Ibex Blues with reposts

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


I decided to try out David 's Border templates, Thank You David Kingham. I happened to be contemplating this image at the time and thought I would get some feedback from NPN members.

The blowing sand and early blue hour light created a soft almost monochromatic atmosphere that I personally found captivating.

Specific Feedback

Cropping: as is or cut off the top of the dunes? Any other processing tips.

Technical Details

Canon R10, RF-S 18-150 lens
1/200 sec, f/8 ISO 2000 (up to gale force winds prevented using a tripod )
Topaz Denoise used in post processing.


The composition is fantastic, the lines lead the eye throughout the entire image. The blue tones really work wonderfully for this subject, and I actually really like the blue tones in the stones in the foreground. I am flip-flopping on whether to crop the top out or not. I like the peak of the sand dune as it helps complete the eye-line, but without the top, it becomes a bit more abstract. Either way it’s a great photo.

The blue hour tones on the dunes and background are interesting, effective, and unusual . Nicely done. I will have to check out David’s border templates. Where are they located? Thanks.

This is quite beautiful but whereas @Youssef_Ismail is flip-flopping on whether to crop the top or not, I feel like it is a far superior image with the top cropped out - it lets me settle into the image, giving the grasses my full attention along with the gentle zig-zagging lines in the background. Without the dark blue up top, it is like a stairway to mystery. Ultimately, the dark blue at the top pulls my eye and, in my mind, breaks up the cohesiveness of this very elegant image.


But don’t you thin the top band of blue mirrors and balances out the blue band of rocks in the bottom of the frame?

This is lovely. I’m with Kerry on the crop. Taking off the darker top gives this a much more graphic feel, with the zig-zag line of the dunes leading to the grasses:

I don’t think so, myself. When cropped the visual weight of the less detailed dunes balances the more detailed bottom with rocks and bushes. To my eye, that darker blue band at the top detracts from the visual rhythm of the image.

Not really because the bottom is already balanced or at least consistent with the background as it is (minus the dark blue). The problem with the dark blue is that it doesn’t really exist anywhere else in the picture (except in very small details in the foreground rocks, which isn’t a band like at the top) and so it has a lot of visual mass that creates an imbalance. If I did a crop I would probably also desaturate the very blue foreground rocks, at least a little bit because the dark blue is not, in my opinion, the essence of this picture. The essence to me are the small dark group of rocks in the foreground that lead to the three clumps of grass that, in turn lead to the the lovely upward sweeping curves of the sand. Again, this is my view, so you have to filter it through your intention.


I think your last word is what is crucial with this photo. Intent. What was Paul’s intent? If it was the foregrounded plants and rocks then the crop from the top makes sense as then the sand dune becomes the backdrop as it only has the zig-zagging line and not much else, leaving the eye focused on the foreground. elements. If, on the other hand, the intent was a photograph of the dune itself, then the blue band is important as it gives the dune a sense of place, and the foreground elements become supporting elements leading to the dune rather than the subject of the photograph. I see this as a photograph of the sand dune and so I think cropping off its top detracts from the scene.


This is gorgeous and carry’s so much mood and ambiance. My initial thought was that of a diarama - you know in a natural history museum… the foreground is real and staged and only missing a cougar, coyote and a mountain goat, and the background is a painting to complete the diarama.

The soft and beatiful light - and the “blue hour” are just sublime.

I think the optional crops with the above comments work for me too; this really has great potential for the 2 options. The only wish I have for the original, and it’s just borderline… is having just a skosh more canvas up top. But that’s very minor. I think Bonnie’s crop is beautiful as well, and leads to Youssef’s point, what were you trying to showcase? But really, no matter to me, it’s a beautiful image no matter how you slice it.

Love this!

When I first saw this I thought of the crop as well but decided against it. The dark blue does indeed pull your eye up there but that’s a good thing IMO. When cropped the dune doesn’t hold enough interest. I just prefer the added complexity of the uncropped. I would brighten up somewhat the cropped area to reduce its visual weight though. Do that instead of removal.

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I agree with @Igor_Doncov .

@Lon_Overacker , @Igor_Doncov , @Youssef_Ismail , @Kerry_Gordon , @Bonnie_Lampley , @Han_Schutten

First, thank you all for your valuable advice and critiques. I tried to do a repost, but the colors came out strange. Not sure what was going on with that.

This conversation has been enlightening given that I had passed over this image initially. As to what was my intention, that question has given me a lot to contemplate. I did not venture out to create this image. This image was given to me as I was trekking across the desert on my way to the dunes. I paused, looked up and the picture was there in front of me. In the end I personally like not cropping the top of the dune. Although cropping does create a pleasing, abstract image, I find it too confining. The line must be free to ascend revealing its conclusion at the crest of the dune. In the end to me it is the dune that is the point of interest.


No critique. Just stopping by to say that I like this image. Composition and color choices are appealing.

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This image has been floating round my mind for some time now. I think the crop depends on whether you wish to view it top down or bottom up. For me, as originally posted, the brightest is at the bottom and hence I look at it from the bottom up. If the top dark band is removed, I look at the top of the photo (brightest) and work down. Both versions are grand.

I love this photo. I am one of those that says leave the blue at the top. I like seeing the shape of the dune against the blue.

@Barbara_Djordjevic @Rob_Sykes

Thank you for the comments. This post has received more replies than I expected. valuable input from many top notch photographers for whom I have much respect.