Image Description

I admire the tenacity with which the American Bison lives its life. They pretty much just handle whatever they encounter without missing a beat. Deep snow? No worries, just push through, sweep that massive head side to side and clear a path down to a few bites of grass. Sweltering 90º day with horseflies? Take a dirt bath and keep that tail busy! Cold River? Jump on in, the water is fine. Sub-zero temps? Not a problem, find an exposed hill to lay down on and let the wind-drifted snow gather. Perfect Spring day with sunshine, puffy clouds and temperatures just right? Well, that might happen for a few hours in June! Seriously though, we could learn a lot about enduring hardships from the creatures such as this. To be sure, there are plenty of good days, but we might even find there are more good days than we think, if we adjusted our attitude just a bit. Here’s to sunny days, and the perseverance to endure the less pleasant ones!

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.

  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.

  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.

  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

This is probably the 10th version of this image. I processed it lighter, darker, B&W, and then landed here. I wanted to further isolate the bison from the background by lightening the bison but darkening the background. I like the way the fog wrapped around the bison, but can’t really take credit for that, other than waiting for that to happen!

Technical Details

I pulled over to photograph some bison that were much nearer than this, but as I glanced around…it’s always good to watch your back in Grizzly Bear country… I saw this lone bull on a high spot with vapor from a hot spring swirling around him. I had rented a 500mm f/4 lens for this visit. I set the tripod up as low as possible to help isolate the bison from the background and grabbed a few shots.

I used a couple of masks in Lightroom Classic CC to darken the background, lighten the Bison, and enhance the appearance of the fog.

Nikon D850
Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1.4 TC
ISO 64, f/5.6, 1/500, 700mm


Paul, I’m with you on your narrative. May the bison continue to thrive. The tragedy of the massacre of this statuesque symbol of our West leaves an indelible back mark on our history. The fog and light on the bison create a wonderful mysterious and powerful mood for the animal. You might want to I lighten up the background trees a tad, to prevent the possibility of them looking blotchy if you print this. But, retain the black surround. The image is worthy of a place on your wall, but may be a challenge to print. This superb image sends a strong message.

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Thanks Larry. I haven’t printed this yet, but I’ll look in to what you’ve said!

I like how you isolated the bison in your photo. The vapor and dark BG gives the feeling that there is something mystical about this one bison. Other my differ, but I like the composition just how it is.

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What a show stopper this photo is. I usually prefer light, bright images, but this one really grabbed my attention, mostly due to the story it evoked for me. It truly portrays the perseverance you spoke of. I think lightening the upper right background just a tad might be worth looking at would be my only thought for revision. This is a strong, emotional image.

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Thank so much Chris. Here’s a version with a bit of lightening in the shadows of the top right. It does balance things a little better. Thank you!

Love your narrative and agree with it . Wonder capture. I really prefer your original over the edited version (other than lightening the upper right area) because on the edit it appears the light area on the shoulders and neck was darkened a bit. Perhaps it is just my old monitor. Excellent shot.

Wonderful!!! I favor the slightly lighter version. Maybe the beast itself could be lightened up a bit – I’d use a soft brush to make a quick mask in PS, then let it provide the mask for a Curves adjustment layer. A soft-edged brush can work visual wonders for lightening a dark subject.

Had to play with it! About 1 minute in PS.

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A great shot Paul, as Chris says it’s quite a show stopper, a majestic animal. I think that you certainly got the image to a good place but that the helpful folks in the forum have helped improve it even further. I like the slight lightening of the background trees, it just gives enough detail to add context but still allows the Bison to remain surrounded by dark, and Diane seems to have added a little extra detail in the face.
It’s looking very good.

Hi Paul!
I really love how you play with the light !
This is such an image, which can be interpreted in so many different ways, according to one’s taste and style. I prefer @Diane_Miller 's re-post.
BTW I would like to see this image, as it came out of the camera without any post processing.

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Here ya go @JRajput . The only thing done here is to convert to jpeg and resize to 2048 on the long side

Thank you so much for the share !
I’ll try my hand at this :+1: