Mud Cracks - Vancouver Island

This is my first attempt photographing mud cracks. Living on Vancouver Island I don’t often get to shoot such scenes but this winter has been particularly dry, leaving many lakes water levels much lower than usual. Any feedback is appreciated, thank you

What technical feedback would you like if any? Composition/Anything

What artistic feedback would you like if any? Processing/Anything

Pertinent technical details or techniques: 140mm, f10, 1/20, ISO100

If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.
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Nik, welcome to NPN, this is a great first post, and I look forward to seeing more of your work here. And finally, it’s nice to see some mud cracks from someplace other than Death Valley :grinning:

I love that pyramid shaped crack in the center of the image, triangles are very powerful elements in a composition, and this is a great one. And the fact that it is spotlit also makes this element jump off the screen. The choice to process in B&W was a good one, this probably does a much more effective job of emphazing the abstract nature of this image than a color version ever would.

To me, the trick to these type of images is paying attention to the frame edges and avoiding distractions such as hot spots near the edge, or crack lines that lead out of the edge in a way that detracts from the center of the image. The bright patches along the lower frame edge pull my eye away from the center of the image, and I would recommend cropping them away. Perhaps more nitpicky is the vertical crack in the lower right corner (LRC) that is parallel to the right frame edge.

I hope you don’t mind, but I downloaded your image and recropped it to address these issues. I also burned the bright patch in the LLC to make that darkerso as no to distract from the center. I also cloned away one bright spot in th elower center as well. I think these tweaks of the composition help to place even more emphasis on the pyramid shape.

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Really nice work @nik

It reminds me of a satellite image of sea ice breaking up, I love the textures and tones in both the darks and lights. I think you have done a good job on the editing here. Everytime I look at it I notice more detail. I also like the flow from left to right through the shot.

I tend to agree with @Ed_McGuirk on the peripheral distractions. Helps focus things a bit more.

Again nice work.


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Nick, welcome aboard here at NPN. I like how you handled the processing to show the detail in this image. I find shooting mud cracks to be challenging as there always seems to be elements that are distracting to the composition. Given the unique light in this scene I think you did a nice job overall. I do agree @Ed_McGuirk suggestions are helpful.

Nicely done and I look forward to seeing more of your work.


Welcome to NPN! What an awesome first post! Very cool to see these mud cracks AND being presented in black & white. Great choice and the processing - tones, contrast, etc. are all excellent.

While I’m almost always in agreement with @Ed_McGuirk and I’m a firm believer in what I term “border patrol,” I’m on the fence about the little geometry patters along the bottom edge. They could be considered germain to the composition and nature story being presented here. Ed’s crop most certainly cleans things up and had I viewed Ed’s version first and only, I’d be quite pleased. But I can’t unsee those nice little shapes at the bottom. Perhaps dropping the brightness/tone of some of those shapes to more gray would help reduce the distraction, maybe.

Regardless, you have a wonderful image here and we look forward to more of your work and participation in the galleries.


Welcome to NPN, @Nik! It’s a mighty first post. Very nicely seen and very nicely processed. The first thing that comes to mind was seeing a section of a kaleidoscope. It’s like seeing fractals here. You keep seeing more of these things (not quite literally) on a smaller level. I think @Ed_McGuirk has cleaned up the image very nice with his crop, too.

Thank you for the welcome Ed :smiley:
I appreciate the time you took to download and crop my image to show me exactly what you meant. I totally agree with you, by cropping in and burning down that patch you’ve made the image much more focused. I’m glad you like the B&W processing, over the past few months I’ve really come to appreciate it. I’m definitely going to take your advice here and crop in.

@Alan_Kreyger @Adhika_Lie @Lon_Overacker thank you for the welcome! I look forward to engaging in the community more and sharing more of my work. I appreciate all the kind words and feedback on this image.

@Adhika_Lie funny you mention fractals as that is the title of another image I made along the same shores :smiley:

Very cool love the patterns and black and white seems a sensible choice.