Desert Display

Critique Style Requested: In-depth

The photographer has shared comprehensive information about their intent and creative vision for this image. Please examine the details and offer feedback on how they can most effectively realize their vision.

Self Critique

This is pretty close to what I envisioned. I initially shot it at 2x3, but realized the left side was fairly empty and didn’t add much to the composition. I was drawn to the arc, the circular shape and the colors of the desert floor.

Creative direction

Continuing to work on developing this. I don’t know if I just have a hard time putting it into words or if I don’t really have it yet. I tried to stay “true” to the scene but bring out the best qualities. It isn’t a journalistic approach but also trying to avoid taking anything too far. Tasteful.

Specific Feedback


Technical Details

ISO 100, f/11, 1/400 400mm


After our start at Zabriskie, we headed up into the mountains to try to catch some glimpses of the passing light over the valley floor. If you ever make it to Death Valley, find some spots to get up high because what you see from ground level is nothing like what you see when you get up in the air!


Wow! I’m on my iPhone at the end of a quick trip but just had to stop and say how much this grabbed me! I’ve had a chance to shoot some aerials in the last couple of days that I have some hopes for and thought this might be an aerial or drone. I’ll wait till I’m home and enjoy it further!

Really enjoying this one, David. I love the color palette and this looks true to form. Not sure if this is from Dante’s View (looks like it) but these look like the colors you get from that location. The light is beautifully flat bringing out the true colors
I’m not sure if this is a crop or not but I’m thinking that if you have more room on the left hand side of the frame I would slide the image to the right and include more from the left side if you have it. Of course you may have cropped it here because you had to but if not… Just thinking out loud. You could also try a square crop removing some of the left side but this really is quite nice as is.
As you mention, there are so many colorful abstracts that can be shot from higher up in the hills and the otherworldly views that come from it. Glad you and your friends got some great looks down into the valley floor from above. Well done.

I love this image, David. I could look at this forever, studying the details of the various parts. Has a mysterious yet dreamy sense to it. My favorite part is that ‘mesh’ coming in from the left.

Wow, the large version shows so much texture. This should probably be printed big to appreciate all that detail.

Wonderful job of seeing and capturing this intimate abstract - at least it turns out to look abstract. Visioning and composing this in the midst of the grand views of Death Valley demonstrates your vision and skill at seeing photographically. I like the simplicity of the image, the pastel complementary colors divided by the curved line so magnificently lit. Excellent light management. The textures are superb as well. This belongs on the wall.

Hi David,
that is a really great abstract image. I love everything about it, the complementary colors, the different textures, and the contrast.
My only suggestion is to print it out large and hang it on your wall. Well done!

@Diane_Miller Thank you! It reeled me in too! Its actually taken from a relatively popular (due to the ease of access) overlook in DV. No flights needed!

@David_Haynes I’ve included the original here to see what you think. I thought the left side got a bit repetitive and not as visually interesting as the right side and thus ended up dividing the image too strongly. Curious as to your thoughts after seeing the original. If I had it to over again, which I don’t I would have shifted the image to the right more leaving less open space on the left and more of the arching line. I do enjoy the 4x5 aspect ratio though as it creates a bit more confined look at this one, almost like a square seems to emphasize the shapes within the image more somehow.

@Igor_Doncov Thank you! One of our friends was trying to estimate the hight of some of those textures, lets just say they could be pretty tall, makes me want to go explore more!

@Larry_Greenbaum Thank you! Maybe that is part of my “vision” I sure tend to opt for the smaller scenes. For every 1 “vista” type image I have from this trip, I probably have 10 more that exclude the sky entirely. I’m thinking that is part of growing up in Ohio where there aren’t a ton of “vistas” that aren’t just farm land.

Thank you, @Jens_Ober !

Now I’m on my computer and really enjoying this! Wonderful seeing, capture and processing. There is so much to enjoy here and “shaded” area to the right of the sweeping structure is mesmerizing. I wonder about even a touch more saturation or vibrance. I think I’d enjoy a version halfway in between the original capture and the version in the OP. If this is from Dante’s View you must have scrambled out on the rocks to get this!! Well done, from wherever!! Definitely this is a large print, and gallery-worthy!