Ranger Cabin in Moraine Park

This is my first real dive into shooting landscape while a storm is still in progress. I spent several days in Rocky Mountain NP, 75% of the time it was overcast. After watching a few videos on shooting in snow, I started off by increasing my exposure compensation and off I went capturing images. While the sky remained a gray overcast, with not texture and the the snow was on and off. slipped and nearly did a face plant but kept the camera for the most part free of snow. What we photographers do to “get the shot”.

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

In post processing, this first thing was to adjust background surrounding the image to pure white, to have a reference to the snow in the image. Then I starting working the image by highlighting the cabin and tree and deemphasizing the surounding areas.

Technical Details

1/100 sec f/8 ISO 200 24-120mm f/4 @ 35mm . Edited in PS. I lowered the temp ever so slightly, and increased the whites to brighten the snow. Next I targeted the areas outside of the subjects and decreased dehaze and clarity . I decreased the shadows on the subject and increased saturation very slightly . Lastly, I cleaned up some powerines and celecticical conduits on the side of the cabin. The overall editing goal was to isolate the subjects and highlight the weather conditions. I am very interested to se how others would approach this scene.

RAW image

Hey Gary, this caught my eye right away. I appreciate you sharing the RAW file by the way, it really helps see the effects of processing which I think you have done an excellent job with.

On the technical side, if it were mine, I would tone back the dodging on the tree by 20-50%. I definitely like it brighter but it might be a touch too bright for my taste. Somewhere splitting the difference would be my preference. You may also consider restoring some of the contrast in the foreground, the blacks are lifted a lot, I’d be interested in seeing some of that brought back. Your vision and ability to isolate that main tree and the Ranger Cabin in your processing is really well executed.

What I take from this image is a sense of isolation, but not a bad way. Like this is a place to getaway after a long week at work and just disconnect complete. If that is what you were going for, then you have succeeded! It has real Christmas card vibes too! Your vision and execution really come through in this one.

David, I appreciate your comments, very helpful. I did a quick burn of about 20% on the subject tree. Awaiting some more comments from others to get a broad feel of the image. Still a work in process. Cheers.
PS This a cabin used by the National Park Staff during the busy season.

Wow, Gary, this is a very cool image, temperature wise as well as feeling. I love the higher key feeling of your first post, but do see value in @David_Wallace’s suggestion on the tree. This definitely has a postcard feel. It’s nice to see the raw image to compare. That’s a great idea that I think I’ll do from time to time.

Actually, as I go back and forth between your original post and the reworked one, I find I prefer the original. It has a more snowy, foggy, feeling to it.

I feel like there’s a nice Hot Toddy and warm fire waiting for me inside.


Thanks, David for your comments. It feels sweet; given that I nearly did a face plant maneuvering around in the deep snow as I was looking for a composition spot. Somehow, I keep the camera out of the deep snow.

1 Like

Gary, I like the softness in this image and the high key look. For me, the dodging is perfect in the original. It has a dreamy look that makes me want to be sitting in front of that bay window with a cup of coffee or better yet, a glass of wine. I’ve walked in snowy weather where the snow is above my knees, so I know the feeling and I have done a face plant. I was laughing and at the same time hoping no one was watching me try to get up :grinning: . No camera was hurt. I enjoy this photo very much.

Thank you Donna. As I said I was close to a faceplate; Just was relieved the camera was not damaged and defrosted it on the way back to my cabin. Whew.

Gary: The conditions really make this shot. I’ve been by this cabin a bazillion times and have never shot it. I like your processing but do agree with darkening the tree just a smidge. I’ve been to RMNP a couple times in the winter but wasn’t blessed with conditions like this. Top notch shot. >=))>

Thank you very much, Bill. I was lucky that I hit a couple of days of snow during my stay. So far it has been a good winter for snow, fingers crossed that it continues…

There isn’t a single thing I’d change about this one. Absolutely gorgeous and the high-key processing works perfectly here. It has a cold and yet inviting feel to it. Very nice!

1 Like


Love this! I’m with Brett - Love this as presented. What a transformation from the original! I see your post as a “picture perfect postcard.” Ya know, one would literally find on the display rack at the Visitor’s center.

YOur vision for the final presentation works beautifully. No nits or suggestions! Excellent work!


1 Like

My first inclination when I saw this image was to convert it to black and white since I’m not sure the green window frames are doing you any justice here - it feels like a National Park Ranger Station (WHICH IT IS LOL)… but I think if you converted it, it could take on a more mysterious feeling and convey a bit more.

I took many image at RMNP last week, a good portion of the time the skies were flat grey. Most of the images will be converted to B&W. I even took some images in 850nm infrared. I see your point about converting the image to B&W, however the color of the tree trunk and those green windows said to me I needed to do this in color first.

1 Like

Yeah I can see why you did that! =)

1 Like