Grand Canyon Slot

Option 1:

Option 2:

One hot afternoon in the Grand Canyon, we hiked up to this beautiful area in a small, cool slot canyon and spent a while photographing the area. I’m interested to hear which of these images you prefer and why. Any other comments/critiques are also welcome.

Option 1
5D2, 24-105 @ 28
f/11, 1s, ISO100

Option 2
5D2, 24-105 @ 40
f/16, 2s, ISO100

I really like the composition in Option 1. The ledge in Option 2 doesn’t do much for me. One thing that I notice from these images is that the left and right walls have different hues and my first tendency is to warm up the right wall. What’s your thought about that?

While I like the curves of the second one, I think the first is a stronger composition. If you want our eyes on the waterfall, the distraction of the rock wall doesn’t do that. In the first you could play with darkening the right side a little and maybe the top background as well. Sometimes I use the dehaze and clarity sliders in a brush for water like this - I find it brings out detail and character pretty well. You could use a range mask to isolate the midtones there (something you can do in Lr). The darker fall on the right is nice, but looks too blue to me and you could probably use another brush to lighten it somewhat so it doesn’t appear so much an afterthought.

What a gorgeous location. I’ve never been to the G.C. and think this might just be the way to see it.

Option 1 is my choice as well. It’s water spreading out like a fan that makes this image better. Option 2 needs more processing due to the flat light. I agree that the bright areas of the ledge in the lrc of option 1 needs to be burned in. The bright colors also give option 1 and edge imo.

I think they are both really good images, but I prefer the composition, and sense of depth created by image #2. But I think it needs some dodging and burning to better balance the luminosity across the scene. Burn the bottom and right, in order to make the waterfall the brightest part of the image. Then dodge the cliff on the left to bring out the stripes and patterns there . I could also see warming this up slightly, but did not do that in my rework, since that is more of a personal creative choice.

I am new to the network so nice to meet you. I also prefer option 1. For me the foreground rock in combination with the rocks on the left and right nicely frame the waterfall and make the shape of the water a nice leading line. Also, the luminosity in the top of the frame with the foliage lit by the sun pulls my attention away from the waterfall. I agree with balancing the luminosity between the left and right sides.

Thank you @Adhika_Lie, @Kris_Smith, @Igor_Doncov, @Ed_McGuirk and @DeanRoyer !

I spent quite a bit of time trying to balance the brightness of the left and right in both options, and darkening the foreground rock in Option 2, but it seems I didn’t go far enough. I will also take a look at balancing the hues of the walls. They did have different tones naturally, but I do think it will improve the image to balance those a bit.

Kris, I had only seen the Grand Canyon a couple times from the South Rim, and while it is beautiful up there, it was much better seeing it from the river.

Ed, I like your rework of the foreground rock. While many preferred Option 1, I am leaning toward Option 2 as well.

Dean, welcome to NPN! I look forward to seeing your work.