Labor of Luck - Mt Rainier

I feel like I got pretty lucky with this one! I am happy with the conditions and the composition. This is a single exposure.

I would be happy to hear any thoughts you have on it at all, but most of all I would like to know any thoughts on the postprocessing. I’ve hemmed and hawed a lot over saturation of the blue colors and the contrast of the lower half of the image.

Captured: September 2018
Camera: Nikon D610
Lens: Nikon 16-35 f/4
Settings: ISO125, 18mm, f/11, 1/4 sec


woah nilly. hell of a capture. processing looks well balanced here to me. curious what a b/w would look like here considering the contrasts. very cool


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Whoa this one sure is a memorable one!! Foreground is a bit dark on my phone but great work aside from that.

This is such an insane capture. The clouds did you an absolute solid.

Love this shot. The middle base of the mountain seems a tad bit dark but I think it helps put more of the spotlight on beautiful Mt. Rainier. Great job man!

Sometimes Nature gives you ethereal conditions that need little or no processing. I have a few photos of Mount Hood, my local mountain, where the peak is just showing through the clouds. A true moment in time captured. Beautiful work man!


So happy to see you here! This shot is killer and the fact that it’s a single shot is amazing. Perfect comp with enough breathing room for everything and I especially love the texture in the FG. Though I DO have some feedback to mention.

  • I feel like it needs a shift towards magenta and a reduction in saturation (for my taste). I did a quick mockup for you here so you can see where I, personally, would take it. I wasn’t careful so it’s kind of sloppy.

You can download the .tiff of it here:

This is just a curves layer set to color blend mode, select the green channel from the dropdown menu in the properties, pull that green curve down and adjust to tase with opacity. I also gave it a 25% reduction in saturation in saturation blend mode. I also added some clarity into the clouds via camera raw filter to help get some texture up there to help balance out the high frequency FG. It took 100% clarity at this size on a jpg to get that so just do it to taste in raw if you like it.

I also did a slight brightening of the MG mountains to help them stand out a little more (but not too much!) There’s detail in there but I was struggling more than I want to to see it.

  • Lastly, I’m not sure if it happened in post (my suspicion is that it did), but the ring of light surrounding the mountain just feels too… perfect. The cloud hole (heh heh) is the perfect shape of the mountain and the light of it is also the perfect shape of the mountain… which could kind of make sense but it’s enough to make me question the processing of it. So if that’s the case, maybe some softer edges of it to help blend it in a little more or if it’s nature some d/b work to help make it a less noticeable transition.


TJ, outstanding post-processing advice here, your suggestions provide a road map of how to take an already great image to another level, and realize it’s full potential.

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Brent, you had some amazing conditions here, and I think you have gotten great advice from TJ on processing. These conditions are so special, it’s worth investing time to get the most out of it that you can in post. What I really like here is your composition, you have included the perfect amount of foreground, and I love the symmetry going on in this image.

This is a really killer composition, and the conditions you had sure were sweet! I’m fine with your original processing, but I just wish the light was a bit more unified between the foreground and the mountain. By that I mean that I don’t really see any hint of the warm light reflecting off the mountain and into the foreground. Perhaps there is a way in photoshop to place a bit more emphasis on the foreground to help balance it even more. As Aaron mentioned, I would be curious about B&W as well because it would unify the photo a bit more. That being said, I’m more of a color photographer so I’m really digging the color you have captured here.

Thank you very much everyone!

While making this image, a couple of times I would make a luminosity mask (with the TK Panel) and would stop to admire the black and white treatment. This image can definitely work as bw, but like Ben, at this time I am pretty much a 100% color photographer so I kept going with that.

TJ - thanks so much for the detailed critique. I pretty much agree with all of it and will try and implement it today. I rarely get conditions this good so I want to make it just right.

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That’s some amazing light. I think TJ’s suggestions with the colours are spot on. Personally the foreground is the least appealing aspect of the composition and I would actually go much darker, emphasise the outline of the rocks and trees, and hiding the gritty dirt textures. This would also give a transition from dark to light.

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We all know timing is everything and clearly you have witnessed and captured a wonderful moment in time (as someone already said.)

Of course as a result of this moment, all the focus is on the mountain showing through the break in the clouds. With all that attention, processing and color becomes even more important. While I like where TJ was going with his good suggestions, IMHO, the color balance in general of the peak is a bit to purple, even in the rework. If it were mine I would go more towards either pinkish-pastel of alpen-glow, or since it looks like sun is still hitting the mountain, a warmer yellow/orange light. In any of the cases the color shift is slight and of course personal taste.

The overall suggestions of TJ are excellent dealing with the lake, lower section and clouds. I’m just torn about the color of the light hitting the mountain.

Clearly this one deserves special attention!


Any thoughts on this one? I definitely like it better. I added:

  • Magenta cast
  • Cloud clarity
  • Slightly brightened midground and darkened foreground
  • Slightly warmed up the peak away from purple
  • Dodge and burn work on clouds around peak


Much much better. There’s not much else I would change that’s not nitpicky. It feels much more cohesive now.

Really nice.
I think the color on the mountain was addressed.
I still might bring up the FG and the lake if possible.
Nice work, you have be there.

The last revision looks perfect :ok_hand:

Totally agree with TJ on this so I won’t add more. Just man, great image!!

Thanks all! I am thrilled to have received constructive feedback from such great photographers. I’m really happy with how this photo turned out.

Love the final revision Brent, what a stunning image! The color feels much more cohesive now, great suggestions from @TJ_Thorne as the color and the perfect shape of the cloudhole (heh) were the first things I noticed on the initial revision. I’m not sure if you brightened the midground or if that was just a product of desaturation, but I do like to explore that fog subtly playing off the layers in the valley - I would say as one last nitpicky suggestion that you could further darken the foremost layer of dirt/rock, and dodge up the fog along the layers of the midground a bit more, just to further draw the eye to the more appealing aspects of the scene.

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Thanks Alex, I appreciate the thoughtful comment. I am definitely open to nitpicking, especially from people whose processing is always so spot on. I can’t imagine the internal nitpicking that goes into yours :slight_smile:

KKY mentioned a dark to light transition as well so I tried burning the foreground just a bit and lightening the midground just a little bit. I think it’s better.

I’m always worried about dark images with fine dark details like this looking like garbage on other peoples’ screens. Hey, at least it’s good on mine.

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