Thread the Needle

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


This was taken on the 4th of July some years ago. I wanted to celebrate the explosions in nature rather than man, so I headed out to the Everglades for the afternoon. They didn’t disappoint. I started out in one location where I captured lightning. Then I moved on to this one where afternoon thunderstorms were just blowing up. This one really caught my eye with the seemingly hole growing in the middle of the thundercloud.
This was facing due south around 6:30pm, the sun was pretty high in the sky as it was still a couple of hours before sunset.

Specific Feedback

I’m open to any and all feedback if anyone sees anything I should address. The color version was extremely blue and there wasn’t much I could do to tame it while still showing the contrast in the clouds. I do love black and white storm cloud photos though. Its all about the drama.

Technical Details

This was shot and processed as an HDR to capture all the detail in the sky. I was shooting with a Nikon D7100 and a kit lens back then.
1/60, 1/250, and 1/15 sec shutter speeds combined
f/18 aperture
100 ISO
I did global adjustments to brighten up the image, then local adjustments to reduce the highlights of the brightest areas and upped the shadows in the bottom portion with the land and trees.

Critique Template

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Very dramatic clouds. Feels as if the dark clouds are trying to prevent entry into the bright area - but failing. Great catch!

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I really love this. Nothing else to add!

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Very cool, Barbara. I love the bright center and the general formation of the clouds as well as the column of rain falling from them. I could see darkening the cloud a bit more and maybe boosting the mid-tone contrast in them to make them even more dramatic, but that depends on where you want to take the image.

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Thanks Dennis. I’ll give it a go. I’ve historically been pretty heavy handed when it comes to making dramatic clouds so now I’m a little leery to push it. lol I had a photo of a huge thundercloud with a strike of lightning that I had printed for a thing our camera club did. Cranked the dehaze and clarity something awful on that. :sweat_smile: Now the image forever lives on the kitchen wall at my company’s office. I cringe every time I see it.

Barbara: Well this one is certainly not cringe worthy. Well seen and a wonderful capture of a marvelous moment. >=))>

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Haha, no, not cringe. For some reason all of my older images are super saturated. Maybe some preset I had applied upon import, I don’t know. I went back after posting this here yesterday and reprocessed some of them. I had to pull the blues WAY down.
But yeah, I was certainly lucky to come upon this cloud when I did. Thanks!

Barbara, this is a great look at these two growing thunderstorms. How nice to have a bit of falling rain also. I like how subtle your processing to the clouds and sky is. Yes, you could push for more contrast (drama) in the clouds, but the subtlity shown here has it’s own benefit. I would suggest burning-in the brightness in the upper right corner.

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Thanks Mark. I’m kind of leaning toward leaving the contrast where it is. I don’t want that lower right part of the cloud getting too black. And I wondered if that top right cloud should be removed. I considered cloning it out, but I’ll try to darken it some. Thanks for your comment!

Florida can certainly produce some amazing clouds. You did a beautiful job with the capture and the processing. I like your b/w choice - sometimes color just distracts from the shapes too much.