Old Hoodie +ALT

Another image along the Merced River in Yosemite this past May. When this popped on the computer for the first time my own impression was that of a classic hood ornament - like say a 1940 Cadillac…Hence the title. Do you see it?

Nikon D800E, Nikkor 28-300mm @150mm f/22 @.5s

I’m always open to all technical and artistic feedback. This one is a case where I’ve looked at and tweaked the color/sat, etc. for too long and I may have lost my way. Processing feedback most welcome.

While I really like this and it’s my current desktop bg image, there is something that bothers me compositionally. I’d like to find out if anyone else picks up on it.


Very nice colors and tones, I think this would flow better if you flipped it horizontally and rotated it slightly so the lines are diagonal and dynamic. I can post an example if you like.

Good call David! I see where you’re going with this and so I went ahead and made the change. Interesting, because I’m a big Left-right flow kinda guy and to me this looks, feels better when flipped. I slightly rotated, but only a degree or two.

Thank you for the feedback!

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Thanks David for the suggestion! I’m sure opinions will vary, but I think I like this orientation better! Ya know, you work on something too long and lose site of the possibilities. For scenes like this, I normally wouldn’t remain stuck in the original “real” orientation, but for some reason flipping it never crossed my mind. On the rotation, only a couple of degrees, so not very much.

Thanks for the valuable feedback.


That feels much better!

Yes, I like the second photo better too. I would never have thought of that if it was my photo and I was working on it. Have to keep that in mind for the future.

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Real nice, Lon!

The color and contrast looks great to me. I like the flipped version, too.

It’s interesting that in the original, the water flow is ‘real’, the tweaked version looks more natural. I think this because the tringle formed by white water point naturally to the right.

I, too, definitely prefer the flipped version. Funny how that made such a difference in perspective. It might be interesting to see another shot where the shutter speed was somewhat faster too to see if the water was better delineated, but that might just be of interest to me only. I’ve kinda gotten to the point over the past year or two where I’ve grown a wee bit tired of all the blur in the water and actually like to see a little more detail sometimes.

Lon, I can certainly understand the frustration about these types images, been there myself. The colors are really working in your favor here, as is the choice of 1/2 second exposure, nice for getting fluid and detail together. I lean toward a preference for left (upstream) to right (downstream) of the second. Also, if you have it, I’d favor just a little bit more breathing room ahead of the standing wave far LHS that’s cut short.

Excellent, Lon. Wonderful textures, shapes and colors. The slow shutter is working very well. I’m a lefty - maybe thats why I prefer the first. Might be my monitor but i think the highlights could be brightened up a bit.

I prefer to see water flowing from left to right so I guess I prefer the original. But really, I have no preference here.

I agree that this is an excellent image, one of your best on the subject. If I’m not mistaken you used to use a slightly slower SS speed in the past. This speed is optimal for capturing water movement on the Merced. The variety of colors, from yellow to green to blue all in linear form is truly beautiful. Monet couldn’t have done better himself.

PS I don’t see any deficiencies in composition. I’ll be interested to hear what they are.

PSS I just figured out why I prefer images with water flowing left to right. As a flyfisherman it’s much easier to make a presentation if you’re right handed and the flow is left to right. By false casting over the water you have less chance of getting your back cast caught on the foliage. After decades of fishing it has affected my visual preference. Though you might be interested.

Very cool image. Think I prefer the flipped version slightly over the original. Love the blurry water and the warm colors, and touch of blues near the top. I can almost hear the gurgle of the water.

I think you nailed it with the repost, Lon. The colors are lovely as is the water action and that slight rotation is just what the scene needed. Just a personal preference, but I think I prefer the flipped version also.

Thanks for the comments and observations folks! Much appreciated!

@Bill_Leggett and @Igor_Doncov, yeah, it’s that “breathing room” in front of the wave that bothers me. Interesting though, it bothers me less in the flipped version because for me the eye enters the frame on the left and flows left to right. In the original, the way I looked at it, the main wave was too close to the right edge and near exiting the frame. Anyway, that was my compositional gripe. I do wish there was more room in front of the wave, regardless of orientation. Igor, also interesting comment on the fly fishing. There is much to be said about the left hand / right hand topic. I recall we had a long discussion a while back on the old NPN.

@Dave_Dillemuth I appreciate the comment on the highlights. In fact I worked on that aspect, including even dodging the wave peaks a bit with a brush. I guess I could push that a little further and also try to get some more detail in there. (reminds me this would be a great candidate for TK’s old Triple Play actions!)

Thanks again!

Lon, I too like the flipped version. It just seems to have a better flow and I enjoy the feel better as well.

Lon, you’ve managed to capture some neat takes like this at various locations on the Merced. I’ll join in on the flipped version as optically it seems to work better. Maybe it’s one of those right hand left hand things on this particular scene. As I’m a bit ambidextrous both work well, but being primarily right handed the flip version works for me best.
I also wish there was a bit more room just ahead of the main cascade or wave as it were. As an exercise you could add some canvas and do some creative C&A with cleanup clones and the flowing water for another look. Heck we’ve already flipped it 180 why not add a pinch of space on the left there too?..:sunglasses:

Good idea to flip it around, and it keeps the stream flowing downhill instead of up to my eye! Lovely light and patterns on the water, especially in the upper left. I wonder if you could bring up the colors in the foreground to match?

Thanks Kathy. Interesting observation about the colors near the foreground area. Actually, I did some saturating painting in that area to reduce the saturation (TK’s panel tools). As it was, I was beginning to push the processing too far and when that happens, colors go wonky and I thought started looking unnatural. I can see what you’re seeing - and another factor is the light/reflection just wasn’t quite the same as in the upper part of the image.