This image was such a delight to shoot. After hiking (backpacking) through river and rain for 9 miles, we set up camp and got to watch the moon rise over this 1,000 ft high wall illuminated by the setting sun. The light reflecting off the river was the final touch that I feel made for a great comp.
Specific Feedback Requested
Shade vs. Highlights?
Is this a composite: No
All your requested feedback looks good to me. A small nit, I would clone out the rockin the middle at the bottom edge.
I like this as is but I particularly like the bottom section. An option would be a square crop that includes all of the bottom.
This looks like a beautiful scene to behold at the end of a long hike. I like the lower part of the composition with the stream flowing through the red rock. The reflected light on the stream is beautiful. I also like the sunlit rock wall, but I feel like there is too much of it in the image. I like Igor’s suggestion of a crop, even though that unfortunately eliminates the moon.
I have no issues with any of the items on which you requested feedback. I like it that you kept the shadows areas relatively dark and somewhat cooler in WB. Your processing looks great to me. The S-curve of the river is very neat, and helps call attention to the reflected light in the water.
I actually prefer the composition as presented in your original post, and would not crop it. I like having the moon, take it away and the image is not as strong IMO. I also like having the relationship between the golden cliffs and their reflection in the water, to me these work well together. I do not think there is too much here, or that the image is divided in half, instead it feels cohesive to me. I can see a second workable image here with the bottom half crop suggest above. But I also think what you have presented works pretty well too.