Little Isle

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


This is a final image of the same tarn as my two previous posts from a recent backpacking trip with @steve_kennedy and @james_lorentson, but this time focusing on just the tarn without the mountain backdrop.

Specific Feedback

For some reason the “grand” views feel easier to compose than smaller scenes for me. I know it’s challenging when you weren’t there to see the options, but I’d love any thoughts on composition. All thoughts and suggestions welcome.

Technical Details

NIKKOR Z 14-30 f/4S at 30.0 mm
1/13 sec. at f/8.0 and ISO 64
Three images blended for DOF.

Overall I like this image. The bright colors of the foliage on the “isle” are complimented nicely by the more subdued colors elsewhere. I also like the reflected sky and trees in the water. I find the composition effective, with the plants in the bottom of the frame leading to the isle. I wonder if cropping in from the top to exclude the shore would improve the image? To me the shore could be a frame for the top but still feels a little distracting. Although excluding it might leave the central foliage not enough room to breath.


This is gorgeous! I don’t believe I’ve commented on your other variations, but I do think this one is my favorite of the 3 you’ve posted.

The composition is excellent and I particularly like the “stepping stone” impression of the smaller plants leading to the little island.

I have similar thoughts as Dean regarding the top shoreline. I also agree that cropping out that shoreline would just be too tight for the vibrant vegetation on the island. So actually, I’m wondering if there is any more of the grassy shore to give the top a little breathing room.

The colors are vibrant and the contrast sharp. I think the blues and yellows look spot on. And while I normally like to push the colors/sat, to my eye the red and limey green on the island are little too saturated and/or bright? Of course, well within the personal preference limits, so just an observation.

Beautiful image! Sure sounds like you guys had a successful trip!


Thanks for your thoughts @DeanRoyer and @Lon_Overacker! I needed a really tall tripod for this one. When I headed to this location my plan was to hang out from the Blue Hour until light started to spill into the scene, so I brought my kit to make coffee and my camping chair. Composing this, I had your exact same thoughts. In fact, at the maximum height of the tripod the top of that island tree was superimposed on the shore, and so I precariously balanced the tripod on top of the camping chair to get this image. (That may, or may not, have had something to do with my camera ending up in the tarn. I’ll leave out the details; some things are too painful to talk about :wink:.) I did try cropping the shore out, and did find that I wasn’t happy with how tight the image was. I do have more of the shore, but it starts to get a tad cluttered and that’s the reason I landed here; I’ll revisit that based on your thoughts.

I did specifically push the contrast on those guys to get them to stand out. Sounds like a bit too much; I’ll drop that back a little.

John, this is a beauty, with the red and green on the main island being a fine focal point. I also think the stepping stones of the grass clumps works well. I agree that cropping all of the edge makes it too tight at the top, but wonder about cropping to (or near) the water’s edge at the highest point. That leaves some edge (that doesn’t seem as distracting) and what feels like enough space for comfort.