Mountain flowers at first light

My first image post. This shot is from Colorado at a workshop during a challenging wildflower season last July. I am looking for feedback on the composition and post. I am a bit conflicted about the fore ground balance of the shot and if it works? I feel like the colors are pretty good but welcome any other comments on post.

Nikon D7500, ISO200, 16mm, 5 seconds at F11, lens 16-80F2.8-4.0

Thanks for the feedback!!

Overall I think it’s a nice image and it more or less works, but I think there is to much space on the right and that the peak should be more centered between the grass. Having shot this scene many times, I think if you would have stepped back, gone up with the camera and moved right(turning the camera to the left a bit), you could have balanced it better. You could have also used more of the curve those little inlets make to add more interest. Hope that makes sense:)

Thanks Dan for your comments, they do make sense and I agree. I plan on going back next year to give it another try.

Welcome to NPN Alan, nice job on your first post. I like including the foreground here, it makes it more dynamic than just having only a mirror reflection. l agree with Dan, I’d like to see more of whats on the left. The stones underneath the water are an interesting element and I would like to maybe see more of them too. Perhaps a vertical composition might have shown more of them.

In terms of post-processing, the detail you have in the shadow areas looks pretty good. Reflections are always darker than what is being reflected, but here I think the brightness of the sky could be reduced a little. And I would reduce the saturation of the deep blue sky reflection in the near foreground.

Thanks Ed,
I will work in post with your comments. The deep blue reflection was one of my concerns as well. I do have a similar shot in a vertical with only one of the fingers entering the shot from the bottom right of the frame. I may post it in the future for comments.

This is a very beautiful scene Alan. Despite not having a ton of flowers, I really like the lush plants in the foreground, and how you can see the stones below the surface of the water. I really wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more foreground since it is such a strong element in this photo.

Thanks for your thoughts Ben! The stones were very prominent while on location. I will work in post to reveal them a bit more.

Welcome to NPN @Alan_Kreyger! This is a wonderful first post. I really like the composition. Without having been there, I don’t know your options, but I think the foreground works well and is balanced nicely. Balanced by the greens on either side and enough of the reflection that tells me it’s inclusion is intentional.

Processing wise, the color/saturation look great. Given the time of day and lack of sunlight, the exposure seems about right, although this could possibly get another 1/3 stop or so - but that’s personal choice and subjective. There’s really nothing that stands out in terms of processing corrections or changes I might make. This looks great.

Look forward to more posts!


Nice image, but for me it is just lacking a strong sense of subject/focal point. Maybe a vignette, darkening the sides of the mountain range you have there would make the middle point that is also reflecting in the water stand out a bit more. Maybe desaturate those green leaves in the FG as well so they arent so dominant and it allows my eyes to flow past them easier and get into the real subject of the scene.

Hope this helps!

Your friend,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments Lon. I have been back and forth on the exposure but as you said it was fairly early and the light was low.

Thank you Ben. I am working on a few of those items in post based upon some of the other’s critiques. I appreciate your comments regarding the composition. Composition was the main reason I made this my first post.

I’ve been looking at this for some time trying verbalize what seems awkward. I think it’s the ambiguity of the composition. The foreground plants have been processed to really stand out yet they occupy a small portion of the image. If it’s about those plants then I would make the mountains smaller. If it’s about the total scene then I wouldn’t make parts of it really pop out. For a grand scene I would probably step back and get a larger view. Desaturating the fg greens will result in a scene with flat light which won’t work real well for you in my opinion. There’s only so much you can do in photoshop to compensate for poor light.

Thanks Igor. Very thoughtful, I totally agree with the “ambiguity” word and appreciate your comments. This is an image I wanted to like, but struggled with it. This was my first post for that reason.

One of my favorite spots. I agree with what Dan Ballard has stated. Maybe try warming the white balance a little.

Thanks Doug, I appreciate your feedback.