"Yes, it snows in Arizona!"

Critique Style Requested: In-depth

The photographer has shared comprehensive information about their intent and creative vision for this image. Please examine the details and offer feedback on how they can most effectively realize their vision.

Self Critique

A lot of people would not think of snow when thinking of Arizona. For those of us that live at lower elevations, snow in the mountains is a special treat. To have that combined with dense fog is truly an extraordinary experience. I’m trying to convey that special feel.

Creative direction

Overall quite happy with this image;. not sure if I should clone out some of the plants around the bottom edge. Also, struggling with the overall tonality of the whites, although this I’m quite happy with.


Specific Feedback

All feedback welcomed.

Technical Details

1/125sec, f/13, ISO 250, 39mm, handheld


On our way home from a nice winter weekend in the White Mountains of Arizona, the fog got so dense that we had to pull over. Taking advantage of this, I walked into the forrest, taking in the amazing and unusual Arizona scene. Luckily I had my camera with me.


Fritz, what a story you tell with your image and accompanying notes. This is so serene to my senses. I like the way you edited and presented the scene for us. It is very powerful. I love the image. On to your concerns and my views about them.

The question I am asking myself is whether those brushes at the bottom help in the overall composition. The way I see it is that if they were running across the entire bottom of the image or most of it, they would be a nice grounding detail. Since they seem to concentrate mostly on the right side, I find them distracting and not adding to the powerful impact the trees show.

The tonality looks good to my eyes, particularly from the center to the left side. There is a nice gradient progression that is pleasing to my eyes. On the right side of the image, I feel a stronger break in that tonality causing a minor imbalance. Yes, I see that faint tree in the back, and that is the point that I would adjust the tonality just a minor bit to provide a more gradual transition to the lone tree on the right side.

You were so lucky to have your camera and capture this scene. It is truly very peaceful and beautiful.

Fritz, I’m thoroughly enjoy the sense of mystery and quiet that this photo shows. It looks very good as presented. I do have two thoughts; 1) have you tried pushing the exposure to make this a high key view and 2) yes cloning out some of the brush that touches the frame might be good. I’m not sure that either would be better…just different. I think that the brush does a good job of putting me right there, experiencing the scene.

Wonderful!! Snow and fog provide a magic setting and you found the perfect group of trees to show it off. I find the remnants at the bottom a bit distracting, particularly since there are more on the left side. I would do a little selective weeding, and especially at the bottom edge.

The second tree from the right looks quite interesting with some snow on the branches. I agree with @Egidio and think it might be darkened just a tiny bit.

I have the feeling of wanting a little more canvas at the top. If the aspect ratio needs to be preserved, a little could come off the bottom.

A fantastic scene!!

Fritz, as a fellow Arizonan I’m very familiar with snow in the higher country.

The basic composition is very good. The diagonal tree is a nice touch. I think the plants in the foreground add depth. The darker stalks are a little distracting and you might consider lightening those a little.

I think the tree in the center could use some breathing room at the top. If the original image has any space at the top, I’d re-crop the image to restore some of it. If there isn’t any space to work with there, I’d consider a content-aware crop.

PS: Here’s a quick revision to show what I meant about the crop.

1 Like

Hi Fritz — first of all, a beautiful scene! I’m in basic agreement with @Don_Peters ideas, although I wouldn’t take the top up quite so much—about half as much. I love the diagonal tree! One person suggested slightly darkening the tree to the right of the diagonal. That would be worth a try. As far as the plants in the foreground, as Don suggested just lightening them (rather than cloning out) would maintain the grounding that they provide. In all, a wonderfully peaceful image!

1 Like

I am glad you got fogged in and had to stop; otherwise, we would not know what beauty awaited you.
I like what @Don_Peters did with the “weeds” at the bottom, except the clump of three that touch the edge of the frame still demands a lot of attention. I agree with @Susanna_Euston regarding the amount of additional space at the top. I can’t imagine changing anything else.

Egídio Leitão, Mark Seaver, Diane Miller, Don Peters, Susanna Euston, Barbara Djordjevic Thank you all very much for your input. My apologies for taking so long to answer; time seems to evaporate…

Very much appreciate everyones feedback. I will try the different suggestions. The foreground has been a bit tricky for me, and I am looking forward to try the above suggestions; I have a feeling I will end up with a combination of the above suggestions.

As for the top, this is an uncropped image, so I will try some content aware fill. I agree that the image would benefit from a little breathing room at the top.

The tree to the right might look good a bit darker. Certainly will try that!

Mark, I did push the exposure already a bit, but will play with taking it up a notch.

Thank you all again for your feedback; it really helps having an image looked ay by others. Truly appreciate it!