Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction
Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.
Questions to guide your feedback
Our plan for this sunset was to hike up Park Ridge to photograph Mount Jefferson and the park from the high view. However the trail takes a different route then it used to, swinging over below Park Butte before heading back to join the original trail. By the time we sorted this out, I was worried I wouldn’t arrive up top with enough time to find a composition before the light peaked. @James_Lorentson is an animal, so he scoffed at the trail and just charged straight up the streambed (to capture this image). @Steve_Kennedy prowled the lower elevations of the trail for images, and I headed back to this tarn just west of Russel Lake.
Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.
I’m inept at impressions and meanings of nature photographs, but I’m working on it. I also find when photographing big and colorful vistas, which I’m attracted to, that they can come off as eye candy as apposed to thoughtful insights. With that out of the way, this image feels peaceful to me. I’m sure part of that was just being there, but the reflection surrounded by the chaos of the grass and rocks with the calmness of the day passing by reminds me of how nature can be a refuge from the busy world I normally live in.
NIKON Z 7II
NIKKOR Z 14-30 f/4S at 21.0 mm
1/20 sec. at f/6.3 and ISO 64
Two images blended for DOF
Other than your Initial Reaction, I don’t have any specific questions, but would love any suggestions for improvement.
My immediate reaction is one of ecstasy. You’ve regaled us with several images of this area but this is your crowning glory. On the surface it seems to be the ordinary lake in front of mountain composition but it’s anything but typical. There are so many good parts to it. The orange patch on side of mountain. The mountain reflection protruding from the reeds. The black rock on the bottom. The warm reflection on the left. The tall pine left center. The stripes of white on mountain side. It’s all a feast for the eyes. This is the type of image you have always excelled in. A small nit is that the eye is drawn to the left instead of the center peak reflection where it belongs. That’s a false argument though. I see many paintings like that.
My immediate reaction to the image , when I first saw it is that this was paradise! I love the composition with the perfectly mirrored mountain peak, the trees on the left side and those vibrant red shrubs on the right. I’m hesitant to comment on the colour because I’m not viewing this on a good monitor but the image overall seems too warm for me. Also, I have a feeling that the image is tilted to the left though that may just be an illusion.
@John_Williams , my overall impression is a beautiful palette of subtle color with the late afternoon light. The reflection in the pond is very nice. Because of the rise of the land to the right, however, the image looks tilted even though I can see that the horizon is level. Also, the lighter orange color in the sky on the left tends to take my eye away from the main subject, which is your gorgeous capture of Mt. Jefferson.
Beautiful!! It looks very natural and well-presented. The way the reflection is broken up feels strange, though. The water surface looks glassy enough that I would expect it to be smoother. Could it be an artifact of the focus blend?
But looking again, I see it’s the nearer peak against the back one, just a little tonally disguised.
My initial reaction is jealousy! I should have gone back down to the tarns with you. The image I captured that night is no where near as nice as this. There is so much to like about this image. I really like the composition and how you placed the rocks and grasses around the mountain reflection. Your processing is spot on as well.
Gorgeous alpine landscape! I can only imagine what is was like for 3 serious photographers all trying to vi for their own images and objectives… Not sure if I’d like to be the only photographer in a group of non-photographers… or being with other photographers, each with their own agenda. Surprised you all made the round trip mostly together…
I can’t help but reveal my initial reaction - and that was from a distant thumbnail view, the scene appears to be really slanted. Of course that is the nature of the slope of the landscape and it’s clear upon opening that the image is level - as indicated by the vertical trees and the obvious slope of the landscape above the little pond.
Once opening up the large view and I got over that initial reaction, it became clear how beautful this scene is and as Igor pointed out, there are so many beautiful and working elements all pieced together beautifully.
If I had a small suggestion, the only one I have, would be to slightly burn down the reflection in the water along the lower right edge. But that’s pretty minor.
Envy the very productive trip you all had. Memories for sure.
Thank you @Igor_Doncov, @Tom_Nevesely, @Patrick_Campbell, @Diane_Miller, @Steve_Kennedy, and @Lon_Overacker, both for the initial impressions and recommendations! I’ve posted a slightly cooler version with that ULC and right edge knocked back a little.
I’m not sure about the illusion of tilt. It appeared that way to me too when I started processing, but checking central reflections I’m pretty sure it is level. I suppose I could warp that right hand slope, but hate to take the image too far from what was actually there. An thoughts on how to fix that would be appreciated.
I hear ya. I’ve struggled with these kinds of manipulations. Over time I’ve become less and less strict on this and base most of my work on asking the question, “Is this realistic and believable?”
I agree with you that transforming the right hand slope would be more drastic and alter the reality of what you saw. That made me think of the opposite - transforming the left side. Not sure if this is something you would be comfortable with, but I went ahead and did a transform of the image (skew) from the left side. Rather than trying to level by adjust the right, a little counter-level on the left I think lessened the presence of the natural slope. And maybe without altering reality that much. Of course doing the skew caused some open space bottom left. Two options, crop the space thus narrowing the format, or do a CA fill. I cloned the space, but not sure what that looks like at full print size. Anyway, thought I would give it a try. This image is most certainly destined for a large print! Oh, I also cloned the dark piece of boulder on the left edge that was drawing my eye.
Great job on those subtle edits. Thanks for taking the time to consider the suggestions!
Well that’s clever; thanks @Lon_Overacker .