Tranquil fall scene

This was taken on a cold fall morning in SW Colorado. There was a grand mountain reflection and dramatic sunrise in the lake around the bend from this shaded cove, but I was drawn to the mist and more muted colors of this quieter scene.

Specific Feedback Requested

I think the comp is busy and lacks intention. Is a crop in order. Alas, more steam/fog on the water to simplify the mid ground would have helped…

Technical Details

Sony A7riii, 70-200 f2.8 at 136mm, 1/13 sec at f/11, ISO 100. Processed in LR

Hey Jay - I can see why you were drawn to the mist! I’m not sure this composition is properly showcasing it, though - it feels like the mist is an afterthought, or that it just happened to be there as you were photographing the shoreline and trees. I suppose the composition even suggests what I’m feeling - the shoreline has a nice curve that leads me from right to the left and then… points out of frame toward where I presume there was more mist.

I do think a square crop can work a lot better to get rid of some of that busyness and focus on the important elements - basically eliminating everything extraneous above the most prominent conifer against that yellow backdrop, and below the shoreline. But then the upper-left-most yellow trees turn into a distraction against the dark conifers, and the reflection is equally distracting. I tried fixing this by crudely painting negative contrast up above and negative dehaze in the water.

I think this works better, but it still feels like I want the composition to be pointed left, as the shoreline still leads me out to that nice misty area:

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