Canyon del Muerto

Cliff warmed in response to the suggestion by @Igor_Doncov

Original post

This came from a just-past-dawn trip to Canyon del Muerte, near the sadly historic Massacre Cave. Lighting was all indirect, with the sun hidden by canyon walls. The trees, Russian olive or willows, did a wonderful job of accentuating the curves on the valley floor.

I have a print of this on my wall, and it is annoyingly evenly lighted, as was the scene at the time. Yesterday at dusk, low sunlight through trees hit the darkened print with a smear of light across the valley … MUCH BETTER!
This morning I darkened the scene, introduced some dappled light, and de-saturated the red cliffs.

Does the lighting look reasonably natural?
Does cropping seem reasonable?

Is this a composite? No

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1 Like

I agree with you that that snake of trees looks great. And I think highlighting them looks gives them their due and makes the picture. Do they look natural? Yes and no. To me they look a bit HDRish but I’m not sure that’s a negative because natural can be boring. One thing you could do is work on that cliff to make it a stronger counterpart to the trees. Bring out it’s warmth more and maybe a bit brighter, more luminous.

Dick, you have very strong composition going here. There are a lot of elements in this scene but the way you composed this to place cliffs and ridges around the edges of the frame is very well thought out. I like @Igor_Doncov idea to play up the red cliff as a counterpoint, it adds some stronger red/green color contrast to the image.

My only other suggestion is that I might try backing off the black point a bit, the deep blacks in the darker shadows look a bit strong in what otherwise looks like relatively soft or dappled light in the scene.