Mt. Hood Golden hour

Nikon D610, 20mm, f11, 1 sec.
I removed the ski lift.

Hi Dan! You had some pretty awesome conditions to work with, some nice clouds in the sky, and a foreground filled with wildflowers. One of the things that I have learned about landscape photography is that if you include both a foreground and a background, the foreground should be stronger than the background. It helps to anchor the shot, and lead into the rest of the composition. In this case, Mt. Hood is the stronger element, which makes the foreground a bit less relevant.

One of the ways you can change this balance is to have an even stronger foreground. You can do this by lowering your camera angle to make those wonderful flowers even larger in the composition. It would also allow you to avoid the barren area that is centered along the bottom edge. I realize this isn’t anything you can adjust after the fact, but maybe it’s something to keep in mind for future compositions.

Another thing I noticed is that there is a bright halo surrounding the mountain. I am guessing that’s from blending two exposures to get an ideal exposure on the sky. If that’s the case, I would recommend feathering that transition better so it isn’t quite as abrupt. I would also consider lowering the saturation of the yellowish area on the slopes of the mountain, as well as around the base of the tree on the left.

In any case, you captured some really nice light here, and I am kinda jealous that you were able to experience it in person. I bet it must have been a great moment to take in.

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you caught some pretty nice conditions and light here. i love how the wildflowers lead into the frame. good choice on cloning out the ski-lift (tbh i don’t know where it would be, but anywhere in this landscape it would be a major annoyance - to bad somebody put it there in the first place…)

i think @Ben_Horne did a great job assessing the composition and what could be (or have been) done to improve it. i wish that one day i could apply similar knowledge (or use similar words to explain it)…
as far as my knoledge goes, it’s always the processing issues i find easier to spot and to give advice on:
additionally to what ben mentioned already you might want to address the blown out highlights on mt. hood and the particularly flat and greyish blotch of sky right next to the dead tree.


p.s. maybe dodging the center-trees helps leading the eyes from the wildflowers towards mt. hood.

Thanks for the comments, I appreciate them,
Yeah I did smudge the mountain trying to clean up the ski lift and also bring up the whites as they are pretty gray by summer. I was sloppy.
It is not a composite,
I think the comments on the comp are completely valid. Always things to think about when you set up to shoot…

As stated the foreground is weak but the mountain, sky, and trees are super. I would crop off bottom to below the tree line. You could also crop off the tree on the left if the panoramic format does not appeal to you.


I recall seeing this on the old site - It was beautiful then, and beautiful now.

I happen to like the overall balance of this mountain landscape, including the foreground. Actually, the rock in the foreground, while not significant, I think is important in helping to anchor the foreground. I also like the Charlie Brown tree on the left - it’s important too that it leans IN, helping to nicely frame the left side. Awesome sky/clouds/color and the little bit of sun striking the hillside is an added bonus.

Not withstanding any cloning issues - which are not apparent to me… I think this is a wonderful mountain landscape.