Flatirons Sunrise, Boulder, Colorado

What technical feedback would you like if any?

  1. Is there any part of the image that is distracting?
  2. Would you crop the image any differently?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

  1. How do you feel about the colors, are they too saturated? Or not saturated enough?
  2. Are the shadows on the rocks dark enough?
  3. What direction does your eye flow through the image?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Combination of two bracketed exposures; one for the sky, one for the foreground.
Sony a7ii 28mm, f/9, ISO 50

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.


A great image from the Flatirons. The early light really makes this one and it’s great to have a complimentary sky.

The only minor thing I find distracting is the tree in the LLC; it’s catching the light (nicely too!) but draws the eye. Actually, the light hitting the rocks in that same corner catch my eye first, which would be fine, if my eye then went to the rest of the scene, rather than the tree. You might have to do some creating cropping/cloning to mitigate the tree; or perhaps even some burning or something. I’d hate to crop in much as it puts the smaller rock above a little close to the edge - and the light is nice on that rock too. Tough one.

As far as color and saturation, you’re right there on personal choice and preference. I like the warm and saturated colors in the rock. For me, just the greens in the middle bottom portion are a little too green, but not by much. I would pull back just in that area just to keep the eye on the rocks and not the green vegetation.

Shadows are good. Not really a factor for me (negatively anyway.)

My eye wants to flow from the lower left up through the upper rocks and to the nice sky. that tree though pauses that flow. Perhaps just cropping enough to lose the bright trunk, and then burn down the warm highlights. Not a huge deal though overall.



Very nice morning light on the rocks. I also find the LLC tree is eye catching. I’d hate to crop any more. How about just selective darkening?

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1+2: I would crop enough off the left to lose the tree in the lower lefthand

  1. I think the colors are pretty close. I think some of the greens could perhaps be a little less saturated (the bottom middle part, in particular)
  2. The darkest shadows are dark enough for me, but I would try darkening the midtone darks a bit
  3. My eye goes seems to go for the light on the peaks from the lower left to the highest peaks

I played around a bit, hope you don’t mind. In addition to the changes I listed above, I moved a vertical slice of the middle of the image to the right, and then stretched the left side to make more space and crunched the right side smaller to keep the aspect ratio. I also added a slight vignette and desaturated a bit more (just my personal taste).


I think all the comments are spot on, but I would just take out the tree so that there is more space between the edge and the far left sunlit rocks. Beautiful image!

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Chris, I really like this image a lot, the light is sweet, and and I love the graphic shapes and texture of the rock formations. Obviously you have a very strong lower left to upper right visual flow, this rock formation and lines of trees do a great job of creating visual flow. That’s why I think cloning or cropping away the tree in the LLC makes sense, it not only is a distraction, it also sort of impedes that left to right visual flow.

I think the other comments you received via @Brent_Clark rework do a great job of taking this image up another notch. Toning down the green saturation helps a lot, because things that are in shadow are naturally less saturated, and our eyes are used to seeing this. The higher saturation level of the shadowed green trees in the original did not look natural, while Brent’s rework does.


I agree with the other’s comments about the tree and flow from lower left to upper right. Definitely a beautiful image Chris.

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Thank you for the critique Lon!

I was hoping the trees in the LLC wouldn’t draw the eye too much, but it sounds like I should darken them some more or try to clone them out. Those trees are my main issue with my composition as well, I’ll have to try taking this from higher up to avoid the trees next time.

Good eye on those greens in the bottom middle, I think I missed that area on my burn layer. I’ll have to fix that up!

Thanks for the critique Brent! Of course I don’t mind you playing around with the image, that’s why I’m here :slight_smile:

Cropping out the bright trunk of the tree in the lower left definitely helps a lot! That might be the next best thing if I cannot clone it out entirely. Desaturating the greens goes a long way as well, I think I may have been a bit to generous on the global saturation boost in my original.

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Thanks Ed,

I will definitely try cloning out the tree in the LLC. Good point about the saturation, I never thought about overly saturated shadows looking unnatural!

The pine in the llc is distracting but it serves a purpose. I would burn in the highlight of the trunk and branches. I would also consider a vertical of the left 60% of the image using the sunlit portion to drive the composition.

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