Big sky on the Palouse

It was a day of incredible clouds after frustrating flat grey skies the previous day. I could have stepped forward to remove the plow handle on the right and decrepit building on the left but our workshop leader had freaked me out about ticks earlier in the day - c’est la vie!

Specific Feedback Requested

This is a first time that I’ve tried to take an ultra wide image to tell a bigger story (and my first time shooting at 16mm at all!). I see that the plow handle on the right is a bit out of place but I have an idea that it provides a little bit of a leading line and balancing element to the decrepit building to the left. It feels like they provide a little bit of a framing effect as well. Or I could just be making it all up to feel better about the photo. What do you all think?

Technical Details

1/1000sec at f/4.0 ISO 100

Masked the sky to lower highlights because I blew it out a little
Masked the ground to lighten it since, even after blowing out the sky, it was overly dark

Welcome! This is a great use of your wide angle lens. The wide angle does a couple of things that make this image work. First, it accentuates the curvature of the cloud array, which gives the image a sense of depth and expanse and, second, it isolates the barn, rendering it smaller than it actually appeared to your eye and in so doing further heightening the sweep and expanse of the sky against which it sits. I think your instinct in the field to get closer and avoid the distractions of the plow handle and ruins right and left, were probably right but a better solution might be to simply crop from right and left (and maybe just a bit off the bottom). I say a better solution because that way you maintain the scale of the barn against the sky, which really works . Nicely done. Looking forward to seeing more of your photographs.


Welcome to NPN! Glad to have you aboard!

Terrific first post and one that other members might reference as “wide open spaces.” This certainly has that look with the grand sky. Agree with Kerry’s comments about the wide angle use as it works great in this scene.

The plow handle (wouldn’t have guessed if you hadn’t explained…) is right on the edge of whether or not it works or is detrimental. It follows my self-imposed guideline, “if you’re going to include something, make it on purpose.” Then again, your story of the ticks is the best answer! Totally get that! So, I think there is enough of the plow that it helps tell the story and it does work that it’s pointing to the structure.

I think the blown highlights in the sky are more of an issue - but then, you’re shooting directly in to a cloud-covered sun and for that, it’s quite understandable and I think you did as well as you could overall with processing and masking to mitigate. The expanse of the clouds reall takes center stage here as well as the scaled presence of the old structure.

In the end, I think you’ve captured an excellent image and story, especially given the lighting and tick conditions! :slight_smile:

We look forward to your images and participation.


Thanks for the feedback. I’m curious about “wide open spaces” - is that a category that might better have been used for posting the shot? Or simply a recognition of the subject? :slight_smile:

I totally agree with @Kerry_Gordon about the option to simply crop out the distracting elements, which was my first impulse. The challenge I ran into was that, by doing so, I compromised the curvature of the clouds and increased the presence of the barn in the middle - both of which kind of undermined the story, unfortunately. I suppose I could have solved that by using a trapezoidal rendition of the picture but I suspect that’d be more distracting than helpful :wink: .

Anyway, thanks for the feedback - I’m looking forward to being an active member of the community!

Hi Dave,
IMO the sky is wayyyyy too bright - to overcome this in the future, I would either just expose for the highlights and bring the rest out in LR/PS, or take a second exposure for the sky and blend it in.
The logs on the right don’t add anything IMO and I would crop them out.
This is the ultimate challenge in wide angle photography - deciding what to leave out! Nice to see you here!

Oh interesting! I considered bringing the sky down further but the picture started to feel a little…umm…muted? less exuberant? Maybe I’ll take a stab at it and see what you think.

Nah, it’s just a personal reference to describe a category of images, a style or theme, I think. For example, my description of scenes that are NOT grand landscapes, but more intimate subjects of nature, I call “nature portraits” - Neither of these have anything to do with categories on NPN.

Certainly you posted your image in the correct, best place!

Welcome to NPN Dave! I like you use of a wide angle since it does accentuate the big sky. I think the sky looks too bright mainly because of the bright blown area in the upper center area. You might want to tame just that area a little. I don’t mind the plow handle and agree with cropping you would loose the curvature of the sky. Trying to clone it out may be messy since it is close to the horizon. You have a wonderful image here that tells a story.

Hello Dave, welcome to NPN. I hope you enjoy your time here. Others have already commented on the image, so I’ll just say that I love looking at the larger view. I hope to see more of your work here.


Love that sweeping arc in the sky with the small dark cabin below. I wouldn’t crop anything out from the right because it would slice the opening in the sky and it would alter the sweep of the clouds as well. If you can clone out the plow that would be best. Welcome to NPN.

PS. Whenever I see an image from Palouse I think - Palouse LaTrec.

Welcome to NPN, Dave. I’m fairly new myself. Wonderful clouds in this image. I do agree with most of the comments. The blown highlights in the clouds are hard to ignore. And while I understand your reasoning for the two objects in the foreground, I do not think they are prevalent enough to make leading lines to the barn. The wide angle was a great call for this scene. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

Welcome to NPN Dave. Glad to have you here. The sweeping cloud formation is super cool with that wide angle lens but unfortunately blown out in a few places. Was this shot in JPEG or RAW? If RAW, you might be able to pull some more detail out of the center portion of the sky just above the barn. I certainly see what you were going for in this image. One, not to get ticks, and two to encompass all of those big sky clouds above the barn which included the plow handle and the decrepit building on the left. I think this might be a stronger image if you were to clone out both foreground elements so the viewer can focus on the main subject, the barn beneath those awesome clouds.
Can’t wait to see more of your work Dave.

Thanks everyone for all your advice. I think, ultimately the proper fix would have been to have been a little more careful in my framing and exposure settings in the field but what do you all think of this edit? I leaned pretty heavily on content aware fill, which I don’t like to do but I think it turned out pretty well

I love your rework. It’s a tremendous improvement. What about a vignette to exaggerate that center to outwards look. I know that every said that the clouds should be darker but I brightened them. I would make the grass beneath the house brighter to make it stand out more. This is a rough idea but more could be done.

Thanks! I really like your edit! I also just noticed that the fill for blown out skies repeated the blue sky element right next to it - odd how I didn’t see that when working. Bah!

Both your reworked image and Igors’ edit are a big improvement.

Content aware fill can save your bacon if you don’t catch something on the edge of your frame while in the field.

I’ve actually reached a point where I previsualize an image with content aware alterations before even making the photograph. How’s that for an Ansel Adams previsualization? Lol

You have reached the ultimate level in the Adobe universe🤣