Upper Illinois River, Oklahoma

Noted for its beauty, the scenic Illinois River is nestled in the heart of the Oklahoma Ozark Hills. The Upper Illinois River is an easy flowing, Class II river with a rock bottom and shores, delightful scenery and several stretches of mild rapids making for great float trip experiences. The draw for me is the excellent fishing for many fish species, but especially fly fishing for smallmouth bass on a foggy morning.

What technical feedback would you like if any? Any

What artistic feedback would you like if any? Any

Pertinent technical details or techniques: Canon 60D, Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM Zoom @ 70mm, f/5.6, 1/1500 sec., ISO 1000, Hand Held. Processed in Photoshop Camera Raw and PSE 2020 for exposure and color. No crop.

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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What an inviting smallmouth river! You conveyed the inviting quietness of the morning very nicely. I know just the fly I would like to work into that riffle off the gravel bar.
As much as I like gravel bars for fishing, to me this image does not need all that gravel. In the attached, I cropped that, a bit of sky, and a bit of right edge. Then played with temperature - some warming, some cooling. Burning the foreground river brought out some color and reflections.
Love to float this stream!

I agree with Dick about it being an inviting river! What a peaceful shot! I love the mist coming off the water. I think the amount of river rock in the bottom left is just fine. There are some other distracting elements for me:

  1. The ISO is pretty high causing quite a bit of noise. Do you use a tripod? I don’t have much practice shooting handheld for this reason. Maybe you can selectively decrease noise in the sky in Lightroom (if you use that).
  2. There is a smudge in the upper right in the sky that probably needs to be cloned out. And, you may consider cloning out the random wood on left in the middle of the water.

That’s it form me. I’m still working on tweaking my own images so I appreciate that you posted here. Thanks for sharing this image with us!

Thanks @Dick_Knudson. I’m still working on my editing skills! By the way, when the flow is right on the river, the fish will try to destroy a popping bug!

Hi, @brie. I seldom shoot with a tripod, and I didn’t have one with me this day. The primary goal of this trip was fishing, and I took my camera hoping for a photo op of a Bald Eagle, bobcat, deer, or possibly even a black bear. But I had to settle for an inviting image of the river at daybreak. The smudge you see is my poor attempt at cloning out a power line. I should have done as @Dick_Knudson did, and just crop it out! Thanks for your comments.

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Terry, my first thought is, “What is the Illinois river doing in Oklahoma?” :laughing: This misty scene is very peaceful and inviting. I can hear the river gurgling quietly and the birds calling. I’m going to guess that you’ve tried to remove a power line across the top. Some more cloning practice can take care of that, just be careful where you’re cloning from. I don’t know what PSE’s capabilities are for noise reduction, but overall noise reduction would help the distant trees and sky without notably changing the closer views. You might be able to get away with using ISO as low as 400 - 500 and still have a hand holdable shutter speed above 1/500 s.

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Thanks, Mark. Either PSE’s cloning tool doesn’t work well, or I’m not skilled at using it because I can never seem to get clean results. I did apply noise reduction in PSE but I couldn’t see any improvement there, either. I used Topaz De-noise until the free trial expired, and I did seem to have some good results with that program. I think I’m going to purchase it. However, my real goal here was not a technically perfect photograph. It was to convey the peacefulness of a gurgling, flowing, beautiful river, and make people want to go there. Hopefully, I’ve done that, even if I’ve confused some folks with the title! BTW, while on the Illinois River, you are not far from the town of Kansas, Oklahoma… :blush:

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