Hidden Falls

I haven’t made it out to shoot much lately but I finally took a trip out to Pennsylvania to find some waterfalls I had done some research on. This is a shot of a spot I happened to stumble upon with pretty low expectations but the lighting ended up being quite nice. After having to run back to the car the day before when a thunderstorm rolled in. It was nice to get some sunny conditions without the fear of thunder and lightning.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Processing… Did I overcook the greens too much. I pulled the saturation down on them at least once.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Composition… Does it work. I’d prefer if I included the pool of the waterfall but it was just too far down to get without doing a pano.

Pertinent technical details or techniques: Canon 5d Mark III 16-35 F4 L 2seconds F/11 iso: 50

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
Two Shots for focus stacking.

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A great find, for sure, David. The unexpected is always a nice treat for us photographers. I love the lighting coming in from the top left. You have a nice shutter speed for the water. I am not as well versed in landscape, so keep that in mind. I would have rather seen more of the waterfall, myself. It seems to be cut off abruptly, and maybe you had no choice because of where you could stand. Maybe some of the landscape photographers will provide some input that you can put more stock in. I just don’t get to travel much right now, and so rarely see a scene that is worthy of pointing my camera at.

David, this is a pretty cool find. I often go looking for falls where I live but rarely find any decent ones.

I think on the whole your image is nicely processed but do think the greens are quite ‘vibrant’. My first reaction was ’ wow, that’s green’. In my opinion I may tone it back a little but not too much, In summer greens can be quite punchy anyways.

I think you hit the nail on the head asking for cc on the composition. While there is nothing particulary wrong with the image as it is, the flow of the falls creates a leading line out of the image rather than through it. If the falls were coming at you a bit more they would draw you through the image. I was going to suggest cropping to the bottom of the falls to have them coming more from a corner, but then you will lose the loveley foilage on the right. Like you suggest a pano may be an option if you go back here.


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This turned out to be a wonderful find, David. The dappled lighting is gorgeous , particularly the area toward the ULC coming through the trees. I could see the greens brought down just a touch, but that is just a personal preference as everyone has different tastes. I could also see a little crop from the top to get rid of that one area of sky as it tugs my eye just a little. If you happen to go back it might be worth your while to try a pano. I also like the light on those two sections of moss along the bottom edge.

David, I agree with @Ed_Lowe comments on the crop and beautiful lighting . I also think the greens are a touch too saturated for my personal taste. I really like the elements of this scene very much but for me the two competing leading lines of the water fall and foliage up the right side of the frame keep my eye working between the two and not flowing up into the scene. That’s just me and my two cents, I may be in the minority on this one.

@Shirley_Freeman @Eugene_Theron @Ed_Lowe @Alan_Kreyger
Thank you everyone for the comments. I think I will try to tone the greens down just slightly. The one thing that bothered me most about this image is the waterfall seeming like it was cut off as it flows out of frame. I have a couple of comps from this spot so I will try to see what works. I have a similar comp to this that I think works a bit better with the waterfall flowing out of the frame but turning the camera mean’t shooting directly into the sun which I tried to remedy by creating a sunstar. I may edit that and see if I can make that one work. This was a really conflicting shot for me as I really wanted to keep the foliage with the dappled sun light and the waterfall. Since the foliage was so far to the right of the falls it seems like I sacrificed the better composition of the falls.

It’s interesting to read the comments. The foliage in the bottom right makes this image for me. A couple of things that haven’t been mentioned. The moss on the very bottom should be burned in so as to get less attention. Not cropped out, but burned in. The other issue is the blue in the foliage in the upper right. Somehow while processing the water to your satisfaction the blues in the foliage got over saturated. I would examine that. I like the light coming in through the trees on the left.

Beautiful image, David. That warm light in the upper left makes the image, IMO. A few suggestions: Firstly, I agree with the comments of dialing back the green sat a touch. Secondly, I would pull the cyan/blue out of the water. I think a more neutral white point would be more pleasing from a color harmony standpoint. Lastly, on the composition, I think a crop from the bottom (not the top) improves the lines of the stream moving through the frame.

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David, you have gotten a lot of good input, so I’m not going to repeat anything other than casting another vote for reducing green saturation.

I have a little curve ball to throw here in terms of composition, with some reduced green saturation thrown in for good measure. To my subjective taste I think the image flows better when flipped horizontal. I think it is because now the water flows out of the image to the right instead of the left.

@Igor_Doncov @Dave_Dillemuth @Ed_McGuirk
Thank you for the continued critique. I made a few changes to the image. First, I took the saturation in the greens by about 30% and the yellows down by about 20% to try to tone down the overcooked look a bit. Ed, I do like how your flipped version looks much better than my original I just don’t know if I feel comfortable flipping it as in reality it flows the other way. I tried moving the waterfall more to a neutral white but my personal preference is more towards the cooler tone as I like it balancing the cool to warm with the sunlight. I also have one version with some creative warping to try to bring the waterfall more into the LLC while maintaining the foliage to the right. I have two versions one just with the saturation and burning of the moss and one with the warp. The downside to the warp is I had to sacrifice the moss in the crop but I think the comp looks a bit more balanced. Please let me know which you prefer.

David, I prefer the warped version.

Everyone has their own standards on what they are and are not comfortable with doing. Unless this waterfall is a very recognizable location, personally I view flipping it to be the same thing as other creative choices, such as warping for example. You remember this falls in a certain way, and that’s fine, but I thought I would discuss flipping it for the benefit of others. It’s a trick that many people don’t often think to try, but sometimes it can completely change the look of an image.


What a beautiful scene you had to work with - hard to go wrong here; and following many of the comments and suggestions, I think they’re all to make the image even better rather than making a change to “fix” something.

Personally, I think your last rendition, I guess the warped one? is the best! I’m in the camp of addressing the brighter moss at the bottom - getting rid of it. I’d agree with Igor not to crop as you don’t want to alter the leaves in the LRC. However, I did crop some, and then used CA-clone to clear out the rest and got a good compromise. I’m not going to post since I think you addressed nicely in the final repost.

I like your color rendition in the water as well as the greens. And actually I think the little bit of too much saturation was really more in the yellow channel, if anything. I might target the yellows further, but at this point is most all personal choice.

If I had my druthers, I’d prefer a comp where the water isn’t running awkwardly away - but I’d be willing to bet you had some terrain challenges to do anything different than what you captured. Besides, I believe the light beaming through the trees and the vibrant foliage really elevate this one.

well done.


David, you still have unnatural blues in your foliage from the global blue processing that was done.

@Ed_McGuirk I agree, that’s why I figured I’d try warping it slightly. I have nothing against flipping images it is just something I haven’t done with any of my images yet. Personal ethics are tricky to me because they are not cut and dry. I will continue to edit the image and see what I can come with.

@Lon_Overacker Thanks for the kind words, The one regret I have is not trying to frame it a bit differently to get the water more flowing out to the LLC. I tried to fix it the best I could with the warp but didn’t want to go over board. I did take some other shots with the water more in the corner but I prefer this shot as the others were taken facing directly towards the sun and the sky is slightly blown through the trees.

Ah I missed it, will address it now that I see where. Thank you.