Awaiting the snow

I spent 5 days moving through the roads of Rocky Mountain National Park, most of it grey clouds, but one day of sun. On that day I captured this 3 shot pano overlooking Beaver Meadow with the mountains in the background. What draws me to this and similar images I have taken over the years: it is the clouds hanging over and on the mountains. As the saying goes: “Mountains make their own weather.”

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

This image has a foreground, midground, and a background. I’m conflicted about the hill in the left lower corner, is it a distraction? Is a viewer drawn into the image?

Technical Details

3 shot hand held pano. 1/400 sec ISO 200 f/11 24-120mm f/4 @ 88mm

Hi Gary, terrific pano. Lots to explore here. The hill in the lower left doesn’t bother me much, it helps to pull my eye back towards the center of the image. I downloaded the image and did a crop so that the left hill (slope), matched the right hill/slope and, while it centered the distant mountain, my eye felt engaged and contained. That’s what you want in an image. I think either way works.


Like you, I also love shooting panos but I find that they don’t present well on the net. They’re generally too small to fully appreciate. Fortunately we have the advantage here on NPN to view the images large and I did exactly that with your image.
I love all of the details in this shot and I’m thankful that I was able to view and study it for a while. I like that the focal point of the mountains in the back is off center and that my eyes travel there with ease. The hill on the left is nice and I’m glad you chose to include it. It’s a nice supporting element and has some nice light on it too.
I’m unsure about the colour in the image. It seems a bit too blue, especially in the shadows but I can’t say for sure because I’m not looking at a very good or accurate monitor - it’s my lunch break and I’m at work.

Thanks for the commentary, Tom. I’ll check the blue hue, when I get back on my computer.

While in PP, I went back to the pano and looked to see if I had cropped the right side. Sadly, I should have added more on the right to balance the images. Spot on David, lesson learned. Cheers.


What a grand and beautiful landscape view. The pano format works beautifully to capture that grand vista.

I actually quite like the hill on the left. The light is beautiful for starters, but also it’s the main foreground element that helps give this great depth. The only nit in that area - I would suggest burning or mitigating the snow patch in the LLC; bright area right on the edge and my eye has to glace over there. But the hill - and especially with the rock formations, :+1:

It’s a little less defined on the right, but the p ositioning of the open meadow (which you mention) I think balances the composition. Then you have the mountains and sky/clouds as the far background.

My only on the overall presentation is that I feel like there should be more at the bottom? In other words, the sky/clouds take up almost half the vertical space. Of course you mentioned this was your primary attraction to the scene, so makes perfect sense how you composed this. Not sure if it makes sense, but it looks and feels exactly that way - you’re including all the sky/clouds (wonderful btw…), but at the expense of the closer foreground. Then again, perhaps there were elements at the bottom you were leaving out - which is usually the case. So my comments here, take with a grain of salt.