Blea Tarn, English Lakes, in the rain

Driving on a single-track road in a remote area of the Lake District, UK, I suddenly spotted this small lake at the top of a pass. It was absolutely pouring with rain, and I climbed a fence to get into a field. It was utterly sodden and I wandered round and round trying to get the right position and then wait to see if the light changed. After a good hour simulating the life of a duck I found what I thought might make a good panorama. Although the rain did not let up, there was a brightening in the sky which gave a pleasing light, and I am pleased with the image. Everything is so much more vibrant when it is wet. I would though like to return to the place in some alternative conditions, as there are mountain peaks above the lake which were still in cloud.

Specific Feedback Requested

Any feedback/reaction gratefully received, and I thank anyone who makes the time to give it!

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
The image is a panorama of, I think, five images. Taken with Nikon D850 with Tamron 24/70 (G2) at ISO 72 and f/11 at 1/15 second . 38mm.

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Some of my favorite autumn images were taken in pouring rain as well. This looks like a scene that was worth getting soaked for. There is a lot to love about this image. I like the mood created by the mist on the mountain, the stone fence, and the variety of trees that add a sense of depth to this image. The wet conditions also created some nice colors in the foliage and grass. The processing looks spot on too.

However, I’m not as keen about a couple things on the far left side. I don’t like the other stone wall being cut in half by the left frame edge. And the bright gap between the tree and the left frame edge also attracts attention. I would suggest a crop from the left eliminating the fence and the trunk of the tree. I think this would place more emphasis on the center of the image.

Thanks very much, Ed. I spent a lot of time agonizing about that left-hand edge (as in: if I take x out then I won’t have y, and if I crop here then the balance there won’t seem quite right) but this is usually a sign that the image is flawed in some way. I agree with what you say, but then I didn’t want to cut off the fallen branch, and I liked aspects of that left hand tree. I’ll try out some crops and see how it turns out. Thanks again, Ed.

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I love and miss the Lake District - spent many a weekend there climbing and hiking.

The stone wall on the right is a great subject to lead the eye into the view. I think if you had changed you vantage point somewhat - further in and to the left, you could have taken a view looking between the trees to the hill in the background, using the stone wall to guide the eye.

If I can figure it out, I’ll try to add an “X” to your image to explain what I mean.

Please bear-in-mind that I am no expert photographer by any means and I struggle with composition. So feel free to disagree with me.


Philip, I wrestled with the same considerations you did when I tried to write my critique comments. A left crop as I suggested is maybe okay, but it is still not an ideal solution either. After looking at this again a second time, I would amend my critique to suggest cloning away the bit of sky between the tree and left frame edge, and leave the half fence as presented. In no way was I trying to suggest the image was flawed, overall it is a really lovely image. Yes the far left side has a minor issue, I was just trying to brainstorm some other options for dealing with it.

I see what you mean about the little bit of cloning. You’re suggesting to make the leftmost tree-trunk “wider” is that correct?

Either way, it’s a beautiful image.

That is correct, here is a rework with my suggested tweak. It’s a very minor tweak, but I prefer to eliminate bright spots near edges. Of course this is just a suggestion, it’s Philip’s image, and he should do whatever makes sense to him.

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Thanks so much, Ed, for your helpful suggestion, which I think works well. I had meant that sometimes a photo just 100% works, but other times I take a picture and I think: “I love this image” but there is one littlle niggle, but then when I put that right another thing suffers, and then that gets corrected and and it puts something else slightly out, etc. I find that quite often, but at other times everything is just right and doesn’t need that tweaking. Straightening the tree out takes away the bit at the side, but then slightly makes the left hand side with the wall and tree lined up against the left edge… so I don’t know! Anyway, I really appreciate the discussion and it made me look more critically at that part of the photos, and I think the fix is better than the original! Best wishes.

Thanks, Charlie: I spent hours wandering around the field, and some parts of it were so water-logged and muddy that it was not possible to step there for fear of getting completely stuck in knee-deep mud and water!! I’ll definitely be going back there sometime, but continuing the house-arrest we’re all under in the UK at the moment. I can’t wait to get back to the hills again when the situation arises. All the best.