Badwater Storm

We had driven hundreds of miles to make it to Badwater. This was what welcomed us on or first morning. And continued to welcome us almost daily. But our first morning at least gave us a dramatic looking sky. Because of the mono toned shot I just turned this into a BW shot. Trying to decide if it has any redeeming qualities.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any and all.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any and all.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Single exposure
f14 1/50 sec Iso 125
(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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This is awesome! Great job taking advantage of the conditions presented you when arriving. That sky is quite ominous - like that storm is coming right at you and about ready to drench you in about 5 minutes…

Even though the composition is nearly 50/50, it’s quite effective. You’re showcasing the salt flats and those classic patterns very well, and the stormy, gloomy and daunting sky really tells the story. A great combination of elements. The b&w processing looks great too.

No nits or suggestions.


Greg: this is excellent. The converging diagonals of the salt crystals leads your eye right into the V formed by the ominous clouds. The black and white treatment is apropos for the scene and well done. Were the photo mine, it would find a prominent place on a wall. Richard

Thanks @Lon_Overacker and @Richard_Sandor that tells me I might have something. We did get wet and I had to clone out some rain drops I didn’t catch. But fortunately we didn’t get drenched.

Being a big fan of storm light, this is excellent. The B&W treatment is perfect for this and shows off the drama of DV. The lines of the slat plaques work very well leading into the approaching storm. This will make a nice print.

Greg, an excellent rendition with this super wide take of Badwater. The dramatic sky is a real plus and the B&W was a perfect call too…:sunglasses:

This seems to be a great idea but doesn’t entirely work for me. I like the clouds and the salt pan separately but together - there seems to be no relationship. Perhaps because the two parts are so different from one another and their boundary is so abrupt. On the other hand, you could argue that that’s what makes it artistic. That you’re emphasizing that difference. I have to think about that.

I like the 50/50 composition and the processing. Wonderful time to be at bad water, I imagine.

There is something amiss about the clouds: wide angle lense makes the main wave cloud look small maybe? Or it might be the two darker spots along the left half of the top edge? Cloning out the spots or playing with distortion (if it falls within your photo ethics) might make each half of the hold its own.

Really nice Greg. I love the U-shape in the clouds being repeated with the upside down U-shape in the nearest salt formation. That sky is simply wonderful, nicely done.

Thanks @Igor_Doncov . You have a valid point. I see what you mean. I cleaned up the boundary probably to much and makes the bottom look to “sterile”. I will see about smoothing out that transition.

Thanks @Marylynne_Diggs. You are correct. That bothered me too. That cloud was definitely bigger in real time. I had forgotten about that tool in camera raw. I will bring the clouds closer and also make them bigger and see what happens.

Thanks @Lon_Overacker, @Richard_Sandor, @Preston_Birdwell, @Igor_Doncov, @Paul_Breitkreuz, @Marylynne_Diggs, @Ed_McGuirk for the input. I am taking your suggestions and putting them into play. The two primary ones are making the transition between the clouds and the foreground not so neat or clean with maybe a blur tool? or clone tool at low opacity? or just a slight exposure change. And secondly do some warping in CR to make the clouds more real like in size. Thanks. I will repost it in the next 24hrs or so.

I don’t think I’d use the blur tool, honestly - then it will simply look blurry. Instead, I’d try to even out the contrast in that area (darken the upper playa and brighten the lower sky, essentially) if you want the transition to be less jarring. I personally thought the instant transition to sky was one of the most interesting aspects of this photo. You’d expect there to be a layer of mountains between the ground and sky, but the fact that the rain and clouds reach down to the ground makes the playa seem infinite, with only a hint of mountain on the right side to clue the viewer in.

1 Like

I like this one Greg,

The horizon to the clouds makes it look super remote and that you could be somewhere with a 360 horizon.

It reminds me of the Australian desert.

I like the drama in the clouds as well

Thanks @Alex_Noriega for the feedback. When I arrived and saw this “leading line” shaped cloud I got semi excited. To have an “arrow” shaped cloud going right down middle and ominous looking, I thought that was as good as it gets. Then when I saw the shot on the monitor, I saw the stark separation and simplicity. And loved it. But simple sometimes is boring. So I wanted to do justice to that. So in doing that I might have over done that and created too big of a separation with the detail in the foreground? Which is why I think Igor’s critique has some validity. But everyone seems to like it, as do you. So what I am thinking about doing, is maybe use the transform tool to bring the clouds in a little closer and make the ratio 60/40 instead of 50/50? And ever so lightly bring out that right hill/mountain. This won’t be a shot for everyone because it’s simple. Maybe it was the moment . Who knows.

Thanks @Nathan. I like the simplicity to it. Even though it is basically a two element shot. But at the moment standing in the rain on the first morning I thought it looked pretty cool.

I like this a lot, Greg. The cloud patterns and the angle on the salt pans give a feeling of vast distances. I can almost see the curvature of the earth on the salt flats. If you were into artistic renditions, I’d even be tempted to suggest distorting the horizon into the subtlest of arcs to emphasize that feel.