Hazy Glow

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is on of my favorite locations to photograph. There are several small water features that can be found when there has been some rain in the past. Very flat day in the winter without much color so I’ve added some haze and warmed up the image. Thoughts?

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.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I just enjoy trying to get better with moving water.

Technical Details

Sony A7rIII
Sony FE 16-35 F2.8
ISO 100
35MM F18
3.2 Sec


What I really like about this image is the colour palette and the subdued light that captures the seasonal feel and the time of day perfectly. But there is also a problem, which is something that I heard Eric Bennett comment on a number of times when he critiqued recently. You have the leading line of the creek, which draws my eye but it doesn’t take me anywhere. Where my eye ends up is looking at a grey mass in the background and then I’m not really sure where to go. I mean, I go up to the bright setting sun above but, sadly, it’s not lighting much of interest. The image as it is, really doesn’t feel strong enough to hold my attention, if you see my meaning. I hope this is helpful.


My first impression was one of pretty much chaos; lots of messy brush, sticks, etc. But as we’re hoping more of us do this more, I spent a bit more time engaged in the scene and it became more clear and organized to me. The brush and trees throughout the upper third of the image are still quite chaotic with a lot going on, but it turns out that it is the water (and it’s treatment) flowing through the scene that brings this all together. AND the presence of the sun and the soft light are also pluses in the scene.

And I would say you’ve succeeded quite well with the water. The longer exposure has created a soft and lovely glow/reflections. And the path of the water, does draw me in to the scene, leading to the sun, at least for me.

I don’t know if this was intentional, or is just how the light and colors ended up, but something I notice is the pool of water at the bottom is much cooler in tone that the rest of the water. I mention because I like the warm/cool combination of tones giving this another dimension.

Order from chaos as is said many times here. And I think you’ve accomplished that. Thanks for sharing.


1 Like

Awesome critique. I do see the meaning as true creek just wanders off into nowhere. A basic composition issue that I totally failed to see….when shooting AND when editing. This level of critique is so valuable and shows the value of this site.
Thanks again!!!

Thank you much sir. I had no edit on the lower pool of water…however I did not have the CPL on so that could have made a difference for the better. I do however think that the critique from Kerry Gordon really pointed the loss in the image. It’s an ok image…but as the lines lead no where there is nothing to keep our attention!. Thanks so much for the advice.

Hi John -
Welcome to NPN! Great to see you posting images here.
I bet this area is a dream to photograph - so keep doing it!
My impressions are that your global white balance adjustment doesn’t quite work - I think you could be better off using some selective white balance adjustments instead. My eye goes right to that sunny bright area but I don’t feel like it has a lot to hold my attention. The bottom left third is super empty (except for your watermark, which I think you can safely not use on NPN as it creates a big distraction especially for critiques).
I like the way you handled the cluttered trees having them provide framing around the river section. I can see myself walking this creek and walking over to the boulder on the left center and looking up stream to my right and trying to compose in there - seems like a lot of visual interest in there.


Thank you so much for the critique. The area you suggested was pretty still water and my intention was moving water. However, that is in itself a problem. How I see it as a problem is that I focused so hard on the moving water that I may have disregarded/not seen that there could have been a better image 10 feet away. Mental note: stop, look around and don’t be so pinpointed with my efforts. During my next trip to that area I will see what other composition I can find. Looking forward to it. The watermark became part of my post processing as I would watermark only edits that are potential for sharing in social media or adding to a portfolio one day. But great suggestion. My observation with the few submissions I have had into NPN are that “I” learn more when there is specific things that can be proved upon in my images…and the NPN community is great to provide the honest feedback. Great site!!!


I love this image and it’s an excellent first image. The light is superb here. This has 19th century Romanticism written all over it. The idea that the natural world has a quality beyond our ordinary senses and the emotion you get is a longing for this almost unattainable world. Nature as an idealization. Nature as chaotic, uncontrolled and having its own soul. It’s an uplifting image with a tinge of sadness.

Thank you sir