Painted Hills Again

I was looking for images from an iconic location that I had not seen before.

Specific Feedback Requested

What I am not sure about if this particular image has the ability to convey the stunning geology of the Painted Hills to the viewer. Any other comments are welcome.

Technical Details

Canon R5, 100-400mm @ 350mm, 1/320 sec, f/18, iso 640. Hand held. Local and global contrast adjustments in PS

1 Like

Hey Don!

I think the overall layout here does a great job of portraying the otherworldly aspects of the Painted Hills geology, while excluding just enough context to make us think.

My issues here are not with the overall composition, which feels energetic and mysterious and flows very nicely. I do find it difficult to focus on any specific subject or path through the image because it feels a little tonally chaotic, though.

I think the reds are probably too saturated and too dark, particularly because they’re all clustered in the middle of the image, surrounded by lighter tones on the edges. If anything, I usually prefer darker tones to be along the edges and lighter tones in the middle, so I would try to vignette the brighter edges, while lightening and desaturating some of the deep dark reds in the middle.

Then there’s the issue of the straight line dividing the red and the brown section near the upper-left. It’s a bit jarring, so I would try to reduce the contrast here to lessen that.

Lastly there’s a very saturated yellow patch near the left edge (flowers?) that is a bit distracting only because of its placement.

I tried evening out the saturation and various distracting areas of contrast, and keeping attention more central in the frame rather than the edges, and I think it works pretty well. If you download my edit and toggle it on and off over your original, you can see all the specific areas that were changed:


I really like your composition here. The point of focus is pretty clear to me as it looks like a bullseye. I do agree that the yellows around the edges draw attention. Yellow is a strong color. While the maroon reds here look as they do in nature I prefer to warm them up to look closer to the red color. So I would move the WB to the right as an experiment.

Thank you for your comments. I toned down the yellow flowers and ended up with an image that is between Alex’s rendition and my origin in terms of the reds and contrast.