Rework 1 - Cropped in from the bottom, added a little contrast and cooled the image as suggested by @Bonnie_Lampley


I’ve been bringing my camera in the car lately when I go into town or somewhere else. I never know in winter when the conditions will change. I have been driving home some days when I wish I had it with me. Maybe it started to snow or some fog came in or the skies looked stormy. Today coming home from the gym, I decided to stop off at an abandoned farm where I have been taking some photos. After walking around a little, I decided to walk down to the river behind the farm to see if I could find an interesting composition. It was after 4:00pm and the skies were dark and looked like some rain might be coming in. Heading back to the car, I caught these reflections of trees in the river. The maple leaf was in the water, but near the side of the bank, so I found a stick and scooted it into the river. I waited for it to drift where I wanted it.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

What interested me about this composition was that the tree tops were gathered around this leaf as if watching it float down the river. I also liked the lighting. The bottom half reflected dark stormy clouds and that faded into brighter clouds.

Technical Details

Sony a7r v 24-70mm @62mm
ISO 1000


Hi Donna,

For me, I get the feeling of calm and a little bit cold. But that’s OK. I’ll tolerate a little cold for the calm. I see myself sitting there and watching the world go by.

I really like the composition of your photo. The rippled water reflecting the clouds and trees along with the tack sharp leaf works well together. Like a nice bokeh.

If I were to edit anything, I would clone out the little white dots and the larger green one.

I wouldn’t change anything else though. Composition and lighting are perfect.

Thanks for sharing

Your images are definitely improving. So far it’s been “isn’t nature wonderful?”. But this one is more sophisticated in my opinion. I like your composition but here is another possibility.



This is outstanding! I love this image! Other than cloning a few of those little white specs, I love this as presented and can’t think of anything to suggest changing.

This shows great vision and kudos to you for recognizing the potential of this scene.


@David_Starr @Igor_Doncov @Lon_Overacker I had to chuckle about the 4 white specks in the river. Beautiful Sycamore trees along with towering oak and other massive trees boarder this river. The river is filled with leaf and fallen tree debris. I spent time taking out many dark specs and other small debris. Since those white specs weren’t jumping out at me, I decided to keep them in to show that nature is not perfect :blush: . I’m thrilled that this image resonated with everyone. It was a surprise catch which I think sometimes are my best compositions. Thanks for all the kind words.

Igor, How good your words make me feel. Now I just have to keep living up to them :blush: . The first thing I did to this image was to see how a crop from the top would look. I know that vertical landscaped images tend to look too tall and need a crop which I usually do. When I cropped, I lost those tall trees at the top and the lighting and some of the ripples around them. In some ways, I thought that was what made this photo be different and stand out to me. I like your crop and figured that viewers would say they liked it better too. It does have a better aspect ratio. I might even decide later that it’s the way to go. Thank you!

Donna, I cropped it from above in order to remove some context. Rather than a leaf in a reflection of trees the intention was to make a yellow shape surrounded by irregular dark lines coming in from the sides. It’s an attempt to make it an idea rather than show reality. Your image is already about that. This tries to do it more by further abstracting the trees.

I love that! Keep doing what you’re doing and stay true to your vision because that is what expressive photography is all about. Anyway, I really like this image - both the composition and the colours. Emotionally this image impacts me but I have a hard time putting the feeling in to words… Maybe melancholy?

Late to the party here, but I wanted to say that this is wonderful - my kind of scene :wink:. That was a great idea to scoot the leaf out into the river and wait until it was where you wanted it. The gradation in light from bright to dark is super. Reflections of clouds often give these kinds of scenes a nice “background” texture.

I have a couple of suggestions, hopefully keeping in mind what you wanted. I can see a crop off the bottom, mainly because of that strong V shape that touches the edge. Along with the tall aspect, that v makes this feel bottom heavy and draws my eye down. I tried a 5x7 and I don’t think you lose too much context. I also increased the contrast a bit (with a curve) to accentuate the gradation from light to dark and cooled it just a touch to accentuate the color contrast between the water and the leaf. Maybe this has too much of a different feel than you wanted, with the idea that the leaf was floating down the river. My crop feels like the trees are worshiping the leaf.

:+1: :+1: :+1: I didn’t even notice them.

P.S. What Igor said - your photos are really becoming more sophisticated.

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A great image with a very good composition. As you say it is striking that the tree reflections all point towards the leaf placed near the middle of the image. Even if the light in the upper part is very good I am in favor of Igor`s proposed crop concentrating the viewers attention towards the pointing trees and the leaf.

It is like the trees do not want to accept the autumn/winter and try to hang on to the leaf that is left.

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You have certainly been “batting a thousand” and this one is just incredible! It evokes a sense of sad solitude that is so indicative of winter. Great work.

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This is great. It conveys a sense of loneliness but also of comfort. The single leaf with the branches that look like they are “hugging” it - so good. I dig it.

@Igor_Doncov Hmmm, I think I get that. I hear photographers say look for shapes not at the landscape. I have been concentrating more on doing this. I saw the lines of these branches all pointing toward the middle and I wanted something for them to be reaching for. I saw this pretty leaf near the bank and knew that’s what I wanted. I think what’s hard for me is putting aside the reality. I wanted to crop this photo, but then it lost the reality I had for it. Your explanation of your crop put this into words I hadn’t thought about “make it an idea rather than show reality”. I’ll defiantly have to work on that one, but I can see how that would created more unique images and that’s certainly what I’m after. Thank you for writing back and explaining this. It gives me something to think about before I snap the shutter.

@Tom_Nevesely Tom, you don’t need to express those feeling. It’s just nice to hear that you had them for my image.

@Ola_Jovall Igor is helping me to learn to leave reality aside and focus on an idea. I’ve gotten much better at cropping in on my photos, but this one was hard to do that on because I loved the lighting. I guess the thing to do is take two photos. The one thing about photography I love is that there are always things to learn. Thanks for reinforcing Igor. I have more work to do.

@Youssef_Ismail Thanks for the confidence lift. I’m hoping it’s not a phase and I can keep it up. Whew!!!

@Matt_Payne A thumbs up from Matt has really made my day :partying_face:

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@Bonnie_Lampley I really admire your photography. You and Igor saying my photos are becoming more sophisticated meant the world to me. Now I just have to keep living up to those words. I like this crop. I knew the vertical was too long, but I loved the transition from dark clouds to light and I didn’t want the bottom to look to cut off. I tried a crop from the top, but not the bottom. My mistake to make an assumption. Igor talked about not making it about a pretty nature scene and more an idea. I have started looking at compositions more as lines, angle, etc. which has taken some practice, but I think that is starting to pay off. I will apply all your suggestions and keep my light :wink: These changes do make this a better photo. Thanks for taking your time to help me.

Of course it’s a phase :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. We all go through phases. At times prolific and firing on all cylinders and at other times it’s like stuck in the mud. But the infection of the camera bug is a life long affection. Keep it up Donna.

Thanks Youssef. I’ll remember this when I get stuck in the mud and I know it will happen.

Hello Donna, I think I am a bit late with this but nonetheless wanted to share my reaction to this wonderful image. You’ve shown that we all have to keep our eyes open and find the unexpected, and you have found such a striking image. I like the original and possibly also the crop suggested by Bonny. I think that the shapes of the tree reflections all around the leaf have been very carefully thought out and crafted, and I love the gradually increasing luminance at the top of the image. I agree with not being over-worried about the little white spots: we shouldn’t need to be giving nature a rather spurious “perfection” by always feeling we must clone things out, although I suppose it does depend on ones overall aesthetic. I also love how you have caught the way the leaf is floating on the water. This is a beautiful image which I’d happily put on my wall!

Donna: This is exceptionally well seen and the rework looks perfect. Just goes to show that one can make a compelling image without magnificent subject matter. Superbly crafted shot. >=))>

@philip1 @Bill_Fach Thank you both for reviewing my image. I was very lucky to be at the right place at the right time. Your kind words give me more confidence in my photography.

Hi Donna Beautiful Shot… Yes Nature is not perfect. The lone leaf really makes the shot come together. I really like the ripples in the water. Really Nice. i wouldn’t change a thing.