Sunrise Island

This image is one of the series I ting last fall in an old, flooded quarry in Czechia. I posted a photo from this location before, but this one has unique lighting on it, which occurs only during a few short autumn weeks. The small island is surrounded by the high and shadowed walls of Table Mountains, while the water and the trees are bathed in the early morning light (approx. 1-1,5h after the sunrise). It is a small gem around here which I always visit during autumn trying to capture its most spectacular appearance.

Self Critique (click to reveal)

My usual question is for CTC: Composition, Tonalities, Colors. I often struggle to decide if the final effect looks natural since RAW files are always so flat and dull. I’m always afraid that I did go either overboard or not far enough with my processing. I usually end up with a slightly lower overall contrast of the final image and try to balance warm and cold tones.

Technical Details


Hi Andrzej,

I think the composition here is fine, I love the spotlight on the group of trees in the center against the dark background, and that strip of sunlit mist on the lake looks great. My only issue compositionally is the little speckles of light on the trees against the left edge. I would work on toning those down a little more either spot healing some of them out or killing them with some darkness/reduced contrast so they feel flat, some color adjustments would be needed too in order to cool them down.

Overall the scene feels a bit yellow to me, so I think the white balance can be cooled slightly. This will give you even more separation as that shadow cools down and juxtaposes with the warm trees more. I think you can desaturate the greens slightly as well, they feel a little neon and compete with the beautiful yellows, reds, and oranges.

Hope this helps!

Your friend,

1 Like

Hi @Eric_Bennett,

Thank you very much for your thoughts - I appreciate all of them. :+1: And sorry for the late reply - I’ve had a few busy days lately.

It’s great that you’ve pointed out the bright spots in the leaves close to the left side - I’ve never thought about them as a distraction. I’ll work on them and most probably clone them out. As for colors - I’m still trying to get them right, but I see what you mean about them being too yellow overall. I’m still trying to balance them properly. I’ve worked with greens, but they still shout too loud - I’ll have to trim them a little more. :wink:

Thanks again and I hope to see you around here soon!