Autumn Morning revisited

This is my first post on the site as I just recently discovered it, which I am very excited to join the community!
I originally had edited this photo a few weeks ago on a chromebook with Polarr photo editor. But recently I bought myself a desktop and Lightroom so I figured I should revisit photos I had previously edited and see if I could improve on them. So my social media accounts will be seeing some repost in the following days haha.

Though a fancier editing system makes me extremely happy and determined to go capture more and more captions. Nothing beats the actual moment in which you’re living in while capturing it. It was a chilly October morning and the colors were finally reaching Western Pennsylvania. My fiance and I had just gotten back from the Boston,MA area and I was disappointed I did not capture too many photos I was happy with. With a better statement of mind with the realization I need to be happy with the moment whether I come away with a photo or not, I set out to a trail I had pegged in Spring as a must hike in Autumn. Pulling up to the almost empty lot, I noticed fog was still sticking around and with a mind full of hope I hit the trail. I did not have to go far when I saw this sliver of a scene in front of me and knew I found the composition I had to capture. The fog slowly rising up off the water mixed with the fresh Autumn color is what made the scene for me.

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Welcome to NPN Nathan! Glad to have you here and you’ve posted a beautiful and tranquil image.

You mentioned processing - and your processing results of this image qre quite excellent btw. You didn’t mention specifically and this is your first post, but if you are looking for feedback and critique, there are the critique galleries where you’ll get some honest and constructive feedback.

We welcome aboard. We look forward to more images and your participation!


Thank you very much for your kind words and letting me know about the critique section! I will gladly take critiques for this photo and future ones. It is the best way to learn!

Welcome to NPN, Nathan!

I agree with Lon that this is a lovely and tranquil image.

The processing looks very nice, and the detail is excellent. You might consider cloning the bare branches on the right side. Compositionally, I would like to see more of the tree on the left.

The rising mist and the varied color gives this a very serene mood. Nicely done!

I didn’t even think of cloning out those branches. Mostly because, when I originally took it I didn’t have that capability. So thank you for pointing that out, I may have to revisit it again! Thank you for your kind words and suggestions.

Hi Nathan, welcome to NPN. From reading your story with the image, your enthusiasm for nature photography comes through clearly. I think you will find NPN critique a good place to learn more, both about composition and post-processing. Taking a step up to Lightroom is a good starting point too, you will be very pleased with what it can do.

As Lon mentioned, you did a pretty nice job with the processing of this image, the exposure, contrast and color all look good. I like that you kept the saturation relatively restrained, with bold fall colors like these it’s sometimes easy to fall into the trap of boosting their saturation even more, but you have do a good jog of avoiding that here

In terms of composition, I think you have found a pretty compelling location, and have told a nice story about it. The reverse S-curve of the river pulls the viewers eye to the fog in the distance. Leading lines are nice, but I believe they have to lead to something of interest to be most effective, and the distant fog is interesting enough to be worth being led to. Placing the rock in the lower right corner (LRC in our critique shorthand) creates a strong compositional element that serves as a nice foreground and framing element at the same time.

I believe that thinking hard about frame edges is an important thing for many people who are relatively early in their photographic journey. It’s easy to get excited about the main subject, in this case the fog, the beautiful fall color, and the river, and then not pay as much attention to the edge of the frame. Avoiding distractions along the edges of the frame is often the difference between a good image, and a great one. . @Preston_Birdwell has already pointed out a couple of those here, the branches on the right, and the desire to see more of the tree on the left.

To me the tree on the left is a distraction as presented, not so much the tree itself, but it’s reflection bothers me, the reflection is cut off, and seems to be coming from nowhere. The reflection feels disconnected from the tree, and this problem is exacerbated by the tree being right on the edge of the frame. Bright objects along the edge of the frame can sometimes pull your eye away from the center of the image, and the tree reflection does that when i view this image.

When taking pictures, I try to force my self to slow down, and carefully study the frame edges to avoid distractions while I’m still in the field. Sometimes you can zoom the lens, or move your feet to another vantage point, and change the composition to avoid distractions. And sometimes you only see the distractions after you get home, but all is not lost. Sometimes you can crop or clone the distractions away after the fact. I have reworked your image to give you some ideas in that regard.
Sometimes less is more. I think the squarish crop places more emphasis on the center of the image, while eliminating the reflection of the tree. And the cloning of the right branches helps too.


Hi Ed - While I am not the owner of this image I benefited a lot from this feedback. Sometimes, in a hurry I almost forget about the edge of the frames. I just joined yesterday and am really looking forward to engaging conversations about photography.



Lovely s-curve to the creek as it flows into the scene. The fog rising is definitely a plus. Very nice capture! I agree that the tree on the left and its reflection should either be removed or included it should be the whole tree. Ed’s revisions to the composition works well. What do you think?

As a side note… next a trip try Western Mass and the Berkshires for color in the fall.

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Welcome again Nathan! I’m glad you were able to move this to the Critique area (I’m assuming you did this… and kudos for figuring out the navigation!)

As I mentioned, and I still think this, your processing of the colors, saturation, contrast, etc. is all excellent. I have no suggestions there.

My initial reaction was also the tree on the left that is only partially there. Agree with others about the edges. I call this “border patrol” - (sorry for the connotation, but I’ve been calling it this for over 30 years…) and the lesson is simply checking the borders for distracting elements. This means both during the capture time as well as post processing. Another personal guideline I use goes something like this: If you’re going to include something in the frame, make it on purpose. In other words, some times elements are cut off and leaves the viewer wondering in the photographer meant to include that element, or simply didn’t notice. In the case of the tree on the left… it’s right on the border… like some comments suggest we want to see more because it’s an interesting and positive element… on the other hand, it also leads to a response like Ed’s crop (which is perfectly viable btw.)

The great news is that you have a very strong image and comp that is finely processed and presented!


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Wow, thank you very much for your suggestions and kind words. That cropped version with the distractions removed is much better. I am ashamed I didn’t think of doing that myself. But that is why I posted on here, so others with more experience and a keener eye can give me advice. I did not unfortunately notice the distractions in field as I kind of got eager at the scene ahead of me. I perched myself up on a rock to get this angle so unfortunately there was not much else of an advantage point. But I will spend more time post processing now that I have the tools to, where as before with Polarr I was more limited. Thank you again for taking the time to help me see where my improvements can be made in and out of camera.

Thank you for the location suggestion and kind words. I definitely see Ed’s revision as a much stronger composition than the one I originally posted. Small but subtle changes can make a good composition that much better!

Thank you again for the warm welcome and kind words. I definitely plan on in the future checking border better both in field and in post processing to make sure nothing distracting it sticking in there. Due to in experience and admittedly excitement of certain scenes I focus more on the meat of the image and not all surrounding factors.