First of all, when you have the chance to be critiqued by Sarah Marino, you take it!

I was excited when I came up to this spot. I had other plans for photographing this area, but as it often happens, that did not work out. People walking by looked at me strangely. The area around me was most people photograph, I ignored it and focused on this.

Specific Feedback Requested

Any helpful feedback is always welcome. I flipped the image, and I don’t know if the line going from edge to edge is a problem, but I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

Technical Details

1/100 sec at F/4, ISO 320

Nikon D810, Tamron 24-70 at 70mm

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Gorgeous colour palatte Martha. I’m not sure how much real estate you have to play with around this crop but a clockwise rotation might help with the line.

Thank you, Andre! The original photo is horizontal but flipped it vertical to change it a bit

Hi Martha –

Part of photographing intimate landscapes and abstracts is drawing curious looks from strangers for sure! Regarding your photo, I am assuming that you flipped this because you were thinking the flip would make it feel more abstract. Maybe it is because I have a sense of what I am looking at but I think the subject is too apparent for the flip to fully work. If this was my photo, I think I would keep it at a more natural orientation and think of it as a nice small scene instead of trying to add another element of abstraction.

If we talk about this as a small scene instead of an abstract, I think you could consider a bit of a crop. My husband, who is also a nature photographer, is very particular about how curving lines enter and exit a frame. In learning from him on this point, I often try not to have a curving line leaving a frame in a way that feels like it leads the viewer in a direction that is opposite of the flow of the rest of the scene or attracts attention because it is quite different from the rest of the scene. In this case, the curve leaving the bottom of your frame above is the most aggressive curve in that whole line through the frame. So, I think the curve of the main line coming into the scene and exiting the scene might feel more balanced if it was more neutral (not curving up and not curving down). By eliminating those curves on the edges, I think more attention can flow to the center of the frame. Otherwise, I think you did a nice job seeing this opportunity, framing it up, and processing it in a way that looks very nice.

Thank you for sharing this photo for my guest critique!

Thank you so much, @Sarah_Marino! That is extremely helpful, and yes, I flipped it to give it more of an abstract feel. I think I still struggle with the abstract concept vs. small scenes. @Matt_Payne recently shared an article on the subject, so I need to read up on it.

I did not know about curve lines and how they affect the image. I knew is good not to have lines going out or objects leading out of the image I will keep this information in mind when composing. This scene, by the way, is at Zion at the river bank. The lighter color textures are the mountain reflecting on the water. You can also see a tree reflection at the corner of the main curve in the middle, and I think the other reflections are clouds. I took this last year, so I don’t remember :slight_smile:

Thanks again for all that invaluable info and time


Hi Martha - I see abstracts as a continuum. Some subjects are totally abstract where you can’t discern the subject or scale at all. Other small scenes use abstract qualities, like lines or repeating shapes, to pull together a composition. For my own work, I don’t feel the need to work within any specific boundaries and I put my abstracts in with other small scenes in my galleries. Eric Bennett might have a good article on this topic, as well. If I can find it, I will share it here. I photographed a similar scene in Zion today myself. This park definitely has some of the very best reflected light scenes like this around.

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I can’t wait to see your images and yes, that article will be helpful. Thanks again :wink: