The Badlands

Processing images has taken somewhat a backseat in the past month or so for me so it is very wholesome to be back at it again this morning. A somewhat classic scene from Death Valley taken earlier this year. As always, all critiques and feedbacks are welcome.

Nikon D750, 200mm, f/16, 1/10, ISO 160



On my screen it looks a bit underexposed and has a slight blue/cyan tint.

Thanks, @Tony_Siciliano! That’s interesting. I just recalibrated my monitor on Wednesday but I did not change the brightness setting on my monitor. The histogram looks okay here, but I will have to compare it with some of my other images.

Screen Shot 2020-10-02 at 9.40.46 AM

Whoops, I made a mistake. I meant to say overexposed.

I made a mistake, meant to say overexposed. Sorry!

I love the composition you made here Adhika! Such soft light. I love the colors and even the slight magenta cast in the image but also the orange band of mounds going through the middle of the scene. I pretty much like everything about this scene and how you processed it. I can’t think of anything that would make this image better. Well done!

Gorgeous, Adhika! It is on the high-key side but that works for an abstract like this. Could be interpreted so many ways, all the way down to a mysterious low-key. I love the jumble of shapes and colors – well seen!


I do like the high key look you chose. The strong jig jag flow from the LRC to the URC does a nice job of leading the viewer through the scene. I am undecided about the dark splash of “chocolate” in the right center of the scene. It does add interest, but it also carries a lot of weight for me.

Exquisite Adhika. True eye candy; no nits to add.

The high-key pastel presentation works well for me here. I often see high contrast renditions of Zabriski but I like this softer rendition.

Beautiful, Adhika. Serene and painterly look and nicely understated. No nits here.

It is an interesting take on this scene. Slight overexposure is not a problem to me. I like unconventional photos like this. Colors are nice and details are pretty crisp too. Well done…Jim

This is a beautiful image @Adhika_Lie !

I absolutely love the pastel colors here. And the composition leads your eye though the image and back again. Evokes warmth and joy. It’s especially resonating with me now as I’ve spent the past 2 days researching for a trip I’m taking myself to Death Valley in April. I hope I can find something just as beautiful.

The only critique I’d add, is that it looks to be well exposed, but (and this is just my opinion), I’d would probably add a bit more contrast. I understand you’re going for the high key look, and it’s amazing. But I’d probably burn the shadows just a touch. But that’s about the only thing I’d do to it. (And I’m no professional so take with a grain of salt. :slight_smile: ) Absolutely beautiful!

Thanks, @David_Haynes, @Diane_Miller, @Alan_Kreyger, @John_Williams, @Nathan_Klein, @Harley_Goldman, @Jim_Zablotny, @Barbara_Livieri!

Good observation, Alan. I was attracted to this scene because it reminds me of babka bread and I’d like to think that it is largely motivated by that chocolate part.

Good luck, Barbara! You will have a great time there. Let me know if you want to bounce ideas about where to go there.


I was not familiar with babka bread. I looked it up, but did not know it by that name, and so I learned something today! When at DV I thought that area looked like an ice cream sundae! Either way, good stuff and a fine image on you part.

I didn’t know about it either until I found the recipe in April. I am getting pretty good at it. Oh, the things we learn during this lockdown. :laughing:

I would not change a thing about this. Just love the almost ‘gentle’ vibe it exudes. While that may be somewhat incongruous with the nature of the place, it’s a wonderful personal interpretation. Reality is overrated.

We need more such ‘interpretation’!

Thanks @rjWilner! I totally agree with what you said, there needs to be room for personal interpretation.

Adhika, this is a wonderful abstract. I like the overall brightness and how that works with the shapes and textures.

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Adhika, if I were to visit DV, this is the type of image I would make. I am drawn to shapes and their relationships, to color transitions, to scenes without a clear sense of scale, to tactile textures, and to geologically expressive landforms, all of which this one has.

I also like the energy flow from lower right to left center edge and then to upper right by virtue of the lines.

I wonder if a bit more vignette with the goal of decreasing the contrast around the edges would create an advantageous highlighting of the central portion of the image without having to increase the saturation, since the vibrancy is so perfect as is. It’s like sculpted ice cream.

Well done.

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