Bakka Valley - Viking Valley

Original unedited version below.

Winding road image below is Not Mine.

This is at Bakka Valley, just before it merges with Viking Valley at Gudvangen in western Norway, which is where many tourist board cruise ships for either local cruises in the Fjords or in the North Sea.
Our cruise was in the local Fjords ending at a place called Flam, but later traveled to Trondheim and north to the Arctic Circle.
This shot was taken from a bus on our way down a 1000 ft. (305 meter) decent, it was a seriously steep and winding one way road only for tour buses. It was the scariest bus ride I’ve “EVER” had and I wanted to shake the hand of the driver…and the brake mechanic for a safety journey down that mountain!!

This what I call a “Retro” image because I removed the bridge and road in order to make it look the way it used to look before the bridge and road was built.
The image of the winding road down the mountain is NOT MINE, but it was free to use with no copywrites or restrictions.
And I posted the original unedited version of the valley so you can see what it looked like before the edits.
What an amazing and memorable trip! :slight_smile:

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • 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

I like the overall composition with the contrast in color as well as the contrast between the shaded areas and the areas lit by the sun.
I used several targeted masks in the mountain sides and the water near the bottom to bring out the details in the water and the river bed but I’m curious to know of you think it looks right (based on the original image).
I wish that there had been a few clouds in the sky but severe clear was all I could get.
Do you feel the image needs to be rotated a bit one way or the other?
Do you feel the contrast and saturation look OK?
And any anything else would be appreciated!

Technical Details

Sony a6500, 18-105 lens, 1/250s, f8, ISO 100, Lr and Ps for processing and edits.

Interesting scenery. I appreciate your idea to take ups back in time. The strong V shapes are a foundation for the composition.
The light and dark contrast is a challenge for this scene; depending on monitor brightness, the dark side is really dark. And you wondered about the sky.

None of this may be the direction you are after, but I found myself wanting to try …

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Merv, Thanks for the geography lesson on Norway. My wife and I have talked about a cruise up the cost to the far north. I think this image has the makings of an excellent B&W. Getting it right will take patience and some effort trying out different levels of contrast, highlights, and shadows. I tinkered with it, but my version is just a start. You need to get the contrast and tonal values as you vision them. This is just a thought. Thanks for exercising my thoughts about B&W here.

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Wow, that must have been quite the bus ride! I would love to go there one day. And good job on the Photoshop work, had I not seen the original I would have never guessed that you took out the bridge and those other distractions.

You’ve captured some really nice shapes but for me, the colour in the image isn’t very interesting and that’s why I really like Larry’s suggestion to make this a B&W image. Looking at his example, the black and white example he uploaded, I am immediately drawn to the beautiful shapes and tones in the image without being distracted by the colour. So yeah, I would definitely give that a try.

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Yeah, thanks for including the backstory and that image of the windy road! Personally, my fear of heights is getting worse the older I get (I almost freeze driving on a high over pass! - that ain’t good!) and so your image even gives me the willies… not ha ha.

I too appreciate the shapes and graphic nature of what you’ve framed. For me, it’s more about light and dark, shapes, etc. than it is about location. If it was more about the location, I would want to see more of the bend in the river on the left. By not including the full river (and likely you had contraints, unwanted elements over there (the road?) , so we’re presented with what I see are the graphic elements, shapes, dark and light - And that’s not a bad thing by the way, I quite like how you’ve framed and composed.

I do like the idea of b&w to further emphasize those things. Perhaps eve a slight crop top and bottom. Some great potential here. The only thing keeping me in the color mode is actually the blue sky. It goes pretty blank in b&w unless you try and do something in post with that.


Hi Lon, @Dick_Knudson, @Larry_Greenbaum & @Tom_Nevesely,

For me, my Nordic trip has special meaning, my father was from this area and he passed away when I was very young.
Memories of my father and wanting to have some connection with where he lived as a young man before WWII was one of the reasons for my trip. He was in that war and survived long enough to bring me into this world.
For the record, the reason I removed the bridge and road didn’t have anything to do with showing my abilities or skills in photoshop, nor did it have anything to do with trying to make it artistic or anything else along those lines, I did it because there was no bridge or road during the time my father lived there, this was the reason I wanted this to be a retro image.

Part of the reason I wanted to leave this in such a tall vertical was the feeling I got when I was there, all of the walls of the Fjords were almost straight up (extremely steep), so the tall vertical presentation seemed to better represent that (but just for me I suppose).

I have explored B&W a few times but for some reason I have a hard time with it, maybe it’s because I enjoy seeing life and nature in color and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s mostly green or whatever color it may be.
Having said that, I do enjoy images in B&W if they are done by others, but if they are mine, not so, and maybe that’s because my mind remembers seeing it in color and in person.

And yeah, this was the best out of about 10 images, there were close trees on the left that prevented me from getting the whole river, in fact, if you look close at bridge level on the left in the original image you’ll see some leaves from those close trees. Images after this didn’t have any of the dome topped mountain in them.

But I guess you should just ignore all of the personal ramblings above.
I have a lot more to say but I won’t say it here.

How about a crop from the top, chop off the bottom, add something to the sky, add some color other than a dull green to the mountain and add some mist to the water.

What do ya think?
Is this more appealing?

Note: I seriously didn’t spend much time on this (20 minutes… maybe), so, it was a “Quick and Dirty” enhancement just to try and understand what it would take for it to be color worthy.

Thanks for all of the suggestions and for all of the kind words!!

Not at all Merv! Personal details have great value - in fact, having that knowledge I would be less inclined to focus on inanimate shapes and forms? Because those things don’t hold any meaning for you - as they shouldn’t. Actually a great lesson in critiquing in that the viewpoint/perspective of the poster is pretty important!

Personally, I like the crop and what you did with the sky, mountains, colors, etc. For the upper half. Not a fan of the mist as that doesn’t visually match the clean light above. I’d back that off. but that’s just me. But most certainly I think you’re working in positive direction!

And thanks for the story again with the bridge and things that were not part of the story from your father’s day. Poignant.


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Hey Merv - I’m thinking maybe we could be related! I had a bunch of ancestors from the next fjord over (the Aurlandsfjord; they lived in what is now Aurland town, among other places around there). We visited Norway in 2007 and this was our favorite area.

A lot of folks have already weighed in, so I won’t say much. I do like your last “interpretive” rework (except for the mist, as Lon mentioned) because it feels more retro/old fashioned. It’s interesting that your ancestor would have seen this in light like you showed in your first version. But we get the impression of olden times when the scene is processed to look old (warmer tones, lower contrast, etc.).