Ridge of Light

This year I am making a real effort to expand my comfort zone in landscape photography - as such, I have been trying to capture less “grand scenic” images and more intimate telephoto shots that tell a story. I would love some critique on how successful I am in my attempt here. This is one of the cooler scenes I’ve seen in my day. I know my buddy @Brent_Doerzman has about 4000 shots of this ridge but this is my first and I really love the story it tells me, personally. One of hope, one of intent… one of inspiration.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

I love post-processing tips and anything else you think would help to make this image stand out more. I’m already thinking a crop might help…

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Really, anything - based on what I shared above, I’d love some feedback on how successful I was in my attempt… thank you =)

Any pertinent technical details:

ISO 100, 1/100s, 300mm, f/8

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.
1 Like

Matt, I love the sentiment of what you’re trying to do, I’m kinda getting sick of the “grand scenic” as I feel it’s all becoming the same ol, same ol… So good on you for trying to push yourself. I love scenes like the one above, great color, simple overall shapes and beautiful light. I guess when I’m looking at your image I’m thinking to myself…How could I push those 3 elements even more? Maybe it’s too literal and could be more abstract? I don’t know if I have a solid answer but if I had this scene in front of me that’s what I’d play with. I think you’re right about wanting to crop it, it feels a little bottom heavy to me. I also wonder if it might be a bit stronger without the little “break” in the trees on the left so that the color goes from edge to edge? Just some thoughts, hope it helps.

1 Like

I don’t know Matt. Its not working for me on some level. The background is so vast that it just seems to be saying “look at me” but its just to dim. I would almost think it might be better to darken that background some to let the ridge do all the talking if that makes sense.

Or possibly, crop the scene from the top to just above the second ridge line, leaving just a trace of those background trees. This leaves a darker background that is void of color and thus allows the trees in the light to really give a sense of hope that more trees will grow.

Just my 2 cents.


And you did well, @Matt_Payne to try something more personal. You’ll be rewarded :blush:
I agreed with @Youssef_Ismail, for me in the image there is so much beauty that my mind does not know where to focus on. I think that a crop of the upper part would be the best solution cause I find the trees in the foreground a great subject.

1 Like

That’s what I was thinking too - appreciate the feedback!

Thanks @John_Scane - that’s very helpful advice as well. I will play with these ideas!

Beautiful light and color on the ridge line. I would agree with the other posters about the background. I might consider a pano crop, leaving the dark background and making the image all about the ridge.

I think this is a very cool scene and image. The ridge of aspens really grabs my attention up front. Then I begin the wander through the image and tend to get caught up in the background. I think it’s for 2 reasons… the size and the color tone. I played just a little with a crop. I think the background adds, but cropping it down. I also played with some slight dodging in the middle ground, and finally some color balance changes in he background to shift it from a blue/cyan to a warmer yellow/red. Not a huge shift, but a little. Here’s the result. Very cool thought and use of a longer lens.

1 Like

Hi Matt!

Really striking image! I’m very envious that you have such amazing colours in Autumn where you live!

A few things that i’d suggest that would improve the image for me personally;

  1. I would crop in a bit from the left and right to gt rid of that patchy part on the left with no leaves and also the beam of light spilling ono the dark bottom on the right. This would give the image a more uniform look.

  2. The middle ground above the yellow trees and below the blue tinted background, i would darken to get better separation between the yellow and blue. It would also make the image more abstract.

I have done an example edit to illustrate my point. I hope this has been helpful!

1 Like


Photography is based on light - and you have that in spades here. What a terrific and unique set up having that line of trees all lit up with the rest of the landscape in shadow.

I happen to like the expansive bg as it helps provide depth and scale. I think there’s something in the processing that maybe is having an impact. It’s like the saturation is a little too much - and effecting the bg; it’s unusual to consider saturation levels in shadow areas, but given the amount of real estate of the bg, I think it comes in to play.

Side note - what happened to the download feature? I was going to play with this, but now I don’t see the download. Oh well.

Anyway, I think the tree line is also a bit too saturated. Also as an alternative crop, perhaps shaving a bit off the detail-less dark bottom rather than cropping from the top? Ultimately, I really like how they play together. I’d say some processing tweaks and this could really sing.


Yeah I’m liking this a lot more - thanks for the example too!

Hey Miguel, thanks, this really helps a lot!

1 Like