Sandstone Shadows

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


I just reworked this one this morning and am fairly pleased with it I think. I’m not sure whether to ask for an initial reaction on this one so I won’t. On that particular day I marveled at the shadows made by the late afternoon sun. The rocks seem to glow just before sunset.

Specific Feedback

Does this image move you in any way? It’s an abstract in a way so it’s ‘not about something’. I’m wondering if this color caste is the best choice. It’s using the sunlight WB. Theoretically I could change this to any color and probably get away with it.

Technical Details

GFX50R, 45-100mm, focus stacked, f/11


This is a great unknown. Is it arial or a slice of a smaller scene? It makes me want to run my hands over it. Like Braille…it begs to be touched. The river of gold that flows is really wonderful. The pinpoint with the shadow is quite the focus point. It’s intriguing all around.

Well, I had an initial reaction: Damn! He’s gone and got a drone! Oh, wait, uh, he’s doing macro now. Er, wait, it’s a wall. No, it’s… fascinating, that’s what it is. Composition and detail are wonderful and that shadow grabs me. And then there is the other one with a piece of grass. I’m speechless for suggestions. Print and hang. In a gallery.

Yeah, I’d be pleased with this also. Both @_Kris and @Diane_Miller have made really good points. My first thought was that you had bought a drone also. There is absolutely no scale to this so it really forces you to think and it racks your brain. The fact that there are no other shadows other than the pebble/rock/boulder is astonishing. In the end, its kind of whatever you want this image to be. I have no ideas on how to make this better.

Hi Igor.
I think you are right, the color could be whatever, the composition just works. I think what really makes it for me is the one shadowed object. Gives a nice focus to the photo. I also appreciate the way you framed everything.

Hi Igor,

I love the lines and texture in this image. For me, I want the color to stay the same because I want to know that this is the magic of sandstone cliffs. Riding that line between realistic and abstract works well here.

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Brilliant! As others have mentioned, the lack of scale right away makes for a very intriquing and almost mysterious image. The very bright nature of the rock temper that mystery for me… but that little pea of a rock and it’s shadow totally anchor this scene.

At first I was hit with the overall brightness of the scene, but have come to decide just how appropriate it is - specifically in relationshipe to the little (relative?) rock and it’s shadow. Maybe a clever (and unoriginal) title might be “Me and My Shadow”?

I have no suggestions for improvement. I had a brief thought as to whether or not you should do something with the small piece of grass intruding on the lower right edge, but more and more I’m learning that more times than not that the goal is not to remove every little thing that appears to be a distraction, but to consider whether or not it’s adding to the scene and/or story. And that little piece of grass - and more importantly, it’s shadow, absolutely adds to the scene. Now that I think about it, that’s IS the one thing in this image that does bring scale to this image.

I’ll just close by repeating myself. Brilliant.

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I adore images where a very small part makes the whole image for me, and the pebble with its shadow is a poster-child. (I’m ambivalent about the grass. It doesn’t bring more to the table for my tastes, but it doesn’t distract me either; I would leave it just as is.)

As others have mentioned, the scale takes a moment to be appreciated; it truly does look like an aerial view at first glance. The soft pastel, the texture of the sandstone, and the interesting lines add so much, but that pebble really sticks the landing. It reminds me of images of the Sahara with animals far below, where the animal is hard to see but the long shadows are dramatic…


Like this?

I just noticed something strange. The shadow on the pebble suggests that light is coming from the right. The ‘scars’ tell you the light is coming from the left.

Exactly what I was thinking of. :slightly_smiling_face:

Hey Igor!

I was in full swing to respond with “This is totally contradictory” in my mind because the light seems to be coming from two directions at once. :open_mouth: Not only that but the light from the right is very low and strong since it’s creating a long and hard shadow of the tombstone while the light from the left is much higher up and weaker because it doesn’t seem to be filling in any of the hard shadow with fill light. :thinking:

Either way, it is a mind twister and downright intriguing. :smiley:

You know what else? After you wrote the comment about camels and shadows that image of camels and shadows appeared on my Facebook timeline. How’s that for a coincidence? No coincidence. Facebook is reading the NPN comments and using them to get more clicks. What else is it using for from my cache? How is it getting away with this?

Wow; just wow. :flushed:

I’ll just echo what everyone’s said - this is a mind bender. The scale is ambivalent as is the light, as you noted:

I’ve seen this phenomenon before, where a concave feature looks convex. Cool.


@Lon_Overacker, @Bonnie_Lampley, @_Kris, @Merv, @David_Haynes, @John_Williams, @Cameron_Wilcox, @Diane_Miller

Thank you for your comments and observations.

Don’t know how I feel about this one. It was sort of an experiment that has grown on me. I think I would like to do more of this sort of thing but just haven’t seen an opportunity.

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