Mt Rainier Wildflowers

Mt Rainier National Park, Paradise area, August 12th, 2019

I just joined this group and this is my first post on NPN. I am a self taught photographer and have made a living as a graphic designer for the last 25+ years.

I’m looking for an overall critique of this image. Post production ideas/changes as well as composition critique.

I wanted this image to be about the wildflowers in the morning light. This is a single image capture, a polarizer filter was used because I was shooting perpendicular to the sun to cut down on the glare from the dew - droplets formed on the flowers from the previous nights heavy fog. Post production was in PS Lightroom and final touches in PS. The streaks of light coming from the right side were created by a row of trees the sun was rising/shinning through. A tripod was used while camera was just a foot above the flowers in the foreground.

Nikon D850
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
@ f/11
1/30 sec
ISO 64

Thanks for you time,


Here’s most if not all suggestions I tried to make.
The two images just have different crops. 4x5 & 4x6. Maybe a bit more vignetting in the lower corners? I know there’s a few edge distraction I need to deal with as well. This post work is so tedious.

@Igor_Doncov I tried to adjust what you suggested, I think I did evened out the playing field a bit more between the darker & lighter yellows. Part of the problem may be 1. there’s two different plant surfaces taller flowers vs. with shorter grass and moss, 2. maybe the low-res version is throwing things off even more?

@Youssef_Ismail I can partly see what you’re saying about the crunchy fir bough’s. Maybe it’s the low res vs. high-res? Or may it’s just that I have too much contrast in those areas. Could you circle the areas so I know exactly where you’re talking about.

Thanks again for everyone’s input.!

Here’s my latest adjustments. Only difference is 4x6 & 4x5 crops.
Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.

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Welcome, Chris!

This is lovely. The light is wonderful. I think you did very well here. the processing looks nice to me.

I do have a couple of suggestions: You might consider a crop from the right to a point a bit to the right of the tall firs. Second, you might consider burning down the bright yellow flowers left of center in the lower third of the image.

Nice job, here.

Thanks Preston.
Your suggestions makes sense and the empty corner does bother me a bit. I’ll try more of a 4x5 crop.

Welcome Chris! I hope you have been having a good time here.

Gorgeous light in this image!! I really love how the undulation of the foreground is brought forward even more by the “web” of light . I agree with Preston’s cropping suggestion but I will also add that I would suggest finding a way to reduce the unevenness of the sky tone (especially right on top of Rainier). It’s the CPL effect and I find it a little distracting.

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Thanks for your kinds words and good advice. I will definitely reduce that dark spot above the peak.


You have a nicely composed layered image. The long shadows across the image work very well to add interest. The one thing I wanted to mention is the discrepancy of sunlight. In the foreground is bright to almost white. Further back it’s dark yellow. In one place the bright whitish yellow is almost next to the darkish yellow. I would make the sunlight consistent throughout.

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Welcome Chris,

I agree with @Preston_Birdwell’s suggestions. My only other comment is regarding the sharpness. To me it just appears to have been over-sharpened. The fir bough’s feel a bit to “crunchy”

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I see what you’re talking about now. I will see what I can ry to even the color out a bit more.

Thanks, I will take a closer look.

Chris welcome to NPN. This is a gorgeous scene, Mazama Ridge is a wonderful place to photograph flowers, and it looks like you caught it at peak conditions. I think you have got some outstanding comments to think about for reworking this, all of them valid in my opinion. This image is good enough that it deserves the investment of processing time to make the image as good as possible. Once you have had a chance to rework the image and apply these comments, I think we would all be interested to see you re-post it again in this thread, so we can see the before/after.

Thanks Ed, I greatly appreciate yours and everyone else who has taken the time for their advice and eyes on my image. Thanks for the nudge that you think this image has potential and deserves another look. I will see what I can do in the next fews day to revisit for some post tweaks.

Chris, the cyans are now taking off a bit. They were better before. Perhaps because you adjusted the sky and it carried over into the grass. If that’s the case then perhaps adjust the cyans regionally rather than globally. You can do this by going to Select -> Color Range and placing the pointer on the sky. Then create an HSL adjustment layer and a mask will be created for just the sky. Any adjustments you make will only affect the sky which will include all those nooks and crannies between the branches.

Chris, I think this image does have potential, and all the nudges you got here to make tweaks to your processing should help take it up a notch. Don’t get discouraged, this process of getting input from others will help you grow in terms of composition and post processing. When I first started posting here, I hadn’t shown my images to many other serious photographers, and I was quite satisfied with my processing skills. I very quickly discovered at NPN that I still had a lot to learn about processing, and that very subtle small changes often made a big difference. Fortunately this environment at NPN has a lot of very helpful people who are willing to share their knowledge, and help you to improve.

Thanks for the nudge to learn something new like in this YouTube video. I’m always up to learns new techniques. I will check it out and post my changes. For starters I am going to go back to the drawing board from the beginning in LR then to PS.

I totally agree with in your description of being very comfortable in my skills of post production. That’s the main reason I am here is to learn from others. I’m going to start this image from scratch and post my changes.

Thanks everyone.


Welcome to NPN! What a gorgeous first post and I hope you have plans on printing this; certainly deserves to be on a wall. Heck, a calendar, postcard… anything - this would be a seller for sure.

A lot of good suggestions so far. For my tastes, I prefer the original composition primarily because of what you were after in the streaking light across the frame and showcasing the flowers. I think you accomplished what you wanted with this comp. You took care of the uneven sky in the reposts, I was going to mention that. The only other fine tuning tweak I was going to mention are the greens - primarily in the midground (no sun areas) in and thru the firs to the meadow between the firs and the mountain - and the green of the knoll to the right. Just a tad too “pretty green” - but most certainly in the realm of personal taste.

Which gets me to another comment I wanted to make. Generically speaking for me, there are two basic photographs for critique. There are the ones that have some flaws that need correcting… say blown highlights, tilted horizon, color casts that are way off, etc. Then there are those images that are so good, that most all critique and suggestions are made to elevate the image to a higher level, or offer alternatives that aren’t really better, but are simply alternatives worth considering. Yours is of the latter. Yours is a beautifully captured and presented image. The tweaks, subtle or otherwise at this point are simply making a great image - all that much better. And for the most part, these are the images that we see and critique here on NPN - making great images even better.

Welcome! We look forward to more and for your participation.


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This is a valuable insight Lon, especially for members who are new to NPN. Nicely said…

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When I first joined NPN just a few days ago I heard on @Matt_Payne podcast a great community and a place to learn and collaborate was NPN. After several podcasts later I decided to come on over to see what it’s all about. So far my expectations have been much better than I ever anticipated. @Lon_Overacker, @Ed_McGuirk, @Igor_Doncov, @Youssef_Ismail, @Adhika_Lie and @Preston_Birdwellh have been a breath of fresh air in my struggles as a landscape photographer. I’m a part-time photographer always wondering if my work is worthy of trying to get it going as a part-time business.

I will certainly start spending more time here and doing my best to give back to this community.

PS, my work is in progress and will repost soon.

Kind regards,


Thanks Chris. We’ve all been where you are and we’ve all benefited by the critiques and feedback from the folks, the community, here at NPN. I hope to see more of your work.

Chris, glad you are enjoying NPN. A great community for sure! Thanks for mentioning the podcast too!