Infinite Clouds

Sandy Pond in Lincoln, Massachusetts is a great place to shoot closeup reflections of autumn trees in the pond with a telephoto lens, but usually not a good location for shots of the grand landscape. However, when I saw the amazing clouds on this morning, my eyes lit up, and I knew it just begged to be shot very wide.

Specific Feedback Requested

any critique or comments are welcome

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon 5D MK3, Canon 16-35mm, at 20 mm, ISO 100, 0.5 sec at f16


Beautiful cloudscape. The colors look a bit saturated for my tastes but otherwise looks great.

Top class Ed…no nits, and I like the concept for placing the trees and horizon on the top third, rather than the bottom third. Beautifully done
Balan Vinod

This is fantastic, Ed; it caught my eye immediately. Love the cloud reflections and the colors are pleasing. Well done.

Beautiful scene, Ed. I also like the horizon line in this position. Such still waters!

I think this is really lovely. That reflection is just awesome. I like everything about it except for one small little wide angle issue. The yellow tree on the left edge is suffering from a bit of wide angle tilt. I wanted to see if just a little warp with only that tree was possible. Here’s the result.

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Fine image. No need for an interesting foreground object; the clouds do it all.

Beautiful, Ed. I would love to see this printed huge and hanging on a wall. Very nicely seen and captured.

A beautiful fall image, Ed, and the array of mini clouds adds a lot to the structure of the image.

Sweet looking clouds, Ed! I love the way they fan out across the sky and the water of the pond. The surface of the water is so calm that it is like looking in a mirror. The reds and yellows of the autumn color on the shoreline contrast beautifully with the deep blues of the sky. Really wonderful job on this.

@linda_mellor @Harley_Goldman @Keith_Bauer @Ed_Lowe @Ronald_Murphy @terryb @Dennis_Plank @Mark_Muller @Balan_Vinod

Thanks you all for your comments, your feedback is very valuable to me.

This pond is 10 minutes from my house, and I have shot here many times. Repeated attempts taught me to place the horizon off-center like this, the 50/50 horizon just gets too static looking. I’ll admit that with the clouds I had on this morning, it was very tempting to show more of the sky. But there was no wind, the water was calm, and the reflection was perfect. I thought including more of the cloud reflections created a greater sense of depth, and the “infinite clouds” look that I was aiming for.

Keith thank you so much for taking the time to rework this. I have to confess that warping is something I have not delved into yet, but man that sure makes a very nice difference. If you have the time, would you mind providing a quick explanation of how you did this? I’m not looking for a full blown tutorial, rather just enough to get me pointed in the right direction for researching the technique further.

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Hi Ed: You’ll need a pixel layer of the edited image so either a Stamp Visible layer at the top, or a Smart Object Layer from all of the existing layers. If you use the Smart Object route Create a copy of the smart object layer. The advantage of the Smart Object technique is you can go back and re-edit the warp if you don’t like the result after you’ve committed it.

I use Cmd/Cntrl T to get to Free Transform, then right click in the image and select Warp as one of the transform options. You can go through the menus (Edit / Transform / Warp) to get directly to Warp, but I think this method is faster/easier.

Once in warp you’ll see blue dots at the edge of the frame. Those are handles that allow you to grab them and warp the image. It will of course, warp the entire image. I was just focusing on the tree trunk to work to get it vertical and of course the reflected part of it as well. Here’s a screen shot:

When you’re happy with the tree, then press the check mark on the options bar to commit the warp.
Add a black mask to the layer, then just paint in where you want the warp to be visible.

Here’s what my layer stack looked like.

I’m sure you’ll have it after a try or two. Pretty cool little tool to solve the inevitable wide angle issues at the edges with vertical lines.


Wow, thanks so much @Keith_Bauer that is super helpful, and you went well above and beyond the call of duty to go into this much detail. :+1: :+1:

Between this tutorial and the other one you did for Kris S. on PS layer stacks , you should consider copying and posting these in a processing techniques discussion or something so they would get more visibility than just being buried down in an individuals image critique. Both discussions were very interesting and helpful.


I agree, Ed. So helpful.

And this image. Well. It’s fantastic.

Ed, this is an awesome mirror like reflection, where the wide view is a perfect way to emphasize the sky and clouds.

Those are infinite clouds! Love the reflection. Really awesome composition!

@Mark_Seaver @Vanessa_Hill

Thanks for your comments, i appreciate them. The clouds created some very special conditions on that morning. Being close ot my house I have shot here many times over the years, and will continue to do so, but I know I’ll be hard pressed to see anything as good as this again, great clouds and calm water come together so rarely…

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Hello Ed, by now you have had so many wonderful and useful comments that I am at a loss what to add - except that the image is truly lovely.

I agree with Brenda that all has already been said but I felt like I had to tell what an amazing image this really is. TO get such still water to perfectly reflect the clouds above must have had you drooling with anticipation. Begged to be shot wide??? The understatement of the year. Incredible image Ed. @Keith_Bauer 's warping seminar fixed the only nit with this entire image. Thanks Keith for your photoshop class on this one. Incredible.


@brenda_tharp @David_Haynes

Thank you both for taking time to comment on my image, I’m glad that you enjoyed it so much. The Wind Gods are not usually on my side when it comes to reflections, but they cut me a break that morning.

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