Reflection on autumn

Edited (v1)

Edited (v2)


Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


My campsite was already in chilly shade when I arrived, but the reflected light in the lake warmed me up. The ambiguity of the rock and upside down reflections captured my mood after a strange day.

Specific Feedback

Any and all feedback welcome, thanks!

Technical Details

Canon EOS RP + RF24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM @ 70 mm
1/20 s at f/11, ISO 100
Lightroom processing of shadows, slight dehaze and cropping.

Hi Cathy, and welcome!

I love these images that disorient, and I think you have just the perfect amount of foreground to give that touch of reality that makes the image so enjoyable.

My only thought would be to tame that brightest area of yellows in the upper right; it tends to snag my eye and dropping the luminosity just a little there would let the image flow from bottom right rock to the ulc just a little better.

I believe that ambiguity is an important part of creating a captivating image. You have done that here. I think you could have furthered that cause by having the rock take a bigger part of the overall image. But yes, having the rock lay on the mountain invites curiosity. One suggestion perhaps would be to dodge the rock a bit to make it stand out.

Hi @Cathy_Proenza - great to see you here! =)
I agree with @John_Williams on his assessment here - I think if you were able to slightly tone down the brightest areas it will be much better. Nice image!

Hi Cathy and welcome to NPN! What a great photo. That reflection is so sharp the rock “floating” on the mountain is quite surreal.

I agree with both John and Igor - toning down the highlights (especially the bright yellows) and lightening the rock would elevate this even further into the surreal.

@John_Williams @Igor_Doncov @Matt_Payne @Bonnie_Lampley Thank you all for your comments! I’m ate up with disorienting, ambiguous, slightly surreal images lately, so glad to see that resonates with others.

Matt – I’m here thanks to you! Great suggestion!!

I made some tweaks in Lightroom following the great suggestions – I decreased luminance for the yellows in the URC and dodged the rock using an object mask refined by color range. I think it reads better now. Have I done enough? Can you detect my unskilled editing and, if so, can you suggest better ways to accomplish these goals?

It’s better, but those yellows are still overwhelming to my eye. The rock could be even brighter, too. Here’s a screenshot of what I’m thinking - I used the same adjustments you did, just took them a bit further.

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Thanks for the example! I see that your edit enhances the idea of the rock sitting on top of the reflected image. I was afraid to do too much.

While taming the brightest of the yellows is a great idea, I’m not sold on killing the overall reflection. While I like the idea of brightening the rock to help it stand out a bit more, I prefer the yellow to still be the star of the show. Here’s a stab at that, adjusting just the brightest of the yellows and bringing up the rock a little (but not too much). I also think you have some nice contrasting blue lurking in the llc; I tried to bring that out a little too.

I’m with @John_Williams, but I tend to like saturation and maybe even a bit too much for others.

Hi, Cathy - I’ll echo everyone else’s “welcome”. This is an amazing group of people and I’m sure you’ll enjoy participating on these forums.

I love images like this that don’t immediately reveal their secrets. The 2nd edit is definitely my favorite as the colors appear much more natural, yet still nicely saturated. Heckuva first image to post!

@John_Williams @Jim_Gavin @Bret_Edge
Thanks for the feedback and welcomes. It seems like a great community and I love it that people have different preferences, that there’s not a single right answer. That is very freeing. I think need to let this image rest for a while so I can see it with fresh eyes but any changes will be minor and overall I’m really happy with it .

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It’s a beautiful and intriguing shot. I had the same reaction as Bonnie and I like the second edit best.

1 Like