Nature's smile (+ alternate versions)

Above is the original submission.

This is the revision adding more golden color to the mountain and keeping the sky as in the original post.

Above is an alternate version with more saturation on the mountain and sky.

Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction

Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.

Questions to guide your feedback

Do you get a clear sense of a storm having just passed by with this cloudless and dark sky? Although this is only a fraction of the scene around me, do the strong and dark colors transport you to a post-storm setting?

Other Information

Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.

Image Description

Just as we did this year, last year we spent some time in Silverthorne, in the heart of Summit County. Since mornings are often hard for me to be up early, I often try to take advantage of late afternoon light and sunsets. This photo was captured in the late afternoon after some heavy showers. I was trying to get some photos of the Dillon Reservoir at sunset and ended up with a rainbow gift. Storm clouds were beginning to dissipate leaving behind a dark blue sky with some burst of highlights. I guess Nature was smiling at me.

Technical Details

After applying a linear profile to my camera, I began to recover a few things in the image you see. I wanted to make sure that although this is only a slice of the scene, a viewer could feel inside the 360-degree experience. I brought out a hint of blue in the dark gray skies and fixed some minor distractions near the mountain base. I had some color range masks to bring out some of the trees on the islands and across the reservoir. I did some minor dodge and burn on the illuminated mountain. The rainbow appeared very intense against the dark skies. I did not do anything to it.

Specific Feedback

Have I missed any distracting elements? Is the portrait crop suitable? The full image is in landscape format, but the mountains to the left of what you see here were leading a viewer’s eye out of the frame. There were also some very bright sections on the left side of what is included here.

@Egidio I would say the storm is over because the sun is on the far hill, and the rainbow colors are bold. There is enough light for the color to reflect in the water. Yes, there is hope in his picture with the promise of a sunny day.

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I like the portrait crop. The greens in the trees help anchor the rainbow. I don’t see anything that you missed.

A beautiful capture! It’s a very nice and unusual feature to have one part of the rainbow more intense, and it certainly chose the best part. No nits at all, but an idea to play with might be to make the hill even more gold.

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Barbara, thank you for your feedback. I’m really glad you caught the rainbow reflection in the water. I thought about adding a bit more contrast and saturation using a color grading mask but ended up leaving it as is (very subtle).

Diane, thank you for the compliment and feedback. I applied a soft mask on the center of the rainbow to reduce the luminosity in that section. It was very intense and a bit distracting to my taste.

I love the idea you gave about bringing up more gold on the hills. That gives me a reason to play with TK9 in that specific area. Thanks for the suggestion. If I end up getting something believable, I’ll post it as a rework.

Thank y’all. :pray:

Egídio, you’ve caught a beautiful rainbow in a lovely setting, definitely captures the lift of spirits after a storm rolls through. The subtle hints of ridges in the distance where it’s still raining hard add a good sense of depth.

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Mark, thank you kindly for your critique. I appreciated that.

Diane, thanks for the suggestion. I added an alternate version with a bit more saturation on the mountain and sky. Thanks for the suggestion.

Egido, this is a lovely image. Wow, what a great rainbow!
Looking at your new more saturated version, I think I like the additional saturation on the mountain, but it might be a little too much in the sky.

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Will, thank you kindly for your feedback. I appreciated it. I was blessed to have had two consecutive days where rainbows were present at the end of the day.

I like the added saturation on the hill, but I also think it might not be needed on the sky – that way the hillside stands out more. But both versions are dramatic and lovely captures.

@WillR and @Diane_Miller , thank you again for your suggestions. Going back to the original post and adding just more golden to the mountain seems to be the right approach. That allows the clouds and rainbow refraction to stand out more against the sky without added saturation, particularly to the left of the rainbow. I’ll add that revision and move the darker sky to last in the display.

Do you get a clear sense of a storm having just passed by with this cloudless and dark sky?

@Egidio, what a lovely image! Yes, I think you succeeded in your stated goal. I like the second version the best, as overall it looks a little bit warmer than version #3. Brightening up the hill does improve the image, I think. But they are both nice!

Patrick, thank you for your feedback. I really appreciated that.

Egidio: I do get a sense of a storm that has passed given the rainbow and the clouds/rain to the left of the rainbow. However, I think that the overall beauty of the scene is the dominant factor, not that a storm has passed.

Richard, thank you for your feedback. I appreciate that and agree with your assessment.