Mt. Hood

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This is one of my drive-by shootings. Well, fly-by. Ted had an uncontrollable urge to re-visit the antique airplane museum in Hood River, now home to several antiques he has flown, so we made a quick 3-day run. I am plagued by the difficulty of getting clear shots through the plexiglas window of the Bonanza, but sometimes it works if I can shoot exactly perpendicular to the window, which I was able to do here. And this day the air was remarkably calm. The slightest turbulence makes the highest SS inadequate.

Specific Feedback

All comments always welcome! There is no way to compose something like this but I wanted to be able to show the textures and rugged structures in the snow. I was able to shoot a range of focal lengths but like the detail on the longer ones.

Technical Details

Screen Shot 2023-04-30 at 10.23.52 AM

In Lr, the raw file was cropped a little from both sides to simplify the chaos a bit. Highlights full down and whites up a bit, to bring up detail in the brighter tonalities a little and added a little saturation to the blues. Blacks down a bit. Into PS to Denoise the sky, which showed a tiny bit of grain. I resisted the urge to add some structure.


Amazingly clear and detailed, Diane, at least for my old eyes. Love this view of a very intimidating mountain. Nicely seen and captured.

Hi Diane,

Speaking of hood, they make large silicone lens hoods that are made specifically for this kind of photography.
Ultimate Lens Hood ULHgo Silicone Lens Hood

The clarity is really good here but a hood like the one I linked to can greatly increase your chances of getting more keepers while flying.
I’ve used one similar to this in the past while flying and it does a good job, of course I needed to get my wife to hold the yoke and keep an eye on the instruments while I was shooting.

I love the details and the close up look is awesome! The mountain look much better in snow like this IMHO! :slight_smile:
Viewing this in full size, pixel peeping mode is a must!

I think I see a crack in Ted’s window at about…no…wait…that’s a crack in the snow :snowflake: :sunglasses:

Gorgeous! :slight_smile:

Thanks, @linda_mellor and @Merv! The problem with the plexi is the bizarre degree to which shooting through it at any angle gives an oddly blurry image. It’s been consistent with years of different lenses and bodies. If I see something coming up in time I can usually persuade Ted to do some maneuvering to get a more right-angle shot. I had a similar flexible lens hood but it was clumsy and I was concerned about it transmitting vibrations to the lens. (I never let my elbow touch the door and lean forward in the seat when shooting.) The worst reflections are from the instrument panel when the sun is hitting it and I have a black cloth I can clip to the right end of the glare shield and let it drape down and Ted will hold the other end or I can throw it over my left shoulder. Also clumsy. A Piper Cub with the door open is the best platform.

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Gotcha, makes sense, it was worth the thought anyway.
I probably had a few issues that I never really noticed back then, they were more along the lines of snapshots for family members that wanted to see what things looked like but were too scared to go with me (for some reason :roll_eyes: )

I have a brother in law that wasn’t scared of flying until he became an airplane mechanic, I guess he wasn’t too impressed with how thing were made :slight_smile:

Hello Diane, I think you have really succeeded in emphasizing the textures and structure in the mountain. Really well done! One suggestion I would make is to crop just a smidge off the right side, just so the ridge doesn’t end abruptly on the side of the frame. To do it, I wouldn’t sacrifice anything at the bottom, but instead remove a bit of the blue sky at the top. You could also consider going to a square crop to really pull in on the main section on the left side. If you were so inclined, I think this could look great as a black and white as well by pulling the blue tones down pretty dark. Great image and some opportunities to “play” with it a bit more if you’re interested.

Thanks, @David_Wallace! I debated about the right side but thought I liked the small shoulder. But I think you’re right – better without it. I hadn’t thought of B/W, so here’s a comparison. I’m always up for playing! I think I prefer the color, though, with the bluish shadows. Going higher contrast didn’t feel right and the wispy clouds started feeling a little strange.

And I just saw your post below, as I was composing this. I like your version! Now mine feels wimpy.

I went a bit further with it.

I totally get what you are saying about the blue shadows, they are a great feature. I think the black and white might get a bit more of that structure you were looking for, but it is a trade off of losing the cool shadows.

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Haha not wimpy, subtle! It’s all in the phrasing. It’s an enjoyable portrait of a mountain. Lacking the drama in the sky allows you to focus on what makes it unique. Sure clouds in the sky and wrapping around the peak would have been cool, but that’s a totally different image with a different message. Yours conveys the strength which is what lead me toward the more high contrast …in my opinion.

This is a wonderful portrait of one of my favorite mountains. I’m especially fond of the black and white, as the textures seem to be more prominent, and the stark contrast really emphasizes the snowy mountain against the sky. Lovely!

Have you tried using a polarizer to remove some of the window reflections? It should help, and you wouldn’t have to put the lens up against the window.

Thanks, @Bret_Edge! Yes, I’ve tried a polarizer and found that unfortunately the position that quenches the reflections is the worst one for the outside scene. Frustrating!! BUT – that was more than a few years ago and with today’s digital overhead I could probably overcome that limitation. I’ll have to try again – thanks for the push.