Sunrise Service

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This image was taken about 30 minutes before my prior post. I arrived here just under an hour before this image to try to photograph the stars while they were still out, so I had some time while waiting for the sunrise. It was quite the experience to watch this scene unfold while sitting in my backpacking chair and enjoying a cup of hot coffee. Sadly, I had to lean forward and push the shutter button now and then. (Oh, the sacrifices we have to make for our passion.)

It was periodically breezy, so I had to make multiple attempts to try to catch the grass without motion and at least a recognizable reflection.

Specific Feedback

Do you prefer the bigger view, or the tighter crop? I lean towards the crop, but would love feedback.

I’ve left the shadows fairly deep here, which I suspect will be variably disconcerting. Part of that is the bias that is hard to avoid when you were there taking the image. (The dynamic range was pretty extreme; images that properly expose the sky were really blocked in the shadows.) Viewed with a dark background in a dark room though, this is where I landed.

Any thoughts or suggestions for improvement are very appreciated (even if it’s to open the shadows :grinning: ).

Technical Details

NIKKOR Z 14-30 f/4S at 14.0 mm
Four images at 1/125 sec. at f/5.6 and ISO 2500 for DOF
One image at 1/200 sec. at f/8.0 and ISO 2500 for DR where the highlights were blow on that left side.

Here’s the Blue Hour image I took of the stars about 45 minutes prior to the above. It has some issues at full-size, so I’m just posting it as a Reply instead of on its own. My main battle was the breeze, but I compounded the issue by trying to set up the composition in the dark. I would have been wiser to have set up the evening prior when @Steve_Kennedy and I were scouting this shoreline, and just left the tripod in place overnight.

I’m preferring the cropped version; I feel more “in the scene”. Those grasses, while simple, are quite pleasing, and I like their presence in that version.

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Hi John! I think both images are beautiful, but I also lean toward the cropped version. That sunrise was the most colorful sky we had on the trip and you captured it very well. Even though it was a struggle to set up in the dark, your comp is very nice, especially how you positioned the mountain to fit between the grasses.

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John: Hmmm :thinking:, I think I’ll have one of each please. I would give a slight nod to the cropped version as well but what a magnificent scene and wonderful capture. Many kudos! >=))>

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Wonderful!! Gorgeous composition and light! I love the grasses! I think the cropped version is a little more intimate but either one works so well. And I love the blue hour image – if there are flaws, I refuse to try to find them. For the sunrise image, I don’t wish for more shadow detail (did I just say that?) but the blue hour image makes me wonder about a slight cooling of the shadows. I also wonder about a slightly lower exposure of the left half of the sky.

Hot coffee and a chair? That’s cheating!

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I definitely prefer the uncropped version. The primary reason is because the mountain feels complete rather than partly removed. Another reason is that I like that bright line of water that separates water and land. Yes, the opposite shore feels more balanced in the uncropped version. It’s a lovely evening scene.

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Very nice work all around. I prefer the uncropped version of the first image. The cropped version seems a little cramped to me by comparison.

Wish I were there. :slight_smile:

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Actually, not the shadows, but I’d like to see luminosity increased a tad in the grasses. Yeah, I know the time of day is depicted accurately in your image, but I can wish…

Yet another gorgeous and stunning scene. My vote is for the wider view. Clicking between the two, it’s an easy choice for me.

Beautiful work John. So glad your trailmates have been sharing your images from this trip.


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What a great shot, and I love how you framed the mountain with the foreground grasses – very effective! I also prefer the cropped version but that’s not to say that the other is bad. I also really like the blue hour version with all of the stars visible.

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