Playful Reeds Reflecting on a Lake

What makes this image expressive?

For me this image is expressive because I feel that it simultaneously conveys both something pastoral and yet due to its busyness also a lack of calm. The calm comes from the elements in the frame that convey the feeling (at least for me) of the autumn morning on which it was taken. Both reeds and fallen leaves floating on the lake surface. Seemingly meandering only due to the curves of the reeds (and I will get to that soon) but in truth a perfectly still scene with the morning light and distant forest reflected in the water. On the other hand, thanks to the textures and shapes of the reeds there is a lot going on in the scene which I feel lends to it a nervousness (which I imagine might not work for everyone) that sort of keeps your eyes moving about the frame which I hope draws the attention of the viewer for a little while longer.

Specific Feedback Requested

I am not sure if this photograph is best served by the black and white medium. I feel that in color it can seem a bit too busy but perhaps in black and white it sucks a bit of life out of it. I can post the color version if needed. Also, any editing tips to enhance the image are of course welcome.


Thank you so much Dvir for this image, it’s really interesting and rather engaging. I love the flow of the foreground water plants, they are curious and exciting. I like the patterns and geometry of them.

The thing that I feel most strongly here is the choice of aspect ratio. There is a very subconscious impact for any and all aspect ratios, and this one feels kind of strung out and is trying to include too much in the frame.

Just roughly cropping with a screen capture, I feel that this is the maximum content I would have included.

And I wouldn’t have been upset if it had been even less:

This can be an issue when we are in the field and we take ownership of a scene and believe that everything we see should be in the frame.

One of my biggest issues with the original composition is the darkness of the reflected trees:

In terms of luminosity and contrast that is a black hole and it sucks my attention deeply into that section.

I think the scene is truly engaging, but I’d look at ways to consolidate the message by using less elements.

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Thank you so much for your reply Alister! The funny thing is that your crop more or less represents perhaps the most successful image from this set though that one is in color and is much more concentrated on the foreground reeds. With this I liked the dance of the distant reeds but I agree that the dark silhouette of the trees overshadows the distant reeds and sort of breaks up the textural element that makes them interesting. Below you can find this same photograph in color as well as the photograph that I mentioned that concentrated on the foreground reeds (the latter has had more editing).