Subtle beauty

Image Description

I took this image last week. We were literally in the middle of a Sand storm. I was nervous about my lens getting damaged by the blowing sand hitting it directly (not sure if that is possible or not) so I waited until the sand calmed down a bit before I started photographing. It is almost monochromatic but I really love its softness of it.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I have never photographed sand dunes so one of the things I found the hardest was focusing if there was wind or low light. Even manual focus was challenging. I enjoyed the simple beauty and even if some of my images aren’t sharp, I think I am ok with it. It conveys the feeling of the moment.

General critique is always welcome

Technical Details

Nikon d810
F11, 1/800 ISO 640

Minimally processed


Martha, the level of mystery shown here looks great. The grey “humps” of dunes in the foreground grab my attention and move the view nicely to the distant mountains. I like the subtle bluish tints and how there are details but they take some effort to see. BTW, blowing sand may be able to scratch the anti-reflection coating on your lens, which will reduce the overall contrast that you can get with that lens although how much damage depends on the hardness of the coating, and how fast the wind is blowing. A brief exposure to the sand probably won’t do anything noticeable.

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“Sharpness is overrated.” - Keith Carter (he’s not a nature photographer per se, but his work is worth studying, if you don’t know it already).

Your photo is wonderful and has fine sharpness (or lack thereof :wink:). The soft curves of the dunes complement the soft atmosphere. I could see a 9:16 crop (cutting off the top). The very top isn’t adding much to the scene and cropping to a pano would further enhance the calm feeling of this. (It has a sense of calmness, even though you were in a sandstorm!).

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Hi Martha,
that’s a beautiful calm scene. I love the soft mood and the subtle colors.

I agree with @Bonnie_Lampley. Cropping the top of the image will also remove the most saturated blues. This will possibly add to the simplicity and calmness of the image.

Beyond that, I would not change anything.

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Thank you, @Mark_Seaver @Bonnie_Lampley and @Jens_Ober I appreciate the feedback. I usually crop my images and I don’t know why I didn’t think about cropping it.

Lovely soft colours and shapes. At first I thought it was snow! I agree with @Bonnie_Lampley that a crop off the top could trim a bit of the darkest part of the sky and makes me want to peer deeper into the horizon and explore the dunes. Also is it just me or is there a bit of pink and blue in the sky that could be pulled out a bit? I have never been to a desert but this shows the appeal. Nicely seen.

I’ll definitely crop it and yes it could be. The light changed fast after that and we got pinks, purples and yellow in the sky.