Cold dawn

Rönne creek an early morning this winter, with fog and snow crystals. I visited relatives, and had the opportunity to sneak out for a short period of time to take some photographs.

Specific Feedback Requested

I did not expose this image very well in the field, so I have had a rather hard time to trying to recreate how I experienced the scene. So, mainly interested in post-processing issues how you think the image could be improved, but as always any comments are welcome!

Technical Details

1/13, f/10, ISO400, Olympys O-MD E-M1X with 40-150 mm at 52 mm (104 mm equiv.), handheld


Ola, this is really nice. It does feel cold. I like the cool tone to the image too. I think your processing is fine. I don’t see any noise, sharpness looks good, and as I said, I really like the cool tone.


Works for me! ( David B’s comments perfect)… only nit-pick would be I’d like just a little more foreground, but certainly not a deal killer! Nice to see this as the temps here near Mt Rainier are about 90 today!-JG

I like the overall silver color. That combined with the bright tones and fog definitely gives me a feeling of a cold morning. I wonder what your exposure in the field was like because, like others, I don’t see any issues after processing. One minor suggestion. There is a small dark patch in the tree trunk to the left of the bright tree–you might consider dodging some or otherwise reducing the contrast with the rest of the tree.

Scenes like this are so fantastic when you’re there. The stillness and the crisp air with all that sparkling beauty. No wonder you may have missed the exposure a bit. Good save though and the composition is pleasing. I am a little puzzled about the fogginess or what I assume is some kind of mist. It appears stronger in the closest parts of the trees and weakest in the further trees. Odd. In my experience, mist hangs closest to the ground and is less opaque the closer it is to the camera. But maybe it was just rising here and getting ready to dissipate. Quite haunting. Have you experimented with the black levels? I would be tempted to take them up a little for a shot like this. It might add to the ethereal quality. I like the shot of winter even though it has been 50 deg F overnight for the last couple nights and around 70 during the day. Quite nice, which is mostly how summers go up here.

Though there’s little that can be done about it now, I - like @Jack_Graham - feel a bit more foreground would have helped this scene really come together. Right now it feels a bit top-heavy, and the lower-right portion of the foreground is very close to being cut off completely, both of which cause tension in the photograph. It’s easier with the grid on large format cameras but something I’ve learned from @Ben_Horne is to try and keep equal distance around the edges of the composition; for this scene, you would want the distance between the top of the frame and the top of the tree to be the same as the bottom of the frame and the amount of foreground. Hopefully that makes sense to you.


Love the mood here and I’m with David and his comments regarding the cool tones. Works really well with this scene.

I also had similar thoughts as others, and this will be repetitive… but was also wishing for a tad more foreground. You’ve got just enough so it’s not an image killer, but my thought as a viewer would be I was imagining standing there… (shaking in cold…), but there’s not enough room on the shore. :slight_smile:

The mist - it comes across to me as very dynamic - in that it feels like the “fog is rolling in…” If that makes sense.


@Kris_Smith, @David_Bostock, @DeanRoyer, @Cody_Schultz, @Jack_Graham and @Lon_Overacker thanks for your kind comments and advice.

All: I have a little bit more FG that could be included, I will do that.

Cody, this seems to be a good approach! Thanks for sharing.

Kris, I will experiment a little with the black level. I sometimes find it hard to determine which amount looks the best.

Dean, good find regarding the dark patch.

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As I sit here in my office where it’s about 90 degrees outside, I’m thinking how cold and inviting this looks to me. I have to say, I’m fine with the amount of foreground you have in this shot. It compliments the reeds on the other side of the pond quite nicely and doesn’t overwhelm. The main tree in placed nicely in the composition. I do find the right side of the image, particularly in the background trees, to be dark and heavy looking compared to the left side of the image but maybe because there is no fog there. I love the tree branches in back of the main tree that have snow on them. I can see why you took this image Ola and whatever mistakes you made in the field can’t be seen after your processing. Well done.

@David_Haynes, thanks for your kind comments.

Yes, that is the case. But of course the effect could be reduced in post-processing. I think it is a good find/comment and will keep it in mind when determining on the final version of the image.