Parting Gift (recommended edits)

Original Post

Removed small debris and dodged the LRC

This image was taken on the last day of my recent fall colors trip. This was near the Utah Badlands just days after a storm came through. I was hiking up a dry riverbed for what seemed like 2-3 miles when I came across a huge rock formation that covered most of the riverbed. To get through the fallen rocks I had to climb my through pools of water as well as thick mud. As I was making my way through, I came across this section of mud that was about 5 feet by 4 feet that was drying but still has sheen on it. There was also some mud that had what appeared to be salt??? on top of it. I thought it made an interesting juxtaposition where half the image was soft and creamy smooth while the other half was quite crusty, cracked and topped with that white substance. This is a stack of 6 images and I used PS to blend them together. I have been reading up on the topic that was posted a few weeks ago about stacking programs as I have been hit or miss with PS. Sometimes it’s seamless and other times it creates all kinds of weird fill areas that leave me scratching my head wondering how it can be so bad.
This was my last day so I titled this one, Parting Gift.

Specific Feedback Requested

Did the PS merge work. 6 stacked images.
Does the lower right corner darkness along the right edge bother you? I left it alone and this is as shot.
Anything else that catches the eye?

Technical Details

Z7ii, 24-70mm lens @43 mm, ISO 125, 1/2 second, f/16 6 image stack


Very cool image, David. The LRC being a little dark doesn’t bother me at all. I think it adds nice contrast and blends in well with the other side. I love the division of the 2 sides especially the texture differences. Both sides sharing the same colors really makes this image unique. There’s so much to look at in this photo and each little piece adds to it’s interest. Great job. I would walk through the mud for this one :smile:

This is a really strong image, David! I love the textures at the top, you could probably shoot 100 small scenes in there! The “waves” int he mud threw me as I thought it was water reflecting the sky, really cool! My only suggestions would be, if you are so inclined, to take a bit of time and clean up some of the spots in the mud on the left, just little flicks and flakes of stuff in there, I don’t think they all need to go but there is a rather large collection in the top left corner. My other suggestion could be resolved in a few ways…in the extreme lrc, the change in textures draws my eye. If you could keep it (by cloning, warping, stretching, cropping etc.) to the more speckled texture I think it could benefit the image.

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Beautiful abstract looking image, David. When I first saw it I thought it was waves on a beach! Really beautiful colors and textures. And the dark edge doesn’t detract at all it just looks like a shadow. Nicely captured!

Great photo image David! I love the color contrast and the smooth vs rough textures. The darker edge doesn’t bother me either. Nice work!

Wow David, this is beautiful! Initially I thought it was a drone photo of a river or estuary edge. The textures of the sodium deposits (from evaporation of salty water)…probably…and the texture and bluish colours on the LHS are really great.
I didn’t see the small dark area on LRC until you mentioned it but it is one of things that once seen it cannot be unseen (for me anyway), not that is detracts from the image anyway.
A good example of the fact that wonderful photos can be found in all sorts of locations as long as we open our minds to all possibilities, large or small, and are not just focussed on an expectation of certain views at any particular site.
Really well done! Cheers.

David, wow what a wonderful, beautiful abstract. It has a very strong composition and the colors are exceptional. I love these kinds of scenes, but never have much success. You certainly scored here. Congratulations.

This is excellent and well worth the slog to get it. Along with speck patrol on the left and a bit of cloning to patch the dark area in the LRC, I would try a rotation to get the lines to be diagonal rather than vertical. Of course this depends on how much more of the shot you have to make up for the necessary crop that takes place with a rotation. I didn’t see any stacking artifacts, but neither did I pixel peep.

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Sounds like you created some great memories David!
This is really beautiful. I too thought this was some sand at the ocean’s edge
The LRC is ok by me, not noticing it until you mentioned it. However I don’t think it adds so since you noticed it, go ahead and brighten it a bit

I really LOVE the strip of granular what looks like sand, maybe 1-inch wide, running between the two textures. It’s just the end of the cracked right half texture, but I love how the cracks get minimized. I enjoyed zooming in on that little feature!

Congrats on seeing this and the composition.

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Love it, Dave. No nits from me. The colors, textures, lines and your story make for a great photo. Very nicely seen, captured and processed!

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This is a really fascinating and beautiful image David! It has “holding power” and really makes me want to stop and study this image for a long time. I don’t have anything to add that hasn’t already been said but I like this very much.

@Donna_Callais, @David_Wallace, @Vanessa_Hill, @Glenn_Tunaley, @Phil_G, @David_Bostock, @Kris_Smith, @Mark_Muller, @linda_mellor, @Tom_Nevesely…Thank you very much for taking the time to comment and critique this image. I’ve reposted a new version with some recommended edits.

Donna, Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you would have walked through this nasty mud for this image. It was like glue. My feet each weighed about 10 pounds. Pretty nasty mud. After I shot this scene I stopped and turned around even though I think there may have been some good stuff further through that rock debris field. However, I would have had to get into my ankles to go further and I wasn’t willing to do that. :slight_smile:
David Wallace… I took your suggestions to heart. Thank you for seeing those little pieces of debris. In the LRC I actually just carefully dodged the dark section but I may take it a step further and do a stretch on it. Thanks again for the ideas. I appreciate you taking the time.
Vanessa…I love that you thought this was waves on a beach. It never occurred to me. I’m glad that the lower right corner didn’t bother you but I actually made an adjustment anyway. Is it better?
Glen…So glad this works for you. I did adjust that LRC some in a repost. Did it work? Thanks for your thoughts.
Phil…Funny that this was a fall colors trip for me and I came away with many images that had nothing whatsoever to do with fall colors. I’m trying harder and harder to just let the images come to me and to simply enjoy my hikes. Thoughts on the reworked LRC? Thanks again, Phil!
David…Thanks very much for your thoughts on this. I’m glad this works as is for you. That means a lot to me. This kind of scene constantly eluded me until I started noticing @Bonnie_Lampley and @Igor_Doncov work on small scenes. They are really the two that have made me look for the smaller scenes that I used to walk right over and never gave a second thought to. Now, I just let the images come to me rather than searching for some preconceived image I had in my head but I am also much more aware of small scenes everywhere and I’m constantly looking down.
Kris…Glad you didn’t notice any stacking artifacts. I didn’t either on this one bit on others they can be very noticeable. I will try your rotation and crop idea when I have a little bit more time. You have my curiosity piqued. Thanks for your thoughts! Caddo Lake next Fall???
Mark…Thanks very much. I did have some great memories from this trip. Many of my favorite images were not even Fall colors which is what this trip was about. Much of the trip was in an area I had never before visited so there was lots of exploring and very few preconceived ideas of what I was going to shoot. I think that certainly helps so leave your mind open to any possibilities. You hit on one of my favorite parts of the image…that little valley between the two main subjects. Thanks for noticing that and thanks for your comments. I appreciate it, Mark!
Linda…So glad you love this as is, Linda. Thanks so much!
Tom…Thanks, Tom. So glad you liked this one.


I think your rework looks better for sure. Only thing I would fix is the little patch at the bottom in the center where it looks like you have cloned in some ripples.

@David_Haynes thank you for the kind words! It took me quite awhile to get into the “let scenes come to me” frame of mind. I think it’s a more relaxing way to enjoy nature while photographing. :slight_smile:

I thought your original was just fine without cloning out all the tiny “imperfections”. The ones you cloned didn’t distract me at all. And I do think that is a salt crust. This is a very cool scene and good for you for slogging through the mud! And I’m impressed at your efforts to focus stack!

Good catch on that, Glenn. When I cloned out that little twig it added some ripples. I’ll take care of that. Eagle eye. :grin:

Wow, David! I love the rework even better! Taking out the shadows at the bottom edge really cleans it up and elevates it in a way. I already liked it and thought it deserved to be hung on a wall but this even more so. It really teaches me the importance of what needs to be done in post. A goal of mine to get better at with what I have now and save up for the right equipment!

Excellent image in my opinion. It’s one that you can stare at for a long time with great benefits. It has a very calming effect. As I look at it waves of peace come over me and I sink deeper into a state of tranquility. It’s like staring at the sky sometimes. I’m not sure why it has that effect but it does. Yes, it’s like some music (woodwinds).

Wonderful abstract David! I am enjoying the mix of textures. Your rework is excellent.

Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated @Bonnie_Lampley, @Vanessa_Hill, @Igor_Doncov, @Eva_McDermott.
Eva…You have been a big inspiration for me with small scenes over the years. Glad you liked it as posted. Thanks again!
Vanessa…Thanks Vanessa. Thank you for your kind words.
Igor…I’m glad this registers with you in a peaceful and relaxing way. I can see wood winds as a musical comparison. Thanks for sending that Video. Totally captivating.
Eva…I’m glad the rework hits the spot for you Eva. Thanks so much for your comment.

I just have to repeat what already has been said, this is just an amazing image with the contrat between the smooth part and the one with textures. The focus stacking seems to be very good, and I am not bothered by the darker part. Very well seen and captured!