St. Elias Range & Aspens + Rework


Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction

Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.

Questions to guide your feedback

The expanse of Alaska and Yukon is breath-taking. It is a challenge to portray. Can you feel it ?

Other Information

Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.

Image Description

Early morning light bathes the St. Elias Range and a small stand of aspens towering over the Black Spruce forest in Kluane NP, Yukon.

Technical Details

Canon EOS 5D IV; Canon EF 28-70mm @ 53mm; f/22 @ 1/39 sec, -1 EV, ISO 100; Gitzo tripod, RRS BH 55; remote trigger

Specific Feedback

Whatever you wish, positive or otherwise.

Bob, this is just my personal opinion so take it for what it is. You’ve definately shown the vastness but sometimes vastness can be too vast. If that makes any sense. I think I would have ditched the wide angle and chosen a longer focal length to concentrate on the aspens and mountains. JMHO

1 Like

Thank you @Michael_Lowe for your comments. My next photo that morning was a tight telephoto, even more so than your cropped version. However, I chose not to add it because I did not want to violate any rules about multiple images of different scenes. Now, since you included a variation, I will add my own second shot. The sense of openness is really diminished

A beautiful image that captures the space.
I agree with the previous comment that the yellow trees may be too far away. Why not try the square format?
And on a side note, the horizon is slightly tilted…
I like the second image, which highlights the simultaneity of autumn and winter.

Thank you @Michael_Lowe and @Discours for your comments. We are all correct and incorrect about this image, as presented. Each has zoomed in somewhat but that does not convey the vastness I want. It actually makes it less vast because of the cropping of the sides. I believe a slight crop on the sides will help but not as much as others have chosen. The extreme telephoto compresses the image making the distance between the aspens and the mountains seem small. There is another range of hills between the aspens ant the taller mountains.

My ultimate decision, which was made decades ago, is based on what is the subject, how to best place it on the image and not diminish the sense of vastness? I chose the mountain range and the aspens as the subject, Which is why I made this image initially. To have it be prominent without zooming in. I chose to crop from the bottom eliminating the bottom two horizontal green and orange areas so the subject(s) occupy the bottom third of the image. I reformatted the image to 3x2 ratio, making the sky and clouds fill the upper two thirds of the image. Everyone has an idea how large clouds can be. Th have them occupy so much space gives a hint as to the size of the depicted area.

We all carry an idea in our mind how tall mountains are. In this image the peaks are 13,000 feet tall or more. With the cloud-filled sky immediately above and filling the top two-thirds of the scene our mind interprets the relative size of the rest of the image.

The horizon is horizontal, not inclined, and does not need correction. You can verify this by opening the image in Photoshop and dragging a guide into the aspens and placing it over one of the prominent trunks. The mountains align along the coast of Yukon and Alaska. The coast bends to the west and what you see here is alt least one hundred miles long. The farther away they are the smaller they appear.
I have posted a rework.

I like your rework Bob. Have you ever been on the Denali Hwy? I’ve been to Alaska twice and both times was impressed by the scenery and vastness along the drive. This looks like the scenery I encountered.

Thank you @Michael_Lowe for your comments. Your iteration was close to what I did when posting to my website in 2015.
Yes, I have driven the Denali Highway, many times both ways. That’s 135 miles of beauty between Cantwell and Paxton. I’ve camped along that road and made some exquisite images, in my humble opinion, along the road.
I drove up to Alaska in 2015. I spent three months there exploring everywhere I could drive my modified Toyota 4Runner, on whatever they called roads and sometimes they were two ruts in the dirt/mud. If I couldn’t drive to a spot I hired a pilot/small aircraft and flew to the location.
Between Kodiak Island and the mainland, if you’re interested, I have nearly 200 images from Alaska posted on my personal website. I don’t do “Social Media.” I don’t know NPNs rules about posting one’s URL, but all you need is to search for my name, Bob Faucher, and you will find me among a few others, 3-5, with the same name.