Latourell Falls

Creating depth in a two-dimensional medium is always an interesting challenge, and I’d like your thoughts on this one. My goals were to draw the eye to the falls, and to emphasize the “misty” appearance the falls often have around here.

This is a blend of several raw photos for DOF, but I’ll post one of the jpegs the camera recorded below for comparison. I’m also interested if your initial impressions of the image change after viewing the camera’s interpretation.

Nikon D7100
Nikon 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 at 12 mm (18mm equiv.)
Blend of 1/15 at f/22 and ISO 800 with 1/6 at f/16 and ISO 100
I’ve cloned just a tad of vegetation that stood out against the waterfall

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Very nice composition! I like how the falls is nestled between the foreground and midground. All I have to say are nitpicks, really. I think you have the right idea with the fog. For my tastes it is just a little heavy handed at the moment and I would reduce it a bit primarily in the mid and foreground. I also think the foreground could be just a little less vibrant and luminous to avoid competing with the waterfall for attention.

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Beautiful. I think you definitely took it in the right direction, but I might back off the brightness of the yellow next to the falls (competes a bit) but otherwise, I really like the processing.

I kinda grin when someone mentions the lichens on the rock face. It is bright and it is yellow, but it’s hard to avoid or to subdue. I like it and find it to be more interesting than bare rock, but it’s probably because I’ve been going to this waterfall since I was a boy and am used to it.

I was at this spot one day when a photographer from California came up to get a shot. All he talked about was his displeasure in the lichen. He even asked me, during our conversation, if “They” ever clean it off. :smiley:

I may agree with @Harley_Goldman that it may be a bit too luminous, but it is what it is.

You said that you focus stacked this shot, and you mentioned trying to create depth. I find that a little softness in the background will help to separate the foreground from the background. I’m not sure that I see a benefit in doing it in this photo, especially if the second shot is representative of the focus that you had there. It looks great to me without the extra work.

I like the framing. I love the bleeding hearts.

Nice work @John_Williams

Impeccable composition, John and I think you succeeded in creating wonderful three dimensionality. Processing looks good but I agree with Harley that the lichen to the right of the falls seems a bit bright. I would burn it down a bit as I find it tends to hold my eye. Other than that I think this is a winner.

I think it worked really well, funny but to me the lichen looks subdued…
My only nit is that the water should be falling vertically so maybe a slight rotation?


Beautiful and dreamy image. Thank you for including one of the camera originals. And no, my impressions of the image didn’t change seeing the original. I think most of us know and understand simply having seen enough of our own RAW images… :roll_eyes::wink:

Regarding the lichen, my first impression was that I thought it was a tree and honestly the color looks blown out to me; so much so that most detail is lost and for me it does detract from the falls and the rest of the scene. Granted, it does help towards the dreamy look.

Having said that, I’ve never been to the Gorge or in any of these lush, green canyons, nor seen any lichen like that, so I have no personal reference to make a judgement on color, etc. Anyway, just my .02.

I think if you could retain the dreaminess and sill retain some detail in the lichen, that would be my suggestion.


Thank you for providing the original because it helps us understand the direction you are going with this image. I actually like the original quite a bit except for some color balance issues. I think that by making the background dreamier you lost the darkness in the cliffs that made the falls more distinct. I would also lighten up the shadows in the lower fg so that we can see some more texture. Provide more detail in fg and fade into the bg.

I witnessed the yellow lichen at Elowah Falls and found it very striking in person.

Great composition @John_Williams! I’ve been a fan of this particular falls for quite a few years and just started revisiting myself over the last year. I Really like what you’ve done with making sure to get that focus right in the foreground.

I agree with Dan Kearl and would probably tilt it just a bit to get it aligned vertically. The tree to the Right is a good reference point.

I like the effect you’re working on here, and have a suggestion. The idea of a foggy mist is great, but remember that it’s thicker the further away the subject is. You could paint out some of the mist/glow/orton from the foreground, to give it a more natural fall-off. Also, that will likely pull the veiwer’s eye through to the falls as that’s where the interesting light will be. One more thing, I really prefer the exposure level and brightness of the original. I think the glow is boosting your overall luminosity a bit for my taste.

And lastly, I love those pink flowers and the dark shadows up at the front of the image! Great little details!

Thanks all, for the feedback and suggestions! Great catch on the rotation @Dan_Kearl.

I’ll take this one and work on it a bit.