The Bastion +edit

Edit based on feedback:

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Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


In general I find I like my photographs much better if I am methodical and contemplative, an almost Zen like approach as I try to put together what I’m after. Sometimes, though, I feel like throwing caution to the wind, pulling to the side of the road, sticking the camera out the rolled down window, and taking a snapshot (What is it that drives me to take these risks…)

I was out prowling rural Oregon last week, and on the return trip the Columbia River Gorge had moody clouds clinging to the rim. I pulled over a few times to photograph, and this is the first of three.

Specific Feedback

The ridgeline is a little farther from the outcrop than I would have preferred, but I did like the effect of watcher high above. How much does that bother you? (I could fix that in Photoshop, but always prefer to be faithful to the scene if it’s not a big deal.)

I commonly tint monochrome images, but went straight neutral with this one. Does that work for you?

As always, any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

Technical Details

NIKKOR Z 24-200 f/4-6.3 VR at 200 mm
1/1250 sec. at f/11.0 and ISO 800

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Hi John,
I like the combination of drama and stillness here. It’s hard to capture those two things together. It’s like holding one’s breath. Regarding your questions, the distance between the lower outcrop and upper ridgeline doesn’t bother me. Would it be interesting to see it reduced by 25%? Maybe, but I like the fact that I feel like we have to reach up to the rest of the image.

Regarding tinting, this looks good to me. I’m not sure whether you would go for a cooler tint or more of a sepia tone? As presented, it has a classic, Carleton Watkins feel. With a warming tint, it might feel too much like Watkins.

Nice work, and glad you came home with your car door intact.

Oh I like this one! That “echo” from the bottom to the top is really cool. I wonder if taking a little off the bottom, 5x7 or 4x5 may give the feeling of shortening the distance without having to get creative in photoshop. I also wondered about darkening the foreground landform and leaving the upper part alone. Create some contrast and depth I think.

The straight black and white is nice. I messed with a few from DV by adding a reddish brown tone that I like as well. This one could be nice with a cooler tint to it.

For a quick shot, it still has that zen like feel you strive for. The tone works great for me and I love how the top trees seem to be hovering in the clouds. Excellent work IMHO

Maybe a bit more contrast in the fog. I don’t know…

This image really “works” for me. I do like the ideas suggested by @David_Wallace and @Igor_Doncov regarding more contrast at the bottom. I believe the strength of B&W lies in the strong play of contrasts. The mists and the trees at the top are what attract me. With a bit more contrast, I think this is a keeper. As for tones, I would favor a cool rather than a warm tone if you were inclined to move away from the neutral.

I simply Love this image!

It feels otherworldly. I love the disconnect created by your framing and the clouds in-between the “peaks” It feels like a scene from a grand adventure akin to LOTR

I too long for stronger contrast in the bottom of the image… the greys work of course… but it feels like it needs an anchor at the bottom that makes me desire the climb out of the darkness if that makes sense…


Thanks @Marylynne_Diggs @David_Wallace @Michael_Lowe @Igor_Doncov @Barbara_Djordjevic and @freddie (Welcome Freddie!) for the amazing feedback!

I’ve added an edit trying to apply the suggestions (except still left it untoned). Did I go far enough?

@John_Williams THANK YOU for the warm welcome

I really like the new version… the subtle additional contrast in the cloud layer combined with a further anchoring of the bottom of your image makes me feel like I’m looking at a work of high Art…

John, I like the original image you posted best of all the suggestions and edits here. IMHO, I think the darkened bottom is too heavy, I like the larger rock bastion on the bottom as is. I absolutely love all that cloudy mist between the top tree line and the bottom rocky outcrop. I think the lighter version gives more of an ethereal vibe to this.

I agree with @freddie and feel the idea of high art fits.

This is dripping with mood John! I went back and forth several times between the two versions trying to decide which is my favorite. I am leaning towards the edit FWIW. I would leave the upper ridgeline where it is as I think it mirrors the one below rather nicely. You definitely were in the right place at the right time even if it meant pulling over to the side of the road. The neutral B&W processing looks great and I think you made the right call. Print this baby large and hang it!

In the image I put on my website, I split the difference for the darker bottom. :upside_down_face:

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