Sunrise on the Tundra

This was a beautiful, chill morning on the high tundra of Rocky Mountain National Park. I came over the rise to find a field of wildflowers in front of the sun breaking through the distant rain and just starting to light the FG flowers.

Specific Feedback Requested

I’m looking for any and all feedback. My particular question: is there too much going on? Do the FG flowers, the sun-star, and the verga combine or destract?

Technical Details

1/8 sec. at f/18, 24mm, ISO 125. Processed from RAW in Lightroom.


Wow! What a beautiful moment in a beautiful place! Was this a crop of a taller frame or did you do multiple shots?

I think, personally, that the very foreground flowers don’t do much for the pano shot. If they were in focus it would be more of a consideration, but even then I’m not sure they add to the overall feel of the scene. Here’s a pano without them:


Or, you have quite a few options if you go with an 8x10 aspect ratio:

In all three cases though. I think you would need to do some healing/cloning along the bottom and side edges of the frame so that there aren’t flowers or partial flowers too close to the edge pulling the eye out of the image. Just my quick thoughts.

Hi Matthew! This is a beautiful scene with the wonderful light in the sky, and then all the sunkissed wildflowers in the foreground. I like how the crop emphasizes the sky’s light, though I wish there was something more for my eye to settle on. As you mentioned, there are a lot of elements going on, the sun star, the foreground rock, the flowers, and the light in the sky. All of these things are quite equally weighted so none of them truly take the lead. I would be curious if you have some photos before the sun peaked above the horizon when there was perhaps some nice light on those clouds but where the sun doesn’t draw attention away from the foreground. Another approach would be to lose a bit more of the foreground (cropping above the rock) so the story becomes a bit more about the sky and the rolling hills of green. Also, I would be curious if you have some verticals with far more foreground to place a bit more visual weight on the foreground versus the sun. In any case, it is a lovely scene and sure must have been great to experience.

Thanks for the input. I like your first crop; what an improvement. This is a single image.

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Great suggestions. How about this?

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What a sweet scene!
Those grasses at front don’t help much but dang the rest of the image is golden.

Thanks! I revised it to the attached.


This is a very beautiful and striking alpine image. I think your initial description of coming upon the “field of flowers” is at the heart of the image and so for that, the more foreground retained the better. However, I do agree with some others the slightly out of focus light-lavendar flowers in the LR are just slightly distracting. Either I wish they were in sharp focus, like in a focus stack, OR not included. And as much as I wouldn’t want to lose foreground, I think your 2nd to last version cropping just enough - and leaving the large rock is your best compromise. I do like Adam’s crops as well.

The last version crop is beautiful in its own right for a glorious sunrise and storm view, but that feeling of “The Hills Are Alive” and the expanding alpine meadow don’t come across as well.

Definitely a “wish I were there” moment y ou’ve captured.