Mad Flow 5

Reworked image, alternate crop:

Original image:

I’m going back through the archives, and I found this one from a series in 2017. It didn’t make the first cut, but I do like it. I look forward to your critiques and comments.

5DII, 24-105 @ 28
f/8, 1.6s, ISO100
TK curves adjustments

Nice work Craig, this is one of my favorite waterfall locations in Vermont. For me anyways this location is really more about the river and the rocks than it is about traditional waterfalls. So I like that you have made the river and the rocks the star of this show. I like the use of color here, the red rocks and green vegetation create a nice contrast.

I like the general “layer cake” concept of the composition, river, rocks, trees moving from front to back. I am usually a fan of symmetrical compositions, although I’ll acknowledge that is not everyone’s cup of tea, and that unbalanced comps can be more dynamic sometimes. The big rock is not directly in the center, it has more room to the right. Normally my symmetric seeking brain would want something as visually powerful as that rock to be more centered. But I’m mostly okay with how you have placed it here. While it is likely an optical illusion, if I look at only the top half of this image, the rock feels more “centered” than it does when I look at the entire image. In trying to analyze it, I think it’s because the bright white water in the LRC pulls my eye, and somehow this makes the rock appear less centered. Perhaps I’m more bothered by that bright water pulling me out of the frame than I am by the rock being slightly off-center. Maybe burn that LRC down a bit.

Hi Craig. This is my first critique in this forum. I love work that is a little different and this is indeed different based on your composition. You foreground is a beautiful scene of horizontal flowing water. Your mid and background is the central rock and beautiful gorge.

The challenge I see with this image is that it tends to be about two different things and neither is the main subject. If that’s your intent then feel free to ignore my suggestions. I’m thinking that I would want to establish path through the image to direct the viewers eye down the waterway and and up the gorge. This can be done by darkening the very foreground rocks to contain the eye. Also darken the center rock and lightning the far wall of the gorge. Now the eye would be directed from left to right along the water and around the center rock and up the gorge Anyway, I hope this helps. You have a very nice image.

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Thanks for the comments @Ed_McGuirk and @rich1!

Ed, this is one of my favorites as well, and definitely about the rocks, particularly just upstream from here with the deep blue-green pools. When I was working this up, I wanted to center the large rock, but couldn’t do it within the constraints of the 3:2 format. After your comment, I looked at it again and tried a 5:4, which I do like. I also darkened the white water throughout the image.

Rich, glad to have you on the forum! I wanted the emphasis on the big rock, and not the background, so in processing I lightened the rock and darkened the background. I saw the dark greens of the background as a sort of natural frame to the rock.

I have to be honest and say that this one doesn’t work for me. The rock is dominated by the fg stones which are far more colorful and the trees and that results in a confusing message to the viewer. Why is it there?

Thanks for the honesty @Igor_Doncov. Your comment was not something I noticed, but I do see what you’re saying. I’ll look at ways to better emphasize the big rock an de-emphasize everything else.

After looking at this for a while, I realize that the water flows both ways around the “pyramid”. Interesting, and a challenge to convey.
The brightest area is the pyramid, and it attracts my eyes and holds them a lot. The attachment uses curves to add contrast, adds some saturation and some orange to warm the white areas a bit – all the to the pyramid.

This is a most interesting image and scene. The discussion is fascinating in that while the shot may not be for everyone, it is generating interesting conversation about the subject matter. In that regard, I do think @rich1 has a good point about confusion regarding primary and secondary elements, assuming it isn’t to be interpreted as an abstract.

It seems to me that the primary element is the very interestingly shaped rock in the middle of this stream - an unique scene making it very interesting. So, I like the original as presented (cropped) in that the brightness of the rock helps to lock the eye in, and it’s interesting shape and location in the stream with the river rocks provide environmental interest to the scene. In this regard, I think the image is successful. To help emphasize the primary element, I think your original processing of the main rock bright is successful, and in fact one could consider a gentle burn/darken of the gorge rocks behind it to help keep the viewer focused on the primary element. Similarly, keeping the green trees with less saturation provides good framing for your primary element and doesn’t draw the eye too much.

The more I look at it, the more I like it. Thanks for sharing!