choice of shutter speed to emphasize the texture differences between the foreground/midground rocks and the water/sky. Exposure looks dead on and very well balanced, as do the other technical challenges. There might be a very slight hot spot on that midground main rock that could be dialed back ever so slightly, but even that is a very minor issue…

Compositionally, the only thing that I would look to possibly improve would be a bit more balance from left to right. The two large rocks both being on the right side of the frame do make it feel a bit heavy on that side to my eye. Obviously those aren’t things we can change after shooting, but if you have some other compositions from that night where the elements in the foreground are shifted a bit it might be worth exploring those. Its often not possible to work a composition that way if elements outside the frame, or the angle of light at that time prevent it, but it is worth being aware of.

Really well done and a beautiful capture of stunning conditions.

My favorite parts of this image are the clouds, mountain, and water. The rocks of course take up most of the attention, and they seem to direct the eye between the two large boulders. My preference would be a composition that uses the rocks to frame or direct attention toward the rest of the photo. I am not a focal length blending guru, but this seems like a situation that it could help - the massive mountains look tiny due to the wide angle distortion and a focal length blend could help them feel closer to their size in real life.

Thanks, Art, your feedback is incredibly helpful. I do have other compositions so will take a look back those. I do remember on the day not finding it easy to achieve a good balance - sometimes you have to work with what you have though! But as you say, this is good to think of next time.

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Hi Brent, I’d never thought of focal length blending…what an amazing idea. Yes you’re right, before I’d even come to the location I’d seen other photos where the mountains always looked too far away and wanted to get away from this. Wish I’d thought of this before arriving! I do have some other compositions with a longer focal length which could help. I’ll get that up soon. The large boulders definitely dominate regardless, I could’ve drawn the eye better through depth using a path of boulders.

Nice perspective and beautiful light. I like how the small rocks curve to the farther rock, which I consider to be the point of focus in this image. I’m not that fond of the large fg rock. It feels cramped. As it stands, I would lift the shadow on that rock just a bit and greatly drop the highlights on the couple of small triangular rocks below it and extending into the frame. But the best would have been to step past this rock and do a ‘lead in’ composition. Basically, I feel the large rock blocks the view rather than adds to it. Don’t know if this makes sense.

Hi Igor, what you’ve said makes perfect sense - many thanks for your input. Unfortunately it sounds like the FG rock is too dominant to everyone’s taste which I can’t change now but will definitely think harder in the future.

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I’m glad you found it helpful Adrian. Great work!