Independence Sunset

It’s my understanding the landscape category is being a bit more lenient in the inclusion of human elements in an image. However, if the moderators feel this image should be in a different category, please feel free to move. The human elements are small but evident in the valley below and behind the Colorado National Monument. From this viewpoint, it’s almost impossible to avoid including them due to the city’s proximity to the Monument. The freestanding monoloth in the middle of the frame is Independence Monument, the last remaining remnant of the canyon wall between Wedding and Monument Canyons.

Just looking for feedback on this composition and the processing. I did use an HDR filter in a program I have called Perfect Effects 8. It offers several presets and allows total customization so you can dial compression, etc. way back. Usually it does a pretty decent job - just wondering what your thoughts are on this scene. I finished it up using Topaz Clarity.

I had let my NPN membership lapse, got the notice it was being revived, renewed, and am hopeful it can once again be my go-to community for thoughtful and helpful critiques and feedback so I can continue to improve.

Technicals: Canon 6d, 17-40 mm lens @ 22 mm
f10 -1/3, 1/30 second, ISO 100, tripod

Just a quick note that yes, this is completely acceptable in this category! The human element is so small that I wouldn’t even add the tag for that, just grand landscape would be fine.

The lighting looks very natural and well balanced Angela. I think you composition works well too. The foreground monolith works well as an anchor and lea in to the valley. Welcome back!

Angela, the processing of exposure and contrast here looks very natural, nice job. I like how you kept the shadow areas dark, and the exposure in the foreground is perfect. I also like how you processed the spotlighting on the buttes, it creates a lot of drama in the image. Your composition has a lot of elements in it, but to me they work well together and the image is nicely balanced.


Wonderful, grand landscape image. Great depth and the processing is spot on. Love that complimentary sky/clouds and the distant ridge is really what adds that depth. And the timing is awesome too how the light is just skipping off the foreground tower.

I got nothin’! No suggestions, wonderful as presented.


Welcome back, Angela!

This is very nice. I love the light on the near towers, along with the depth in the landscape. The image is nicely processed, and you handled the dynamic range quite well.

Really nice shot! One small thing I would consider would be making the foreground area look a little less busy. It is right at the point now where it looks fine, but if you went in and darkened (or removed in PS) some of the bright spots that catch the eye I think it would make the entire image feel a little more clean. It’s amazing how making some small little details less noticeable can help an image!

Dan Im curious as to what those spots are for you. I pretty much looked at this image and said to myself…Looks like an incredibly well done real life scene. I’ll assume Angela is going for a pure, realistic look with her selected time of day to shoot this scene with clean shadow to highlight transition.

Getting back to what you’re seeing Dan…I have a feeling I know what spots you are referring to… I see one or two that I would Content Aware away forever because they are tiny eye grabbers…and two slightly bigger spots that I would darken. Maybe Angela can pick them out? Then she can make the final decision as to if they stay or if they go…Great critique Dan.

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Ha, honestly I had to look pretty well to even notice human stuff. I like the simple look to this. The only thing I’d try is adding a vignette. Doesn’t appear to have one. Nice work.

Hello Angela. I like your composition, arrangement of the elements, and the light hitting the monuments. My only suggestion might be to move the midpoint in levels just a few places to slightly brighten the shadows.

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Hey Kane, yeah exactly! Always amazing when you clean up those “tiny eye grabbers” as you rightly call them. And yeah I think we are seeing the same bigger areas to just darken. Three main ones for me.