Foggy Morning, Portland Harbor

I happened to be in Portland, Maine in early December 2012. I started on a run and saw this image in the harbor. Ran back and got my camera & tripod to capture the scene before the fog lifted.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

Whether I could have better interpreted the etherial nature of the scene

Technical Details

Nikon D800E camera, 24-120 mm Nikon lens @ 58mm, ISO 100, f22 6 second exposure. Processed in Nik Silver Effex Pro


I’d have run back, too! The progression of darks to lights as you move front to back is very nice. Did you have more height in your tripod? Raising it even more would have given you some more separation between the two groups of posts. But if you didn’t, it still works. I would clone the two farthest posts on the left and maybe the tallest one in the farther grouping. Just for harmony’s sake. The mist and the general atmosphere is really nice - somber and a little mysterious.

Hello and welcome to NPN! I am a relative newbie and have found the critique feedback invaluable (both validating and instructive). Hope you find the same.

I find this very photo very compelling. I like that it could be anywhere in the world. Also, the triangular nature of the groupings of posts pointing in opposite directions is beautiful. Personally, I might try cropping off the top a bit to have equal space between posts and edges on top and bottom, but that may not be possible.


Welcome to NPN! Wow, what a grand entrance! This is a fantastic image! Belongs hanging in a show in a gallery!

This is just oozing with mood and atmosphere. And the mystery and story that lurks engages me - I’m wondering - was this an old pier? what were all these old pilings from? What are the stories in this harbour from yesteryear…

Processing, technically this is masterful. I don’t know what iterations you went thru, but I think any more contrast would kill the mist and atmosphere. I think you’ve nailed this. Print it!

Will look forward to more of this! And certainly your participation. Don’t be shy and please offer up your impressions on other images too. I know it’s a bit intimidating at first, but come on in, the waters fine…


An old pier in Portland harbor. Thanks for your input. Paul

Thanks, I truly appreciate our input. Paul Hetzel

Thank you for your input. Paul Hetzel

Thanks, I appreciate it. Paul

Congrats on the Editors Pick…very worthy!

Great image! I think you did a fantastic job of capturing this scene. It just grabs your attention and has a really artistic feel to it. If someone knew where this was, I think they would absolutely want this hanging on their wall. It evokes a feeling of mystery, but also calmness.
Well done!!

Thank you, Paul Hetzel

Hey! Really great shot here. I think you nailed the cropping and the composition. It’s very well balanced and allows the viewer to look over the entire photo without getting pulled in one specific direction or getting stuck. As far as the emotional feedback, it just has a very calming effect on me. I really enjoyed looking at it.

Thank you, I appreciate it. Paul

I don’t know if you saw this but Gao’s paintings came to mind when I saw this initially.

Thanks for this wonderful image, Paul. I ditto @Lon_Overacker’s remarks and look forward to enjoying more of your images.

Blissfully somber. The two groups of pilings seem to be in a longstanding quiet conversation . I wonder what their wharfs were. The two poles in the left distance seem to be onlookers to the conversation. I like the camera placement and the resulting proximity of the groups. Also makes the far right poles seem to be a part of the right wharf piling set.
Very effective choice of subdued grays. The vague, oddly-angled reflections of the near pilings add a quirky liveliness to the foreground.

I’ve gotten way behind here and will never catch up, but had to add my praise to this – it’s wonderful, with great tonalities and a perfect choice of SS to enhance the mystery. It definitely engages me emotionally, to wonder about the ghosts of the past, and feel they are still lingering there! Very well done and a well-deserved EP!

I really appreciate your comments. Paul

Thank you for your kind comments. Paul