Rustic Falls, Orcas Island, Washington

Found this waterfall with nice fallen log and textured ferns on Orcas island.

Specific Feedback Requested

general critique

Technical Details

Sony A1 with Sony 16-35mm at 24 mm, ISO50 at f16 at 1/4 sec
processed in PhotoShop

Hi Larry, I’m another fellow Sony a1 shooter so it’s nice to meet one on NPN. Lovely scene and image with some great mossy covered rocks, trees, and ferns. I like the fallen log across the top of the small waterfall and the tree with moss covered branches in the background.

I have a few suggestions for your image.

  1. The original image felt a bit uneven to me. There is no true horizon so I used the top of the waterfall to sort of gauge where a level horizon may be. Correction done in Lightroom. No other changes done.

  2. In Photoshop, I duplicated the layer and then added a Gaussian Blur adjustment. This helps me see where the bright spots are in the image especially around the edges. I like this technique to apply dodging/burning, to control contrast, and to direct the eye to main elements of the image. Credit to Charlotte Gibb for the technique.

  3. I created a dodge/burn layer and with the Gaussian Blur layer enabled, I darkened the bright spots around the frame and brightened parts of the fern, the log, the mossy rock, the waterfall, and the center tree with mossy branches.

  4. I applied a slight Orton Effect for the highlights including the waterfall.

  5. I applied a Curves adjustment to bring up the luminosity in the mid tones and highlights.

Final result below:

Let me know if you have any questions.

1 Like

Thanks Alfredo. I will play with some of your suggestions.

1 Like

What a powerful scene this must have been to see. The waterfall is nice but that huge tree really captures your imagination. The only suggestion I have is to slightly crop off the left to remove those 4 bright moss intrusions that enter from the left frame.

This is such beautiful light and an amazing scene. It makes me think of some of the Woodlands close by my house. I do agree with some of the other comments on here already, but I do think with the composition there is some ability to reduce the clutter. If you look at the left side and the right side, there is a lot of tree fall and some sticks that take away from the glory of the waterfall. Sometimes a simple crop can do the job, but other times you should take a few frames in the field just to be sure that you got some thing that might work all in all love the shot and love waterfalls. You did a great job here.


A wonderful scene, beautifully captured. What is ironic here, is that I don’t think this would be anywhere near as impactful if the big tree was still standing… What a great statement and nature story with the fallen tree’s presence.

I’ll echo the comments about the few things on the left edge. You could crop, but that ould make things too tight on that side and the large trunk in the UL. Rather than crop, I think some quick and simple darkening/desaturation of those mosses on the left would reduce the distraction.

Oh, and I’m really loving Alfredo’s version. Just the right amount of pop without going over board. Your original works quite naturally as presented, so it’s really just about personal preference.

Excellent. Beautifully seen and photographed.


Dramatic scene that tells a story Larry. Well seen and captured. Composition and shutter speed wonk well. I also like Alfredo’s suggestions.