Up River

This was one of the rare instances where we were paddling up-river. We had just lined our canoe up the rapids to this point and I was struck by the drama of the scene. I asked my wife if she would mind me pulling out my camera and taking five minutes to make this picture. She knew perfectly well that I wasn’t going to be five minutes – she knows me well enough to know that “five minutes” is code for “as long as it takes”. Fortunately, she is sympathetic to my obsession and I had the green light. As I grabbed my gear, I immediately began to wonder what exactly had captured my attention – why this stretch of river? I began to seen that there were two things that were particularly compelling. The first was all of the diagonals. You can see one emerging from the lower left corner and one from the lower right, as well as one from the mid left and from the mid right. Add to that an inverted “V” emerging from the bottom centre. So, it is very dynamic. The second thing is the sky, which was just breaking and creating a dramatic framing of the horizon. So, that was what I was trying to work with and incorporate into the frame. Does the drama come across; are you drawn to explore the image and stick around just a little bit longer?

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It does for me Kerry. The water looks like it is going to flow right into my lap. Gorgeous photo and what a great adventure for you and your wife.


This is quite dynamic as was your intent. I really love the foreground , it puts me right in the canoe! I agree the sky is interesting and does a nice job of creating a frame. I am wondering if you can coax any more contrast out of the sky…maybe that is not your desire, but I would be tempted to show it off a bit more.
Please thank your patient wife for allowing you to share your obsession with us.

Ha ha, my wife is very familiar with that routine as well !!!

The diagonal lines are very powerful in this composition, and processing this in B&W emphasizes these line and V shapes even further. The composition really pulls the viewer into the scene. I also like the varied textures in the foreground, the sharper rocks the softer flowing water and the ripples. The contrast in these varied textures adds a nice secondary level of interest beyond the lines and shapes.

My only suggestion would be to darken the sky slightly (especially the darker clouds at the top). In effect this would be equivalent to adding a stronger vignette across the top frame edge. The less bright the sky, the longer the viewer will linger in the foreground shapes, lines and texture. But this is a nitpick, overall this is a very interesting image, well done…

@linda_mellor, @Alan_Kreyger, @Ed_McGuirk Thanks to you all for taking the time to look and comment. Always, always appreciated. Since both you, Alan and Ed made a similar recommendation, I gave it a try and I do believe your suggestion does improve the image overall. I have further burned the clouds and also toned down the open sky a tad. I’ve tried not to go overboard but if you scroll back up to the top you can see the original and the revised together. What do you think - enough, too much, just right?

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Just what I had in mind, the darkening of those clouds keep me more engaged with the rest of the image.


I do prefer the rework, subtle but just enough.

Thanks for reposting.

The little bit of darkening improves the drama!