Storm Light Along the Kancamagus in Spring

Early morning storm light from the summit of Kancamagus Pass in New Hampshire, taken in late May 2020. While the Kancamagus highway is famous as a fall foliage destination, it can be a nice place to shoot in spring as well.

The foreground trees were pretty much unavoidable, if I wanted to get the wider view. So I tried to minimize them as much as possible. Do folks find the foreground trees to be too distracting, or are they reasonably effective as a framing element ?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any critique or comments are welcome.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Blend of 3 exposure brackets for dynamic range. Manual blend using TK luminosity masks.


I have been here in autumn, but I like your spring take. The foreground trees are not distracting and serve as a good anchor for the image.

This image does say spring very nicely. It’s like that here now outside my window, 3000 miles away. The foreground bushes do get in the way, but they also add to the image. The simpler image without them would probably be less interesting. The pine top sticking behind the bushes would probably add a lot if the foreground was missing, but in this case it probably should be removed?

Lovely image. The foreground trees are not a distraction for me. My nit is that the light/dark interplay seems a bit unatural. The dark clouds and the dark trees on the right seem too dark for the light mountain in the background and the trees in the foreground.

I am with @Igor_Doncov on that pine tree but overall I am still undecided about the foreground. It is a bit cluttered to me but it does frame the scene in this wider view. The sky is gorgeous. I really like that lighter part of the clouds and how it is located right above the peak of the mountain. It’s very effective to draw in the eyes into the background.

I don’t mind the foreground trees. I agree about removing the pine sticking out and I would consider burning the foreground trees to encourage the eye to move towards the mountain and the storm light.

Ed, in these kind of images I think the foreground is part of the environment at this place. It belongs there and is therefore a welcome part in the image. Without it , the mood of the place should be gone ! Love the colors BTW.

An interesting image, Ed…I do like the look of the foregrounds trees, nice colors and textures. But, for me, the image seems awkward. The impending doom that those low clouds provide is at odds with an otherwise pastoral scene. I would vote the pine tree out.

@Igor_Doncov @Adhika_Lie @Nathan_Klein @Stephen_Stanton @Tony_Siciliano @Eva_McDermott
thank you all for taking the time to comment on my image, I appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Due to it’s easy access, I have shot at this location many times, and definitely have a love/hate relationship with the foreground trees. Because this is taken from a scenic viewpoint, the US Forest Service does periodic pruning of them. This spring they were in need of a haircut (like many of us during the pandemic lockdown :grin: ).

Here is a rework with the spruce tree removed, and some burning along the bottom edge. I think it works better, thanks for the help !!!


Real nice spring image, Ed. I like the changes on the rework. The foreground looks natural to me and gives me a nice lead in to the image. Love the light.

I like your rework. Now my eye focuses more on the light :+1:

Works much better for me, nice adjujstments.

I enjoy the re-work. The foreground trees are no longer the most luminous part of the scene. The middle distance hills are a bit atonal to my eye. If you wish, you could emphasize the mottled light and shadows in those and in the God rays. The attached is a bit heavy handed, but you get the idea.