Pentland Glow

Hey everybody,

This is my first time here on NPN. I’ve, of course, heard it’s name whispered in shadowy corners over the last few years. Looking forward to seeing it grow, and hopefully for me to benefit as much as many have in the past.

The image was taken on the walk back to the car after a particularly uneventful sunrise in the Pentland Hills, near Edinburgh. I only had time to grab a quick few images with the long lens before the light died just as quickly as it appeared.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Compositional options at the time were limited, but any advice and options would be greatly appreciated. Processing, colour balance advice, etc, would be most welcome. I’m struggling to provide contrast and interest while showing the soft, diffuse light and not destroying the shadows. That said, if it’s because it’s an awful image in the first place, more than willing to move on.

Any pertinent technical details:

Fuji XT-3, XF55-200, 150mm, F8, ISO 160. Single exposure. Developed in C1. Mostly dodging/colour dodging in photoshop.

Nice catch with that light. Something feels off balanced about the comp to me. Trying to find tweaks but not coming up with any. Think it comes from the large dark/heavy element on the right side pulling the eye that way. Glad you found the npn!


Welcome to NPN Richard! Glad you’re here.

I really like the simplicity here which really helps emphasize the glow and light here. I think your compositional options were dictated by the light and conditions. any crop from the right and you lose a big chunk of that nice glow. The larger version reveals the line of trees pretty well, and so I can see your concern going any darker with additional contrast. I think the light/shadow/darkness combine pretty well here. I guess what is missing is a main subject/focal point (besides the light itself. The only suggestion I have really might be to warm up that light - it’s almost white light. Be curious how it would be with a warmer color balance.

Not sure if the small break up in the clouds up top is helping or taking away. It’s what I call a “tweaner” meaning either more breakup of the clouds and patches of blue… or less break through and let the light between the cloud deck and hills be the story.

Have to ask though after seeing the large view - what are all the white dots? Are those sheep or some kind of mammal, or vegetation? just curious.

Welcome aboard!

Aaron, thank you. I agree, there isn’t a lot of balance here. The right hand side contains the brightest and darkest areas but with no subject. Thank you for taking the time to write!


Lon, thank you. I think you’re right and I hadn’t really framed that question to myself before. “What is the subject?”. I’ve almost made the subject the light itself, and with no focal point, the image feels flat and the idea underdeveloped. I think that’s related to your “tweaner” idea, as well. I’ve kept it there because of “interest”, but in reality its providing a complication and distraction. Another subject without being a subject.

Thank you for taking the time to write, you’ve given me some things to think about.

And yes, they are sheep!


Welcome aboard! I have read the various comments and I think you have a strong subject, the various shapes and shades of light. I might experiment with cropping the sky 60% and making the emphasis or subject the ridges and tree line. I might also clone out the sheep or whatever those white spots are, but I think this one has real nice potential. You should ask yourself what drew you into the scene and run with that.

Thank you Harley. It was definitely the band of light that drew me to the scene. I’ll experiment with the crop and see whether I can improve the image from there.