Outcropping at Mt. Sanitas

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Comments on post-processing techniques.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I don’t usually center my elements in the composition so I took a risk with this one. What do you think?

Any pertinent technical details:

LR mobile app RAW image
iPhone 6
1/1700 sec
ISO 25
4.15 mm
Captured in color
Processed to B&W in LR Classic desktop

My first post!

I captured this for its simple composition of flowers, rock, and clouds, framed symmetrically by the trees. My processing included selecting a B&W preset then editing to create a vignette around the subjects, increasing contrast in the sky, and decreasing contrast in the landscape. Looking forward to comments, both technical and creative.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Hi, Matt -
Welcome! Great first post!

let’s see what the Moderators feel, but to me, your processing is well-within the realm of “usual tweaks” and it’s not enough manipulation to render this “Photo Art”.
I would guess that most, if not all, of the posts in Landscape have much more manipulation than the common, basic things you did. Our categories are a little ambiguous sometimes, so it’s easy not to be sure where things “should” go.

As far as the image, it’s very strong, imo. The peak and clouds are very compelling. However, the lower half of the mage is so dark, the detail is lost.
I’m sure there is a lot of detail in the flowers and grasses that could be brought out. I’d also try to move the peak a bit to the left, although centered images don’t really bother me much.
This would also very a strong entry in the “Black and White” Weekly Challenge coming up at the end of January.

Well worth a bit of re-working!

1 Like

I would like to see more brightness in the rock and the flowers at the bottom of the image. The elements are all there but the detail is lost because of its darkness.

1 Like

Matt, nice first post. this is a great subject for B&W, with those interesting shapes, textures and clouds. I love the very strong triangular shape of the rock, and I like how you framed it left and right with trees. I agree with the others that the luminosity of the image is too dark, and would like to see more detail. I do like the amount of sky and clouds that you included. But that means you picked up the tree suspended in the sky in the upper left corner, which I find to be a distraction, since IMO it unbalances the composition, which is otherwise symmetrical. If you use photoshop, using Content Aware Fill would easily remove this tree and replace it it with sky.

1 Like

Great Work Matt. I think the centered elements work well for this composition. I like how the flowers lead my eye to the rock and then the sky. I agree with above that the flowers could use some brightening to pop a bit more. Other than that I think you’ve done well with the post processing here.

1 Like

Thank you, @Sandy_Richards-Brown. Yes, the moderators agreed with you and moved this photo to Landscape critiques. As for the composition, I know I captured several frames with various tweaks to the composition of elements and have one with the peak not so centered.
And thanks for the heads up on the B&W challenge coming up!

@Ed_McGuirk, @Patricia_Brundage, @David_Nilsen, Thanks for your comments about the darkness - that is the most common critique.

@Ed_McGuirk I’ve never used the Content Aware Fill tool but will try it. Any advice you could provide about its use? How is it different or similar to the Clone tool, which I am very familiar with?

Do an internet search on Content Aware Fill, tons of tutorials wil come up. Basically you make a selection of what you want to to remove with the Lasso tool, then go Edit / Fill / Content Aware Fill. Photoshop then does a pretty intelligent job of fill the selection with something nearby ( like the sky) to remove the tree.

This is much easier to use than the clone tool, and 85% of the time it does a better job than manual cloning. I always try it first before manual cloning.

1 Like

Thanks so much, Ed.

Real fine first post and welcome aboard. I would agree with the suggestions previously made to open things up a bit at the bottom and I like the content aware suggestion,too. It does work well in most instances but not always. It is fun to experiment with it.

Thanks, Harley. It’s great to have NPN for being involved in a serious photo community and for improving my photography and learning.

Some tools are definitely better than others, and no tools works best for all situations. I’ve noticed the Content Aware Fill tool mentioned elsewhere on NPN so I’ll experiment and figure it out because I have noticed some shortcomings with LR’s Clone tool.


Welcome to NPN. A terrific first post.

First to composition. Centering is perfectly appropriate much of the time and of course depended on the scene and what your desires are - it’s totally subjective and works very well here.

The darkness is also subjective. I think as presented you’ve created a fairly dark and somber mood with the dark processing. I wouldn’t mind so much if it weren’t for the clouds. I think we’ve all observed enough clouds that those white cumulus clouds are most always quite white and bright. Viewing this I guess I am just naturally expecting the clouds to be brighter.

In the end, it really depends on your intention with the image. More luminosity in general will of course bring out more detail - then again may also reveal more distractions… :wink:

Welcome aboard. Look forward to more of your images.


1 Like

Welcome to NPN. Nice composition for sure. I would concur with the other reviews and see if you can lighten up the foreground a bit more. Centered compositions definitely have their place and honestly I don’t see an issue with this one. You are utilizing the rule of thirds in a vertical orientation which is ok.

Some may say to have the peak to the left a bit more, thus giving you 1/3 of the image to the peak and 2/3 of the image to remainder towards the right. I struggle with the same thing.

Best of luck in the B&W contest

1 Like

@Lon_Overacker @Todd_Grivetti Thanks for your feedback. Centered and symmetrical compositions usually drive me nuts and feel so static, so I hesitate to take them let alone share them. I’ve seen countless centered compositions on social media - perhaps they are popular because of the small format of phone screens but it is obvious to me how powerful symmetrical, vertically-oriented compositions can be.

When I make them, I make sure to include just enough counterbalancing to avoid strict symmetry - hence the tree branches. But usually I compose to avoid symmetry and keep the eye moving throughout the frame. With this one, the elements draw the viewers’ eyes upward, as @David_Nilsen noted.

So I think I just justified for myself why I should brighten the flowers to bring out more detail. I’ll want to preserve the somber mood since that is a driving aesthetic of this rendering.

As for the clouds, I’ll experiment with them a bit to see if I like the mood after brightening.

I’m out in Frederick and have had Sanitas on my list of hikes to do. Maybe we’ll catch one another on the trail. Still a great photography!

1 Like

Very interested to hear from reviewers who provided critiques on the first posting of this one. I reworked post-processing to find more detail in the shadows, brighten the clouds, and remove a distracting branch, In fact, I started over because of fatal flaws. No worries, I learned a few things, particularly how to use the Content Aware Fill tool in PS, which is just the point. And I like where it’s going, so thanks to reviewers for suggestions. Very much appreciated!

A note following post: The version you see here is a bit darker than the same file I see in LR and PS.