Pre Dawn Calm

Shot pre sunrise on a still, early spring morning in the backcountry in BC’s coastal range. The winter months here were very cloudy but in mid March we finally saw clear skies and windless conditions in the alpine.

I’m going for a simplistic composition here. Is there enough going on to build interest?

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any. In hindsight I wish I used a tripod here and focus stacked this image. I do find the shallow depth of field in the foreground slightly distracting.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Pertinent technical details or techniques:

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

400mm, 1/500s, F 7.1, ISO 320

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I like it as is. Thanks for sharing.

Nathan, I like this photo because of it’s abstract feeling. The contours of the mounds with the different light reflections add just enough mystique for me to wonder “what’s on the other side?” The lighter foreground it not distracting to me. Perhaps burning it down a bit would help bring out some of the texture there.

Hi Nathan,
I am a fan of abstracts in nature, so yes, this has plenty to keep my attention. I like the bluish hue to it, which whispers (but doesn’t scream) this is snow, not sand.

FWIW, I don’t find the shallow dof distracting. The lack of texture in the foreground feels natural to me, and it doesn’t detract from the abstract feeling. More texture actually might reduce the abstraction and coolness.


Maybe focus stacking would have resulted in more detail in this image but it’s still beautiful as is. I love the simplicity and the great forms created by the light and shadow.

I like this picture a lot, and I like it as is. Minimalistic, but the tones of blue are subtle and beautiful. Very calm photo…

When I first saw the thumbnail I didn’t know if this was a sand dune image or a snow image. It’s a total abstract image for me. The tones are beautiful, the diagonal lines are well spaced and provide good balance right to left and top to bottom and there’s just enough shadow and light to create depth yet at the same time provide an appealing softness to the image. Well seen.

I like this very much also. It’s simple, tranquil and elegant. My kind of composition too.

I love the simplicity you captured here. I also like the spacing of the diagonals and the bit of visual tension they provide . My personal preference would be to have a little more DOF, but this works. I could also see this with a little cyan taken out and shift it more toward blue, but then again that is just another personal preference and not a criticism. Great eye to spot and isolate this scene.

Nathan, to me this is art. There can be no critique at all.

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This does have an elegant simplicity. and oddly enough the shallow depth of field in the foreground works by getting the viewer thinking. In this regard, this image is the exception that successfully breaks the rules.

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Simple and beautiful. The term elegant also comes to mind. No suggestions here.

The simplicity soothing Nathan, it is a fine abstract. The largest view does look a little blotchy in the foreground, but it looks great in the smaller version.

@Ralph_Yakaboski @linda_mellor @Marylynne_Diggs @Tom_Nevesely @Antonello_Provenzale @David_Haynes @Igor_Doncov @Ed_Lowe @Ben_van_der_Sande @Ed_McGuirk @Harley_Goldman @John_Williams

Thank you for taking the time to comment on this image. I sometime find that intimates and abstract have a ‘you had to be there’ quality meaning that they sometimes don’t translate beyond the photographer.

John, I noticed the blotches as well. I think I’ll try to tidy that up with frequency separation and see how it prints.

Linda, in case you’re wondering what was on the other side this was shot on a minor ridge which leads up to the following peak.

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Thank you, Nathan, for posting “the other side.” This is a gorgeous, beautiful scene.

You could probably just raise the whites a bit here to get a little bit more contrast and enhance that soft light. Nice shot!

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Beautifully seen and presented Nathan. Like some others, I’m still not clear if this is sand or snow. And the color palette doesn’t help either - which in this case is a good thing because it becomes even more abstract. Also as others have mentioned, the softness up front doesn’t bother me and in fact I think it works to enhance the overall impact.

Simple, yet hugely effective. Congrats!


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Dude, this is amazing. I really love the simple tonality here. Really lovely work.

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